An Inside Look at Podcast Movement (#7)

Jared Easley, the co-founder of Podcast Movement

In this episode of Podcasting 101 with RSS.com, we chat with Jared Easley, the co-founder of Podcast Movement. We discuss Jared’s background, how Podcast Movement got started, where it’s at today, the podcasting community and so much more!

Getting to Know Jared Easley

Jared Easley 0:41
Hi, my name is Jared. And usually when I tell people my name is Jared in the US, I’ll tell them that it’s Jared like the jewelry store. I used to say, Jared. like the Subway guy. And for people in the US, they’ll get that and it’s – you don’t really tell that joke anymore. And then my last name is Easley and I’ll say it’s Easley to remember. And then most people will remember my name when I say that. So Jared Easley.

Jared Easley 1:06
I live in South Florida, but I’m originally from Alabama, but I’ve, I’ve kind of moved around. I was a ramblin man for a little bit. Jumped around and went to different places. I was in the military. I lived in Hawaii and some other spots that were fun and not so fun. And then, yeah, my wife is originally from Fort Lauderdale. So when I moved to Florida in 2003, I was living in Orlando, and she was a travel nurse and we met and started dating, and got married. And now I’m ultimately down here in Fort Lauderdale.

Jared Easley 1:36
I don’t think when I was younger, that I ever would have imagined myself in South Florida, but absolutely love it now. My daughter is happy to be near grandma, grandpa and my wife loves it, because she’s from here. And her family’s here and friends are here. And there’s actually a lot of really awesome people and good things about this community down here. And it’s very diverse. And so coming from Alabama, and then some of the experiences I had post Alabama, we’re, you know, military and things like that. It’s kind of neat now to be in a place like Fort Lauderdale, where it is so different.

Podcasting is a Passion for Jared

Jared Easley 2:12
That said, podcasting is a passion. And I absolutely love it. I started my show when I was in 2013. And that was just for fun. Really no delusions of grandeur there. Just wanting to see, hey, can I create content? And what am I going to talk about? I don’t know what that is. So I figured let me just interview other people. So they can share their wisdom and their expertise. And that would bring value. So that’s the route that I took. And fell in love with it, made a lot of really amazing connections, got ideas for businesses, one of which is Podcast Movement, which is how we have met.

Jared Easley 2:46
And Podcast Movement is the world’s largest conference for podcasting. It’s also a media company. We do newsletters, and we have professional services. And we have several other things that we do. But it’s just been an absolute blast. In the podcast community back in, I’d say around 2013 or 14, we didn’t see as much collaboration between niches. So like a comedian wasn’t really interacting with the business podcaster, for example, and you see a lot more of that now. And not to toot our horn. But I think Podcast Movement has kind of helped facilitate a lot of those types of collaborations with different niches and different podcasting genres. And because of that, we learn from each other and we get better ideas on – hey, this person’s trying this. Let’s see what that’s like in our space.

Jared Easley 3:37
And so you get some of that crossover. And podcasting is continuing to grow. And it’s an exciting thing, and anyone can do it. And I just because anyone can do it, doesn’t mean it’s gonna take off and do amazing. But I love the fact that it’s democratized and anyone can do it. Anyone can share their voice. And if they’re a little creative, and they’re there to niche down, they have some opportunity to get noticed and do some good things. So that’s it in a nutshell, I don’t know if that really answered the question, like you’d hoped, but that’s that’s my answer. And I’ll stick with it for now.

Ashley 4:10
It did answer my question. Now. Let’s see. So Podcast Movement. It started as a company before it was a conference. Is that right?

How Podcast Movement Began

Jared Easley 4:19
We, when I say we, I’m talking about Dan Franks, who is the president of Podcast Movement, also my business partner, and myself. We were podcasters – lowly podcasters. And he had a show that I found that was entrepreneurial called Entrepreneurial Showdown. And I just liked the show, I thought it was creative the way he did the show. And so I reached out to him.

Jared Easley 4:41
I knew he was in Dallas, because I’d listened to the podcast. And I was going to be at a conference in Dallas. And I thought, hey, it’d be fun to try to do a podcast listener meetup. He had a podcast. I had a podcast. So I reached out to him. He didn’t know me at all. And I was like, “Hey, I’m Jared, I have this show. I listen to your show. I’m gonna be in Dallas for this conference. I thought, hey, let’s have a podcast meetup.” And so we agreed, not even meeting each other. Hey, let’s have a meetup. So we had a meetup. I think we had like 20 people come between his friends and some of my friends that live in Dallas Fort Worth. And that kind of created a connection and a friendship. And that later evolved into just being aware and focusing on what were some of the pain points in podcasting? Which, we realized, after a few months, that there wasn’t a place, a central place, or a conference for podcasting.

Jared Easley 5:31
There was other events that had podcasting elements included, but it wasn’t just exclusive to podcasting. And so we thought, hey, maybe that’s something that we could start. And I laugh at that now, because we had no experience in events. We had just been interested in taking action and doing something. We were kind of the day job guys that were dreaming of maybe breaking away at some point. Maybe having our own business. And so we decided, hey, let’s try to do this conference.

Jared Easley 6:01
Well, we were not connected. We didn’t have an email list. We didn’t have a number of the things that experts would say you need to start a successful event or you know a successful business? What do they know? And we were just blinded by ambition. Hey, look, let’s do this, you know, and I think if, if we knew now, what we didn’t know then – I don’t know that we would have done it.

Jared Easley 6:25
Because there was a lot of challenges that came up as we started this process. But what we did, given the circumstances, was we reached out to people that we knew who were podcasters – specifically in the business niche. People that we weren’t friends with, and maybe we’d had guests on our shows and that kind of thing. And told them, “Hey, we think there’s a need for a podcast conference, we want to try to coordinate one. We’re going to do it in Dallas, and we’d love for you to speak. And, we’d love you to share it with your network and support it. We’re gonna do a crowdfunding campaign because we don’t have enough money to just chunk into something that’s going to fail.”

The First Podcast Movement Was Funded on Kickstarter

Jared Easley 7:03
So that was our validation. We did a crowdfunding Kickstarter campaign. We decided, okay, if this campaign is successful, we’ll pursue the event. And if it’s not, then that’s our turn around and run, you know, notice. So we put out a crowdfunding campaign and just messaged a bunch of people that we knew [and said] “Hey, will you support this? Will you share it?” I mean, we had no email list. We had nothing. We weren’t even influential at all. Not at all. We were budding podcasters for not even a year maybe. And so we just said, “Hey, would you like to support this?” And, surprisingly, there was a lot of people that raised their hands and said, “Yeah we would.”

Jared Easley 7:39
I think the minimum amount we needed to, because we envisioned just a small event, maybe. You know, we were like, “Oh, what if we had 200 podcasters?” Like we had in our minds at that time, that was like, massive. And not that it isn’t massive. It is. But that’s what we thought was like, wow, well, this would be just over the top if we were able to get 200 people. And I think the minimum number we needed for that crowdfunding campaign was $10,000.

Jared Easley 8:06
So we put the campaign out there, and we told our friends it went live. And then after the first day, we had more than $10,000. And that just blew my mind. I was like, I can’t believe that. Because we’re not anybody special. And we’re not connected. And we’re not influential, and we don’t have an email list. And people are supporting this. And it got the attention of a lot of people. They’re like, “Who are these guys? Like, well, who are they to do this?” There was some interesting, I won’t call it opposition – just people questioning our motives and our intent. And that was okay. Because we weren’t worried about that. We were just trying to put it together.

The First Podcast Movement Had 600 Attendees

Jared Easley 8:43
So we ended up at the end of that month, of that campaign – we raised like over three times what we needed just to get the proof of concept. And from there, we sold tickets, and sponsorships, and just did our best to get a conference together. And we ended up having 600 people that first year. That was in 2014. Now, so again, about 200 was a big deal. 600 was what we had, so it was like whoa, a big epiphany.

Jared Easley 9:11
But if you do events and you do them in a quality, high quality way, you realize quickly that a certain amount of money is just needed to produce an event. And so we had enough money to produce it, but we didn’t really make anything. And that was deflating slightly because there was a lot of work that went into it. But at the same time we realized now there’s proof of concept here. So we didn’t get discouraged by that. We just continued to keep at it, and we’re working our day jobs and four years later of working for free. We finally had enough money to say okay, let’s go all in, and let’s be full time. And so we got enough money to pay ourselves I think for six months. And we were like if we can’t do this in six months, if we can’t just be fully focused on it and do this six months, then it’s the right time to hand it over to you know try something else.

Jared Easley 10:08
So after four years of not making any money and doing the event, then growing gradually and us putting any money that was made back into the event. We finally went full time, and now there’s been no looking back since. Even with COVID, we never had to lay anyone off, which we’re thankful for that. We had to pivot, of course. I had to make some adjustments to the business, which was positive and a good thing. But yeah, now we’re in a position in 2022 where Podcast Movement is considered an industry conference. You have the people from Apple, and Spotify, and iHeart, and just all the big organizations that you would think of when you think of podcasting are typically represented. Or they’re attending.

From an Idea to An Industry Conference

Jared Easley 10:50
And so it’s really neat to see how something you know, it was just an idea. Now, it’s a thing that’s become more of a big deal. And just an opportunity for a lot of podcasters. Whether they’re independent, or whether they’re people that have been in the industry for a long time, or they’re veteran podcasters to come together and just learn from each other. And, yeah, so we’ve got two events this year, we got one in LA in March. That one’s called Evolutions, and then we have another one in Dallas. That’s in August, that’s our big one. And we’re really excited. And yeah, COVID was a curveball for everybody. And we hope that it’ll be safe and continue to have some safety protocols in place. And let’s do our best to deliver a really high quality event. And so that’s what we’re prepping for now. And looking forward to.

Ashley 11:38
I think one of the things that you said that kind of struck me, is you said that if you had known what you were going to face, the obstacles you’re going to face you might not have actually gone through with it. I think that kind of speaks to the whole ignorance is bliss thing. But at the same time, though, it feels like to me that one of the reasons why, you know, you were able to fund it so quickly, is at the time – like you said – you know, just a couple of different conferences, were kind of having tracks on the idea of podcasting.

Ashley 12:05
You know, it was at New Media Expo, it was mentioned at BlogHer. You know, the BlogHer Conference, and things like that. But there wasn’t truly a space for people who are sitting at home alone talking to their microphones to come out and get together. So tell me a little bit about those first conversations. Like those first, you know, let’s do a conference. What was that like? You and Dan, you’re just spitballing with each other? Like, how in the world did you decide it would be an actual conference rather than just another meetup?

There Were No Podcasting Only Conferences Before Podcast Movement

Jared Easley 12:33
Oh, sure. We had attended New Media Expo, which you mentioned. And we had met a lot of people that were interested in podcasting. And podcasting was a very redheaded stepchild, a small corner piece of that event. But the number of attendees that were at that event, largely were interested in podcasting, and that struck me as okay. Here’s people saying, “Why isn’t there a podcast conference?” And you hear that multiple times, like, “Okay, I thought that too.” That to me, was an undeniable sign that there needed to be one. Whether it should have been Dan and I just starting it, you know, is irrelevant. We knew there should be one. We just kind of blindly jumped in and said, “Okay, let’s go for it.” And that was a learning process, to say the least. But we thought it through as good as we could, you know. We decided on Dallas for the first year. And one of the reasons we picked Dallas is because that is a one way flight for most US cities in North America.

Jared Easley 13:30
And so Dallas seemed to be central. It seemed to be an easy place. There’s kind of two major airports there. There’s Dallas Fort Worth, and there’s Love Field. And so that’s what we went with. And then there was connections that we had from the podcast. Like, we’d interviewed people that started other conferences and other niches. And we had conversations with those folks. We had a rapport with them, a friendship with them, when we could say, “Hey, if you were to start all over, knowing what you know, now, what would you do? What would you avoid?” So we get some really good advice. For people that were just very generous and gracious with their time and charge consulting fees – they were just friendly to us. Which I look back now and I realized, man, that was a gift.

Jared Easley 14:12
And we’ve certainly tried to pay that forward over the years. But it is interesting now that you’re several years down the road. And there are a number of podcast conferences now. And it’s funny because all the people that have gone off and started these podcast conferences, or people that have come to Podcast Movement. We just got to laugh at that. They’re like, “Hey, I could do this.” And then they go off and do their own version of it. So it’s just creating more podcast conference opportunities, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But Podcast Movement was the first one really to be inserted in that spot. And so I don’t, you know – we don’t necessarily look at these other events as bad or competition or anything like that. We’re pretty established at this point. But it is fun to see how Podcast Movement has added impact, not just in podcasting, but also in events for podcasting as well. So yeah, a lot’s happened.

Ashley 15:11
So it’s truly become a movement. Is that why you chose the name movement?

Why It’s Called Podcast Movement

Jared Easley 15:15
Yeah, I’ve always loved that name. I remember, in high school, there was a band. I grew up in Alabama. I grew up in the south. And there was a band called Far South Movement. I always thought that was a cool name. And then when talking to Dan about names for the event, there was so many names that were just played out. We don’t like that. That’s cheesy. And we both – this is an interesting fact, not many people know about us. But Dan and I both grew up wrestling fans. Dan was actually once a professional wrestler, by the way. And we loved wrestling. And at the time, there’s a wrestler named Daniel Bryant, who was doing this “Yes” chant. And he would get in the ring, and he would just raise his hands and the crowd would just cooperate. That’s a yes, yes, yes. And I guess WWE coined that the Yes Movement. And we were having a conversation one day, we started talking about that. And then there was like, “Hey, we should call it Podcast Movement.” And we’re like, “Yeah, that’s it. That’s the name.” So without that – I wish there was a better story of how we came up with it. But that’s how we came up with it. So.

Ashley 16:23
I actually love that story, though.

Jared Easley 16:26
Nobody was using that name in the marketing business space. Prior. And it is amazing how since then, you see all these different names have popped up that are movement, movement, movements, Like, okay, I’m not saying they got that from us. But it is interesting that that wasn’t out there before. We were like the only one. So now, you know, you see a lot more.

Ashley 16:46
Well I mean once people see something’s actually working. Why not? Right. Now? Yeah,

Jared Easley 16:50
We’ve copied some stuff, believe me.

Ashley 16:54
But always put your own spin on it? Of course. Yeah.

Jared Easley 16:57
Yeah. Yeah, that’s the key from just blatantly stealing. And then, you know, attempting to be creative. Okay, you see something, that’s fine. And that’s memorable at one of them. And you’re like, “Hey, let’s try to, you know, maybe create our own rendition of that.” And, yeah, that really is one of the big ways the event has evolved over the years.

Feedback is Key

Jared Easley 17:16
Another one is getting feedback from people right after the event. We put out surveys and people share their ideas. And then you take them in and kind of filter the ones that are, you know, not helpful. And the ones that are, then you kind of come up with new strategies for the next event. And that’s served us well, because they’re things that people mentioned or like, “Hey, I didn’t think of that. That’s a good one.” So yeah.

Ashley 17:41
I like that you ask for the feedback. The fact that you actually genuinely care what your attendees say. That really speaks to, you know, the fact that you guys aren’t just in it. I mean, obviously, if you were waiting for years before you actually took on some money, clearly, it wasn’t the money that was important to you. It was the fact that you actually wanted to provide a service that was of value. And so just the fact that you guys keep showing that you genuinely care. I mean, you guys actually answer emails. You respond to tweets. You have an amazing Facebook community. I mean, grant you, there are some things that you can tell that people are only joining the group because they’re trying to promote themselves.

Jared Easley 18:20
But we’re trying to filter that, but it’s hard. Yeah.

Ashley 18:22
But just like the fact that you guys put community above all, it becomes paramount. Just – it actually shows. It’s one of the reasons that it’s one of my favorite conferences I’ve ever attended. And I want to attend every single one that I possibly can. Now, I’m curious, though, you said …

Community is More Important Than Notoriety

Jared Easley 18:40
Can I stop you for a second? I’m sorry. You just said something that I think this is really important. I want people to get this. You said that you’re talking about community. And that was a big conversation that we had in the beginning was community. How do you really create community? And we had seen a lot of examples and conferences and different things where people were, like, only promoting their own interest or their own ego or their own, you know, brand.

Jared Easley 19:09
And we determined, I don’t say this to brag or to pretend like we’re better than anyone else. Because that’s not. We certainly don’t feel that way. But we decided that we’re not going to be the guys that post our face all over the banners, all over the ads, and all over the Podcast Movement logos. And we’re not going to be the guys that take the keynote stage and take up that valuable time slot just for our own ego. We’re going to let the community be the stars. And that’s a decision that I have never regretted.

Jared Easley 19:53
I think that has been such a good move. For a number of reasons that I think people came in and they saw all these other events where there’s a face. And I’m not knocking that. But we realized, that’s not going to be best for what we want to accomplish. And what it has accomplished, I think is a lot of goodwill. I think there’s a lot of trust that was developed because people said, here’s these guys that are running this, but they’re not trying to promote themselves. They’re actually – maybe they really are trying to promote genuine community. And, and because of that, I think that’s one of the things that has helped Podcast Movement to grow. And to become what it has – is trust.

Jared Easley 20:31
People just knew, okay, this isn’t an event where somebody’s just trying to say, “Look at me, look at me.” This is an event where, you know, it really is about the community. And it’s run by people that actually care for the community. And, and so I’m really thankful that we made that choice. And I’m glad that we’ve stuck with that over the years. And I know that has served us well. And it’s actually created the result that some people would want from the beginning. Hey, I want to be noticed, I want to be seen, I want to look like I have this big, you know, following or whatever – That was never our intent or goal. But it is – when you start to have something that works and is taking off and is doing well and flourishing. People will ask that question, “Well, who’s behind this? Who’s doing this?” And they asked that question. And then your name does come up right or wrong.

Jared Easley 21:16
People find out about who you are and what you’re doing, even though you’re not necessarily trying to say, “Please, please, please notice me,” if that makes sense.

Ashley 21:26
It does.

Jared Easley 21:27
So that’s my encouragement to people listening to this today who are wanting community or wanting to create community is – If you can do it in a way that isn’t so focused on yourself and really makes other people the hero. I think that just is genuine. I think people really resonate with that. I don’t think there’s a wrong way to do it. But I think that has been something we’ve done this work well.

Ashley 21:50
It’s definitely what drew me to Podcast Movement because I remember, you know. Back when I was first researching about how to start a podcast, and I was looking into a lot of things. I came across you. I don’t remember how I came across you. But

Jared Easley 22:03
I feel like I owe you an apology.

Ashley 22:04
Ha! I don’t remember how I came across you, but I was like, “Well, does he actually work with the company?” Like what does he do with the company? And I was like trying to ask you, and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I work with the company.” And it’s like, no, you co-founded it! Like, just the way that you and Dan were so humble about it. And so not “look at me, look at me.” It made me love the community that much more. So it definitely – everything that you just said, spot on. Like, I love the fact that you guys didn’t make it an ego, you know, thing. Where oh, we’re just going to get on the stage, and we’re going to be the stars. I love the fact that you make the podcasters of your community, the star, although let’s be honest, you guys could be the stars as well.

Podcast Movement Quickly Earned a Lot of Trust

Jared Easley 22:48
Well, whether that’s true or not, we have. I think we’ve earned a lot of trust, because we haven’t taken that path. And I wouldn’t do it any other way. Now, I really believe that was the right call and any relationships that have been gained from it. I think I’ve been getting for, you know, a good, a good foundation, a good reason, you know. People just say, “Okay, I believe that this person’s not trying to be sneaky and trying to just sell me something for their own business or vanity or whatever.”

Jared Easley 23:21
I really think there’s, yeah, there’s just a trust that people will develop because of that. And we’ve heard it from a lot of people and the events kind of speak for themselves. If you attend one, you’ll see. I mean, the community is really awesome and generous. And a collaborative, synergistic mindset. You have a few, you know, people that may not be that way, but for the most part, that’s how it is. And that’s kind of the culture we were hoping to foster. And it kind of just has grown. Not because we’re great people, but just because we threw the party and try to make sure those were the guests that were coming.

Ashley 23:59
Well, speaking of the events, the events themselves – When was it that you started having Evolutions? And why did it go from just Podcast Movement, the conference to Podcast Movement, now having two separate events?

Why Podcast Movement Evolved Into Two Events

Jared Easley 24:11
Oh, that’s a good one. Oh, there’s a few reasons. One, trying to expand a little bit, but within reason. So from a business standpoint, it makes sense if you can do another event. That’s good for business. But another reason was – at the time, a lot of our events, the major events, the Podcast Movement events were more central or east coast. And we’d only done one Podcast Movement on the west coast. That was in Anaheim. And there’s a number of amazing podcasters that are in California and on the West Coast. And you know, they’re not always able to or willing, especially when COVID was a thing to be able to travel the East Coast. And we thought oh, that’s gonna make sense to try to do something that’s in California that allows West Coast folks if they want to.

Jared Easley 24:56
To have something a little bit closer to them. And then there’s a lot of industry, podcast people in the LA area. And we wanted to have some more content and some more opportunities for those folks. And so Evolutions was developed with all that in mind and so now it’s a smaller event. It’s not as large as the big one in the summertime, but it’s still a pretty good size. We’ve only done one. But I believe we had like, over 2000 at that first one. And I’m not sure what we’ll end up having at this one. But you know, we were getting registrations, and people are excited about coming. They’re coming from other countries, even. You know. In spite of what’s going on in the world right now. So we’re really thrilled about that.

Jared Easley 25:38
And we’ll have a number of safety protocols in place, and just make sure we’re sticking to the rules as much as possible. And we’ll create a really exciting event. But we were able to do the Nashville event this past summer, and despite, you know, the pandemic and things, it was well attended, and it was great. And we had a blast. And so we’re just gonna keep doing it as long as we can. And you know, we’re having fun doing it. And it’s a blast. Anyone that comes to the event. You’ve been yourself, you know. You come away, just encouraged. And even if you don’t podcast, you’ll be like, “Let’s just start a podcast.” Or you’ll be like, “Hey, I got asked to be on podcasts.” We had a friend who came that wasn’t a podcaster. They just wanted to see what the event was like. I think they left the event getting asked to be on a couple of podcasts. But to be a guest on a podcast – that was pretty cool. So yeah, it’s just a really generous community. It’s a fun time.

Ashley 26:37
Yeah, it is. It is a very generous community. And you know, whenever I attended my first one in 2019, I didn’t have a podcast, but I was hell bent on starting one. As soon as I left that event, I was so ready to start. And then I did actually launch. It launched in the middle of the pandemic on April Fool’s Day. And I did that so if it was awful I could, you know, say it was a joke. True story.

Ashley 27:02
Yeah, I’m absolutely loving it. So now, since you do have two events, and you kind of made it sound like the Evolutions is more for industry pros. Who should attend in your opinion? But yeah, okay, so let’s speak to that. Let’s jam on that for a minute.

Who Should Attend Podcast Movement?

Jared Easley 27:18
I think the events themselves are for anyone that podcasts or anyone that’s in the industry. And that’s regardless of which one you go to. I do think there’s more, there is some more content focused toward the industry stuff in Evolutions. That said, we kind of differentiated the two events. Where Podcast Movement is kind of choose your own adventure. It’s a number of tracks that are on a number of topics. And you can kind of say, “Okay, this particular session, I want to go and learn something about marketing. In the next session, I want to learn something about monetization.” And you know, there’s just all these different categories.

Jared Easley 27:55
And then the Evolutions event is actually you buy a ticket based on your experience level. So if you’re a new podcaster, there’s a new content ticket, where all of the sessions in that ticket, are specific to where you are in podcasting for that moment. And then there’s a, you know, an industry pass for people that are more the industry folks. And then there’s professional podcasters for people that are, you know, they’re not the rookies, they’re the veterans. So it’s content more tailored for those people. So that’s, that’s one of the ways we’ve differentiated the events.

Jared Easley 28:28
And, you know, I’m sure we’ll continue to adjust and evolve, but that’s the way it is set up right now. But anybody that’s interested in podcasting, interested or has a podcast, or their business is thinking about starting a podcast or, I mean, it’s a little bit of everybody. So it’s the hobbyist. It’s the veteran. It’s the person that works in the industry space. It’s people that are just intrigued. We’ve had people that show up, and they’re not podcasters at all. And then they are authors of a book or something. And they’re like, “I’m just here because I want to meet podcasters. I want to be a guest.”

Jared Easley 29:05
So we’ve had people tend to vent for that. And that’s worked way better than any PR agency that they’ve hired. They’ve walked away with like dozens of interviews just from paying for a ticket to go to the event. They just met people and told them what they’re up to. And then [they say], “I’d love to have you on my show.” So much that it really is networking is really great. And it’s not the same old person. Everybody’s different.

Podcasting Brings All Types of People Together

Jared Easley 29:34
Everybody’s got a different story and a different background. Different people from everywhere, and it’s beautiful. It’s really cool. It’s diverse in a very wonderful way. I’ve not been to many things where you would see, you know, these people that culturally may not get along all of the sudden be excited to talk to each other about something like podcasting. Podcasting does that though.

Jared Easley 30:01
Like the person who’s you know, Jewish will be hanging out with the Arabic person or whatever it’s like. You know, not the best, not completely normal, but you know what I mean? Like, these are just examples of people that might, someone who’s a Christian might be talking with the person who’s LGBTQ. That is really, you know, not grown up in the Bible belt and all that. You know. You got these just different types of people that are interacting, and it’s not a political thing. It’s not a, you know, how do I want to one up you? Or how do I try to conform you to my mindset, right? It’s nothing like that. Like people are just excited about learning about podcasting and sharing what they’re doing. And it’s, for the most part, you walk away from the event and are really energized and encouraged. And almost like, hey, humanity doesn’t completely, is not completely terrible. Like, there’s some really gracious and good people out there. And from all different types of backgrounds. I love that about podcasting, so.

Ashley 31:01
Oh, absolutely. And I think one of the big reasons that so many different, you know, niches and cultures, and all of that can come together, is we all want to be heard. We all want our message to be heard. And the fact that podcasting, I mean, you said at the beginning of our interview that it was, you know, very democratized, I think that’s so true that, you know. What makes it such a movement is that anybody from any background can just get on their microphone and share a message. And, you know, one of the things you also said at the beginning of our chat was that, you know, it’s interesting to see people collaborating from all these different niches. And I think it’s because at the heart of it, we’re all seeing that, even if we are having different interests, or different businesses, or different whatever, there is something we do have in common. And there is something that we can share that gives someone our story, and I think it’s beautiful.

Jared Easley 31:55
100% Yeah, it’s very exciting.

Ashley 31:57
It’s a moment. A Miss America moment. But uh, but one of the things she said that also struck me was that, you know, you have non podcasters coming to try to get podcast guesting opportunities. And I think it’s really interesting, because they’re saying, you know, the industry experts, if you will, you know Everybody’s saying that podcast guesting is the new guest blogging. It’s, you know, it’s what you got to do, because like you said, why would you want to spend all this money on a PR agency whenever you can just get on a bunch of podcasts?

Attending Podcast Movement Yields Amazing Things for Guests

Jared Easley 32:26
Well, I’m not saying people shouldn’t support PR agencies. But I’ve seen it firsthand. People that have come to the event, and purposely wanted to interact with podcasters, and potentially get on shows. And they’ve walked away with just dozens, literally dozens of podcasts that are announced, scheduled for the next few months. And they’d be like, “Man, this is, you know, this is the best investment I’ve ever made.”

Ashley 32:51
It really is that. It’s just a good tactic.

Jared Easley 32:53
Yeah. And there was a lady. I won’t name her. She had talked about how coming to our event, the next year, she could point back to our event and show how it made her like $250,000 in revenue in her business. And it’s not a business conference. But people that have businesses, because of the networking and the different opportunities that she had, she ended up being on a number of shows that promoted her and then she ended up seeing a lot of growth in our business. And she attributed that because of the connections she made at the event.

Jared Easley 33:30
That’s not gonna happen for everybody. I’m sure everybody’s different. And everybody’s work ethic is different. But just hearing stories like that. It’s like, that’s pretty amazing. That’s, you know, I would have never anticipated that something like that would be happening from Podcast Movement. People connecting with someone that like, they looked up to and then being a guest on their show. We have stories like that.

Attending Podcast Movement Yields Amazing Things for Guests

Jared Easley 33:56
One of my favorite stories. This is good. There’s a lady who does birdwatching. Okay, and she does a podcast about birdwatching, and she’s reputable in that space. And I’d asked her at one of our events which session was, you know, beneficial to you? And I just assumed she’d mentioned a keynote or do something that was obvious. And she’s like, “Oh, that’s easy. The wrestling guys!” And I kind of laughed for a minute thinking, here’s a birdwatcher lady, goes into a session that guy’s wrestling podcasts are teaching.

Jared Easley 34:25
Made me laugh. And she’s like, “Oh, yeah. I love the way they engage with their audience. I love the way they come up with monetization opportunities, and live podcast and Patreon support,” and [she] just rattled off this list. Like, “I’m going to try to borrow a bunch of the things that they’re doing to apply to what I’m doing in the birdwatching space.” So that’s what I was talking about, you know. Where the different circles overlap, and they learn from each other. And so that, to me it’s hysterical. But it’s just a good example of something that maybe you wouldn’t expect that to happen.

The Sky's the Limit for Podcasters

Jared Easley 35:00
I’ve got to tell one more. And it’s wrestling related. So it’s still kind of in context. I’m at this game with Scotty. And Scotty, this was actually a couple of years ago. And, you know, when people are at a podcast conference, if they don’t have a podcast, they’re talking about what they’re thinking about doing as a potential podcast. And that’s what Scotty – where he was at that time. And he was telling me, “Hey, I’m gonna start a podcast where I’m gonna make up this fake wrestling organization in my head. And then I’m just gonna, in each episode, I’m going to talk about the storylines of these fake wrestlers. And then I’m gonna use this video game simulation of creating these custom wrestlers, and then have them simulate wrestling each other. And that’s how I’m gonna like, figure out the matches and who wins.”

Jared Easley 35:43
And I remember him telling me all this stuff, just like – that’s a lot. I was like, that’s good for you, buddy. Good luck with that. And if they get in my head, like that may or may not work. Well, I ran into him this last year. And I was like, “Scotty, how you doing? How’s the wrestling podcast?” He’s like, “Man, you wouldn’t believe it. I’ve quit my day job. I’m doing it full time now.”

Jared Easley 36:06
I was like, “Wait a minute. The wrestling one that the made up one, like the video game simulations?” He’s like, “Yeah, man, I’ve been doing it for a couple years. And I got enough people supporting me now on Patreon. And I’ve quit my day job doing this.” And I just cracked up. I was like, I would have never ever given this guy the chance of being a full time podcaster – a full time professional podcaster – based on that idea, but it worked. He was creative. He figured it out. And, you know, I know that won’t be true for everybody. Man, if you can do that, you know, I think the sky’s the limit. So I love that story. It’s one of my favorites. So there’s several others, but I’ll stop there.

Ashley 36:54
That is fantastic. I like to hear things like that. Because they’re random, right? Yes. And the randomness is what I love about it, though. Because I mean, I’ve seen podcasts on every subject, but I mean, like you said, the sky’s the limit. That’s fantastic. I have to ask you, though, and you may not even want to speak to this. But I’m just curious, what do you see as the future of podcasting?

Jared Shares His Thoughts on the Future of Podcasting

Jared Easley 37:18
Well, I mean, let’s just be realistic, I think you’re gonna see more of the bigger fish get involved. Bigger organizations, bigger celebrities. I think it’d be a trend, I don’t see it as a bad thing. Those people are gonna probably get more attention just because they already have attention. Because they already have massive platforms and things like that. But for the people who are creative, for the people who are niche, and people who are willing to take this seriously and run with it, I still think those people have as good a chance as anyone.

Jared Easley 37:52
So podcasting will continue to see new opportunities. And technology will see new innovations, new opportunities to engage with audiences live. Live streaming will be even more relevant than it is now. I see a number of ways that podcasting can continue to develop, and I think that it will. The haves will continue to have and the have nots may continue to kind of linger a little bit. But for those that are niche, and those that are focused, and really creative, I think the sky’s the limit. The opportunities are absolutely there. It can happen. It’s not too late to start a podcast, you know. The wagon hasn’t left. The train hasn’t left. You can still start a podcast and still have success. It takes work, and it takes creativity.

Jared Easley 38:40
And I do think being in a very specific niche is a good thing that will likely help you. So I think that’s the future. I think we’ll just see more opportunities for these big fish. And then we’ll see people continue to step up and be creative and have fun ways to do shows and new ideas and innovative ways of presenting themselves. And then they’ll get on the radar too. So I think it’s open – wide open. Anybody can do it. So why not? And you don’t need a massive audience, depending on what your goals are.

Jared Easley 39:14
If you’re just trying to help key people, you know, you just start sharing what’s on your mind and what’s on your heart. And you’d be surprised. I’ve gotten emails from my podcast. My podcast is not a professional podcast. It’s just something to do for fun that I’ve been doing for several years. And I’ve gotten emails from people in other countries. Like a guy was telling me, they were on an eight hour road trip listening to my podcast. I was like sometimes my wife won’t even listen to me for eight minutes. How did you listen to my podcast for eight hours? But you know, those things happen.

Jared Easley 39:48
So I encourage people that are on the fence, they’re thinking about it, you know, it’s really not that brutal to start a podcast. And there’s plenty of tutorials that are free out there. You don’t even need to spend a lot of money on equipment. You can almost do everything from a mobile device if that’s what you want. And if you got something on your mind or something on your heart. You want to talk about something that you love, you’re passionate about, give it a try, you know. You don’t have anything to lose. Go ahead and test it out. I’d say if you’re gonna test it out, maybe consider the Netflix seasonal approach. Maybe just say I’m gonna do eight episodes. I’m gonna do 10 episodes and then I’m just going to kind of evaluate and we’ll see what people say. See what kind of feedback I get, and then test it that way. Instead of saying, I’m going to just do this ongoing show for forever, because it can burn you out. So I’d say maybe just start with a few episodes, and then try to get some feedback. And then if you decide to do some more episodes, you’ll have an idea of what you need to change and what you need to adjust. Or you may realize, “Hey, okay, that topic is not the one I want to keep doing things.” So you can change it up. You can say April Fool’s. Right.

Ashley 40:47
Exactly, exactly. And that’s exactly how I started. I committed to 10. I committed to 10. And I like that idea. Yeah. So all right. So I got to ask you one last question. I asked everybody before I let them go. What is one question I didn’t ask you really wish I had? Oh, and by the way, you can blame John Lee Dumas for this question.

Random Things Jared is Interested In

Jared Easley 41:13
Okay, so what’s the question that you didn’t ask that you should have? Um, man, there’s so many questions that you could have asked that you didn’t. I love random things. I love. Like right now I’m passionate about being a referee. I did referee for American football for high school and middle school this past fall. For the first time ever. And I loved it. It was so much fun. It was something that was way out of my comfort zone. But I got involved. I started doing it. I loved it. So I’m always kind of looking for random things to kind of to mess with and have fun with. That’s one of them. And the other one is I help out and volunteer at the animal care shelter here locally and just walk the dogs. You know the old dogs that nobody wants to, you know, take home. So I go and hang out with old dogs and walk them. You know, I do that. That’s fun. Yeah, just in the random little things. Vending! Vending interests me right now. I’m into vending machines. I’m fascinated. I actually own a couple of vending machines.

Ashley 42:20
I get it. I can’t believe how many different vending machines there are.

Jared Easley 42:23
Yeah, I bought a couple vending machines. And so I’ve been playing with those just for fun and it’s an idea that I thought, hey, I want to teach my daughter some business principles. She’s young, she’s 11.

Ashley 42:35
Candy and soda?

Jared Easley 42:37
Snacks and stuff like that.

Ashley 42:38
And so when I was in an airport the other day they were selling iPhones in a vending machine. I’m like whoa.

Jared Easley 42:45
That’s a vending machine I should get. I saw one on Instagram in like, maybe in Japan, where they sold, like, cake in a can. And you drop the can down. It’s got a plastic spoon. You pull the top off and you’re eating cake.

Ashley 43:01
Oh, yeah, they have a whole street dedicated to vending machines in Japan. There’s a YouTube video on it. I should send it to you.

Jared Easley 43:07
Oh, I love it. Anyway, yeah. So vending interests me. There’s so many things that interest me. So I love really interesting shows on Netflix and streaming channels, apps. So if you ever find that show that you just love, you know tweet me or message me and tell me because I’m always looking for good ones.

Ashley 43:24
Well, speaking of tweeting, where can we find you online?

Jared Easley 43:27
Jared Easley is my personal Twitter. Of course, if you’re wanting Podcast Movement, that’s @PodcastMovement, and that is a much more active channel than my Twitter. My personal Twitter, but yeah. You can always reach out to me, Jared at Podcast Movement dot com via email. Or we can connect on Twitter, Instagram, any of those places. So yeah, it would be LinkedIn. Yeah, LinkedIn too.

Ashley 43:50
And if you’re lucky enough to be a Facebook friend, you’ll get to see some of Jared’s dad jokes.

Jared Easley 43:53
I’m on Facebook. I’m a little more picky with who I’m friends with on Facebook. And I think it’s because I tell really bad dad jokes.

Ashley 44:01
I love your dad jokes.

Jared Easley 44:03
Yeah, there are some that can, you know, process them. And then there’s, I sent my brother an email. This is a true story. I sent him an email this past week with a bunch of probably like 12 really terrible bad jokes. Dad jokes, not bad, but just dad cheesy jokes. And he wrote me back and he was just like, “Man, like, don’t ever do that again.” I was just cracking up and I’m laughing more at his response than anything. Oh, but yeah, my friend. And unfortunately, John Kenny is no longer with us. But John was a guest on my show a long time ago.

Jared Easley 44:36
And John said to me – one time he said, “Tell bad jokes.” And I was like, “Why? They’re bad jokes.” You know? And he’s like, “People laugh at bad jokes. They say they hate them. They may groan, but really deep down, people appreciate bad jokes every now and then.” You know, there’s a lot of challenges in this life. There’s the pandemic. There’s political challenge. There’s, you know, all these you know, differences of perspective and opinion. And it’s so nice sometimes to just go on a social media channel and read a bad joke. Read a dad joke. So that’s I think the goal there. I just try to make somebody laugh and kind of forget about all the craziness for a moment and move on.

Ashley 45:22
Well, this was definitely an interesting interview. I kind of saw it going one way. I didn’t know we were gonna end the way we did. But I have loved everything.

Jared Easley 45:30
I feel like we should just start over now. But bless your heart. Yeah, that’s what they say in Kentucky. In a good way.

Ashley 45:40
In a good way. Yeah. Well, I just want to thank you again so much for your time. And for all of the awesome stories that you shared. I mean, everything you shared was just. It kind of lights me up and makes me very excited for Podcast Movement. I will be attending virtually. But there are team members from RSS.com that will be attending. So thank you for your time.

Jared Easley 46:01
Absolutely. I’m grateful and I hope people will continue to check out the show.

Ashley 46:05
Yes, and I hope people will continue podcasting. Yeah. What are you waiting for? Just launch already.

Jared Easley 46:10
Yes. If you’ve got questions message me or, or keep listening to this show. You’ll figure it out. You’ll get there.

Ashley 46:16
Well, my fellow podcasters I hope you enjoyed all the amazing insights that Jared had to share about starting a conference and starting a podcast. To learn more about starting and growing your own show, visit us at RSS.com, and you can start for free and get your first episode on us. Thanks for tuning in.

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