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CASE STUDY:  Power Up Podcasting Course & Community by Pat Flynn

Back in October 2017 I was chatting with my good friends Primoz and Marc via Whatsapp about how I could infuse more fun in my business, help more people and {of course} get my name out there more.

I had been secretly toying with the idea of starting a podcast, and when I told them about my idea they encouraged me to go for it.  I wasn’t sure how it fit into my business exactly; all I knew was that I wanted to create content that would allow me to help entrepreneurs nail their online course community woes, while at the same time, sit down with some of my favourite entrepreneurs.

In this case study I wanted to highlight the Power-Up Podcasting (PUP) course community, so that you can see first had the importance of a community for your students, and how you can make your community insanely valuable.

I’ll also be sharing my own experience with Pat Flynn’s Power Up Podcasting course (as it’s hella good and it helped me launch The Diana Tower Show podcast).

Here’s a video that I made:

Disclaimer:  No Dianas were paid, compensated or offered any bling to write this post or make the following video.  It’s an honest review of a course that I’ve actually taken.  I also wanted to showcase the PUP course community and how it’s a crucial element to my success as a student, and how you can make YOUR course community help your students engage right off the bat (avoiding the dreaded crickets) and help them achieve their goals too.

Following my conversation with Marc and Primoz, I dove in and recorded 15 interviews and while it was exciting, I was kind of freaked out about the “under the hood” of what it took to do a podcast.

I started doing a bit of research on how to launch my podcast and I read an article from GrowthLab called, “Thinking of Starting a Podcast.  Don’t

It’s an amazing article by the creator of the “Art of Charm” podcast, Jordan Harbinger, which really makes you think, “Should I really be doing this?”

For many, it’s a NO. If you’re thinking that a podcast is going to make it rain Benjamins for you, then you’re probably going to be disappointed.

For me though, it wasn’t about making money…it was about creating useful content that would help my readers/listeners and have fun while I’m doing it.

I love interviewing people and talking into a mic is seriously fun for me.  I feel like a talk show host!

Not only that, it provides me with the outside accountability that my “obliger” self needs.  I wanted to help people with their online course communities and this was a fun way to do it.

I started doing research on how to start my podcast.

Why not just do it myself?  Cause, I’m the type of person that wants to do shit right the first time!

I knew that there would be A LOT of moving parts, and back end work to the podcast, but I didn’t have the time (or the patience) to test things and figure it out myself. Fuck that.

I wanted someone who had been there, done that, bought the podcast T-shirt and packaged up their learnings in a course.  Someone to take me by the hand and lay it all out there for me, in an easy to implement way.

So first, I grabbed Digital Marketer’s $47 Podcast Launch Plan.  

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit disappointed as it wasn’t a “from scratch” plan.  It was more of a how to launch successfully plan (which makes sense now as that’s the title of it!).  While it gives a good roadmap for launching, it doesn’t break everything down into actionable steps for where I was in the process (umm…GROUND ZERO).

Disappointed

It didn’t tell me what specific software and equipment to use either.  It was high level…when I was looking for my digital shepherd to take my hand and lead me the whole way.  Not surprising though, as it was under 50 bucks.

So I kept searching, and as I was Googling I asked myself, “Who is already doing this successfully?”  I mean, why reinvent the podcast wheel?

Scrolling through a list of random podcasts

That’s when I thought of Pat Flynn.  I mean this guy was NAILING podcasting like a boss and not only that, he seemed like such a nice guy too.  I wanted to tap into his brain and learn from him.

A quick google search later and I found his free podcast guide.

Dude…this guide alone was more useful for me than the $50 paid guide from Digital Marketer.  As I scrolled down the page that’s when I saw it.  That massive green button below.

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Ooh what's that?

Power-Up Podcasting?  What’s that?

So, I got my clickity-click on and gobbled up the sales page. I was nodding my head like a bobble head-hula girl on the dashboard of Lightning McQueen.

BUT there was this little voice in my head saying

“Diana?  ANOTHER online course? Are you serious?  Do you really need to pay for something else?”

I hesitated because when you’re starting your business and you aren’t making bank, you need to watch how you spend your money.  It can be hard to justify the investment sometimes.

The thing is though, I knew that I was going to launch a podcast (it was a WHEN not IF scenario) and I wanted to do it right…and without wasting time, which for me made signing up a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, there was a waitlist at the time, so I signed up and kept looking for other options.  I really wanted to get started then and there and I didn’t know when the course would open up.

I thought about it for a couple of days, considered doing it myself (gulp), when I got an email that the program was opening again!  AWW YEAH!

Then I saw the price.

SIGN ME UP.  Talk about a no brainer!

TAKE IT.  TAKE MY MONEY PAT!

I did it.  I jumped in and signed up and didn’t look back.

What’s it like working through Power-Up Podcasting?

Power-Up Podcasting is hosted on the Teachable platform and is SUPER easy to work through.  There are bite-sized videos with some written explanations and you can download a transcript PDF, the video and the audio from each section.

The course is divided into 7 modules which really helps you focus on where you are at, without getting overwhelmed.

  1. Pre-Launch // Step 1 – You and Your Future Podcast
  2. Pre-Launch // Step 2 – Planning Your Podcast Episodes
  3. Pre-Launch // Step 3 – Recording and Editing Your Show
  4. Pre-Launch // Step 4 – Preparing Your Audio File for the World
  5. Pre-Launch // Step 5 – The Launch Plan
  6. Launch Week
  7. The Post-Launch Plan

There is also a Facebook community (aw yeah…I love me some quality course community!), and it’s an intimate group of amazing people doing exactly the same thing…working on launching their own podcasts.

Everyone is super friendly and ready to support you, encourage you and answer your questions.  Especially Jason Skinner…what an absolute rockstar!

Pat is quite active in the community as well, in addition to hosting weekly live office hours.  It’s refreshing to see someone at his level still providing direct access and support from himself directly. Plus he really does care about the success of his students.

We’ll dig into the community more in a minute.

Time to get to work

What I loved about the course is that it’s broken down into tiny baby steps that you can work through at your own pace (and you get access to EVERYTHING from day one).  The videos are anywhere from 3-10 minutes long and it is the perfect way to introduce you to a small parts of the process.

So I put on my blinders and got to work.  I didn’t get overwhelmed thinking OMG I’M LAUNCHING A PODCAST, I simply focused on one piece of the puzzle at a time.

Creating my cover art, or setting up Garageband or Audacity.  Step by step (ooo baby…gonna get to your girl!)

Step by Step - NKOTB

More things that helped me launch my podcast?

Pat doesn’t just tell you what to do and how to do it, he goes as far as recommending specific equipment that he has tested himself, eliminating any guess work or decisions.  I ordered it all up (from Amazon) and it was so easy to set up because Pat sets everything up with you.

For under $200 I was able to get a great mic, mic boom and pop filter and not only does it work really well…it looks pretty bad-ass as well.

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It’s also worth mentioning how personal the course feels.  It feels like Pat is actually sitting across the table from you, talking you through everything and encouraging you every step of the way.  On the days that I was feeling particularly nervous or feeling “the resistance” it was great to have Pat encouraging me and helping me move forward.

So far I’ve been focusing on the course material, and you might be thinking, what about the community Diana?  You’re a community strategist.  Shouldn’t you be focusing on his community?

You’re right, but one thing that needs to be said, is that a course community is nothing without an outstanding course.  Think about it.  If Pat didn’t NAIL the course content, the community would be flooded with questions that should be answered by the content.

An online course community can’t save a shitty course.  It’s like putting a bandaid on a bullet hole.

So when you are creating your course community, ask yourself a couple questions.

  • Have I nailed my course content?
  • Have I gone above and beyond providing the BEST insights, and learnings in the course itself?
  • Is there anything I can do to make the course content easier to work through, digest (user experience)?

When your course is outstanding, your community will follow suit.

Now of course, if you’re running a beta program you might not be able to say yes to those questions YET.  That’s the whole point of a beta program, and your beta students will understand that as long as you message this from the get-go.

Then, it’s your job to use what you learn in the beta program to get 3 yeses to the questions above.

The Power- Up Podcasting Facebook community.

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Ok.  I’m not going to lie here.  When I first joined the FB community it was kind of intimidating.  Which was weird because I was SO comfortable with Pat and the course content…the way I felt in the community didn’t line up.

When I first joined the PUP community

Everyone seemed to already know each other and it looked like everyone was kicking ass and taking names.  Here I was, a total newbie and I didn’t know anyone.

  • What should I do first?
  • How could I break the ice?
  • What is ok to post and what isn’t?

NOTE:  This is what I call the “Late to the Wedding Syndrome” (LWS) and as a course creator or community manager it’s YOUR job to eliminate or minimize this feeling as soon as possible.

How could Pat have punched LWS in the face in his community?  By doing 2 things, that you should also do.

  1. Having a welcome thread.
  2. Having clear and easy to find guidelines.

1. A Welcome Thread

Having a welcome thread is a set it and forget it task, but once it’s done it can change the entire experience a new member has.  When you have a designated place to introduce yourself, people relax and know that what they are doing is ok.

People can also mingle and break the ice right off the bat, which helps squash LWS.  In terms of the PUP community, there wasn’t a designated place to introduce myself and so it felt a bit nerve wracking trying to figure out how to dive in (and I’m a freaking community strategist!).

Instead of me posting and getting involved I didn’t engage in the community for another 2 weeks!  I focused on the course work until I needed help, and then I turned to the community to ask a question, which I still felt awkward asking…because I felt like a stranger.

So what would you include in your welcome thread?  Here are some questions to ask yourself and answer with your thread.

  • Have you welcomed people into the group?
  • What emotion would you like your members to feel after reading the post?
  • What action do you want your members to take after reading the post?
  • Is there a specific way you’d like your member to introduce themselves?
  • Did you include an image to grab people’s attention?
  • Better yet, did you create a video to welcome everyone in and explain how to use the community and to encourage everyone to introduce themselves in the comments of that thread.

2. Guidelines

In the Power Up Podcasting community, there currently aren’t any rules or guidelines on what is and isn’t appropriate in the group, and this is a problem for several reasons.

Firstly, because it can create another barrier for new members to join.

How?

Because they don’t know what is and isn’t kosher…so they end up doing nothing.

That’s right.  Most of us peeps don’t want to mess up or do something out of line, so we’ll simply do nothing (which is NOT what you want happening).

Having clear guidelines allows your members to relax and know that they understand how things work in your community and they can feel confident when posting and interacting with others.

Now, not having guidelines might work for a while.  When you set up a group it can be easy to brush this off and “go with the flow”.  Not having guidelines might feel like you’re keeping things fun and light but it’s actually a recipe for a lot of problems down the line.

Here’s the deal, when you create guidelines you are setting the standard in terms of expectations.  As a result your members will act accordingly 99% of the time and this means less “policing” from you.

Also, it is MUCH easier to start a community with set guidelines than to try to incorporate guidelines down the line.  It’s like trying to get a river to flow in a different direction or reroute it.  The current wants to go the easy way, the way that things have always been and it can be difficult to get people to get on board with new guidelines.

Most people who create a course community don’t give guidelines much thought and tell themselves “let’s go with the flow” or that it’s not really all that important, but this is a mistake that will cost countless time and headaches down the line.

It actually sets you up to spend MORE time in the community dealing with fires than if you had simply set clear guidelines from the beginning.

So what should you include in your guidelines?

This is something I cover in my Ultimate Guide to Building a Profitable Online Business from Scratch at a high level, but here are some questions to ask yourself to ensure that your guidelines are serving your community and your business.

  • How do you want your members to FEEL in the community?
  • If your member were to describe your community to a friend or colleague, what do you want them to say?
  • Imagine any situations that would make you uncomfortable AND make other members uncomfortable or unhappy.  How could you blend in a point or two to address those situations?
  • Once written, ask yourself how a member will FEEL after reading them?  Be sure to focus on the benefits for them, not simply saying what they can and can’t do here.

Why is a course community so important?

People get stuck.  I got stuck in PUP too.

That’s right.  Despite having course content that was AMAZING, and knowing exactly what to do, I stalled when I needed to upload my audio to Libsyn (the host).

It wasn’t the course, or that I didn’t know what to do.  It was me feeling the resistance of pushing out of my comfort-zone.

Trying to do it alone wasn’t working.  I just couldn’t get myself to do it and I wasted a couple weeks focusing on “other things”.  That’s when I turned to the PUP community, and they got me back in the “action taking” saddle.

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It really is a tight-knit group of people all working towards the same goal, “launching a podcast”.  It’s wonderful to have a place to connect with people doing exactly what I am. And everyone is working off the same material so it was easy to get questions answered quickly (even outside Pat’s office hours).  The community was instrumental in me launching my podcast and working through the course material.

Do you see why it’s so important to give your students the gift of a course community?

It’s a win win for both you and your students.  They get the human connection and support that they need when their feeling stuck or not able to keep moving forward, and you get your students results.

Students finish your program, they love and appreciate you and they might even write amazing reviews or massive case studies about your program to share it with the world (kinda like I’m doing here).

Providing a course community is the cherry on top of going above and beyond for your students, and when done correctly (and strategically) it saves you time, energy and a whole lotta headaches down the line.

I launched…everyone celebrated.

Launching was pretty scary, but when I posted in the community, I got so much encouragement and celebration.  Pat even jumped in too.

It was amazing and felt so good to feel like I wasn’t alone.  Not only had I nailed my goal of launching a podcast, I had friends there with me giving me digital high fives and congratulations.

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The live office hours

This is a pretty awesome addition to the program.  Every week Pat sits down and answers our questions LIVE.  You can watch via FB live, or Zoom and you can post your questions in advance or live on the call.  It’s a great way to connect with Pat and other members of the program.

The one drawback though (cuz NOTHING is perfect right) is that it’s a Q&A, so there isn’t much structure.  If you have a question you need to be there for the entire call, and if you can’t attend live, you have to listen to the entire recording (1 hr) without knowing when your question will be answered.

Having to watch the entire hour long recording to hear your 5 minute answer can feel like a waste of time, but honestly…I’d rather have the opportunity to ask, then not have office hours at all.

That being said, that really is the only criticism I have about this program.  Everything else is spot on.

Plus, to be honest, I haven’t needed to ask Pat any questions because the course material explains everything really well.

Final Thoughts

So, as I sit here with my launched podcast, I am thrilled that I put my trust in Pat to walk me through the process.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him and the PUP community.

Well that’s not true.  I COULD have done it without him and wasted hours of time (that I don’t have):

  • researching equipment,
  • figuring out software,
  • trying to make decisions about which host to use,
  • how to set up the recording workflow,
  • if I should get professional music or voice over intros or not,
  • cover art,
  • how to add metadata into my episodes,
  • how to level out the volumes in my interviews,
  • which host to use,
  • how to get into iTunes and what other places to submit to,
  • how to create my RSS feed,
  • how to actually launch,
  • what do do once it’s launched and now how to keep moving forward.

Pheeewww, that’s not everything but you get the idea.  All of that and more is broken down into baby steps where Pat walks you through each step.  It really is that easy.

The final thing I wanted to mention was Pat’s attention to detail, that you might be able to do for your students as well.  Not only is the course itself impressive and super easy to follow and implement, he sent everyone official pins and stickers for being a part of the course.

IMG 0093IMG 0097IMG 0098

How cool is that?  It was such a treat to get a handwritten card from him and his team in the mail.  It made me feel like a valuable member of his community too.

YOUR TURN:  How can you apply this to your course community?

Is there a way that you can make your students feel special and taken care of?

Maybe it’s sending them a card, or hopping on a welcome call with you or a member of your team, or maybe it’s simply sending them a quick one minute video welcoming them to the program or thanking them for being a member.

And for anyone starting a podcast, I highly recommend getting Power-UP Podcasting to show you how to do it every step of the way.

Also, as I said at the beginning, I’m not an affiliate for Power-Up Podcasting.  This is simply my experience with an awesome course and I wanted to share my experience with the course; to help you improve your own course community.

BTW…being an affiliate wouldn’t change much, as I would only promote something that I truly believe in.

  • Forrest says:

    ok… I have a question….

    Is this one purchased for the whole program? Or is there more upgrades after I purchase this course? I don’t mind buying more… I just would like to know all that I will spend….

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