Everybody has a passion for something. No matter what it is, you have to get it out there. Bruce Hutcheon says podcasting is one of the leading ways to get yourself out there because it’s the fastest growing media distribution channel in the world. Bruce is the host of the Whitetail Rendezvous podcast where he interviews the nation’s leading experts on whitetail deer hunting all over North America and gives the inside scoop on all things hunting. He talks about finding a niche, building relationships, content creation, and shares how he was able to get 100 interviews in 100 days.
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100 Interviews In 100 Days: How To Make A Killer Podcast with Bruce Hutcheon
International Podcast Day Marathon
Second in our lineup on International Podcast Day is Bruce Hutcheon. Bruce is a really fun guy. I’ve enjoyed my conversations with him and I want to share why. He is passionate about one thing. He’s focused on it and he is killing it in terms of content creation and his passion for sharing his knowledge of his specialized subject to the world. Bruce is the host of Whitetail Rendezvous Podcast and he interviews the nation’s leading experts on hunting whitetail deer all over North America. It may be a niche field, but it is a field that is of tremendous interest to a lot of people. There are a lot of deer hunters in North America and he gives them the inside scoop on what’s working, what’s not, share the best hunting stories and educate hunters on best tips and tactics to have success. Bruce, thank you for joining me and welcome to our special event on Feed Your Brand and Podetize for International Podcast Day.
It’s pretty incredible the podcast world and what Tom, Tracy and Alexandra do. Props to you for what you’re doing, Tom. I’ve got some other friends that are doing the same thing and it is International Podcast Day, so I’ll open it up. If you’re not podcasting, start podcasts because everybody has a passion for something. I don’t care what it is. It could be grasshoppers, it doesn’t matter. Get it out there because it’s the fastest growing media distribution channel in the world. If you go to Nielsen quarter three reports, we’re growing exponentially and there is no competition.
I do want to talk about your show and give you some exposure to a wider audience. Since you’re going there, let’s talk about that. There are something like 1.5 billion or 1.6 billion websites on the internet. There are so many different ways people are bombarded with content but when it comes to podcasts, there are only a total of about 500,000 and not all of those are active. If you want a real area of opportunity, starting a podcast is not only growing in trend with listeners. It continues to grow month over month and year over year and it’s grown more quickly, but you can have a voice. You can compete. It’s not like trying to get a TV station on cable or something. Thanks for that shout out there. It’s true. Podcasting is a wonderful thing. You’ve done more than 500 episodes yourself of Whitetail Rendezvous. You wouldn’t be doing it if you didn’t enjoy it.
It’s a passion I’ve had. I’ve been hunting whitetails since 1966. It’s the journey. I had a podcast panel of why we hunt. People from all over the country, from guys and gals that grew up in a tree stand hunting and other guys that run TV shows and are large in the industry. To a man and to a woman, it’s all part of the journey. Hunting is misunderstood. My passion and reason Bob Roark and I started this was to share my passion for the future of hunting, for the tradition of hunting, the deer camp and the camaraderie. I have friendships that have lasted many decades because of deer camp. Somebody invited me to their farm in 1966 and I still hunt on the same farm, unfortunately some of the people have passed but with the same people and now their kids. It’s a hunting tradition and a lot of families and a lot of cultures have traditions. This is mine.Everybody has a passion for something; get it out there. Click To Tweet
I’m thrilled that I was able to get you to come to join me because isn’t this the season?
I finished elk season and my grandson is playing the 5A State of Colorado. They’re ranked in the top twenty. He’ll be making the playoffs and he’s in senior year. I told him I wouldn’t miss a game. My hunting is curtailed. I will be going to Nebraska. It’s only four hours away to where I hunt in Nebraska, but getting to Wisconsin and Minnesota, I can’t do that leaving on Sunday morning and coming back Thursday. I can’t do that. As soon as he wins the State Championship or exits the tournament, I’ll be hunting.
I’m sure he appreciates that and your whole family does. That’s definitely family comes first. Good luck to your grandson this season. I hope he does well. Colorado, that is a good central location I would think it is for hunting. I know that my sister and brother-in-law live in Colorado as well and he hunts elk. Every year, he goes in and seems every year gets an elk. The family eats that meat over the course of the whole winter season when we come out. At Christmas time, usually we all have a meal with it. It’s quite good. I don’t know anything. I’m not a hunter as you know, but I certainly respect it. Your podcast is a great lesson for anybody who is interested in a niche subject area and they wonder if it would make sense or if there’s an opportunity for a podcast around it. Are there enough people that would listen? The deer hunting market may be large. Do you know how many hunters there are in North America?
We’re running around fifteen million. It’s $37 billion industry. It’s a niche industry and we’re trending about 1,000 downloads a day at present and that will ramp up. I’ll be going to ATA, the Archery Trade Association, and a number of deer classics throughout the west because I’m on the quest for sponsorship. There’s no question about it.
You are getting some sponsorship already. Your podcast is monetized, that’s another thing people need to understand. 1,000 downloads a day, we all would love to have 10,000 downloads a day and more but 1,000 downloads a day, that’s significant. That’s nothing to sneeze at. That’s a very good foundation, roughly 30,000 a month or so. That’s fantastic by most measures of a podcast. There are a lot of people that they would think of themselves as being successful podcasters with much fewer downloads than that per day. They would be right, I’m not discounting that but people have different reasons. Some people, it’s about the guests that they meet and not about the number of downloads. When you are monetizing, the downloads are important.
There’s no question about that. Thank you for acknowledging that. I would add to our audience that it’s not easy. You have to find a niche and you have to build relationships. I’ve talked to a number of people in the outdoor industry and they say, “Bruce, to a man and to a woman, Realtree gets a gazillion requests for sponsorships a day.” You have to build relationships and that’s what I’m doing. I know the deer hunting manager for Realtree and we’re developing a relationship. Bob and I have been at this for a few years and we are reaching not quite the tipping point. My tipping point’s going to be someplace north of 2,500 a day. I’m going to be the featured podcast at the Iowa Deer Classic. That gets up to 20,000 people over the weekend. I’m the featured podcaster. There’ll be Bruce with his cowboy hat on and walking around and doing podcasts with people who are there, with the speakers, with the people who attend. I’m starting to get notoriety where people say, “How much are you going to charge me?” I said, “Nothing. I want the content.” I have probably more content in the whitetail world than anybody. There are some great podcasts out there and some great guys and gals that are running the podcast, but I’ll put my content against anybody in a few years. It’s over 500 and the last one I put up was 557. The average words are 6,000. 550 times 6,000 words, that’s over three million worth of whitetail content.
This is very important for a couple of different reasons, especially new podcasters might think, “How can I talk about this subject for 50 episodes, let alone 500 episodes?” They doubt that there is enough to talk about in their field. I would argue, “No, you can break down any niche subject area into a tremendous volume of subjects to discuss.” You’ve proven that with whitetail hunting. People don’t understand also the power of that written content. Those 6,000 words per episode converted into a written form on your website is such an incredible tool for marketing your business and reaching more people. People don’t realize that podcasting is a wonderful thing. Podcast audiences are valuable. They respond to you. They think they know you and they do because you’re being real on your podcast. You are who you are. You’re not acting. The reality is people do get to know you. You’re going to go to this event. You’re going to record live on location with people?
I’ll be at ATA as press. I have my press credentials through the Professional Outdoor Media Association. I’m an accredited press person. ATA is the largest Archery Trade Association show. We’re talking thousands of people come to that in the outdoor business. One, manufacturers. Two, TV personalities. Three, personalities. Four, niche companies. I’ll give a shout-out for Brian and Mariah Hardy of Hardy FacePaint. I helped him get started way back. He’s doing very successfully now. He’s mainstream. He’s in Walmart. He’s in stores. He got to go to ATA as an emerging company. ATA caters to the people in the industry. Those people starting out at ATA and then you have the Mossy Oaks and Realtrees and the Jim Shockeys of the world and Lee & Tiffany. You have people that are known people that command a show fee, an acceptance fee to be there. That’s how big the industry is.
Here’s what I would say to any podcaster. Let’s say we’re quilters. If you’re a quilter, you have to go to your national convention for quilters and be there and make a connection and say, “I’m a quilter and I have a podcast. I’d like to talk to other quilters.” Be forthright with everybody, not going there to find sponsors. Forget about that. I mean that sincerely. Bob and I did that a couple of years ago. I had a lot of recognition, but I had no credibility because they know you just started, “You’ve got a couple of hundred, a couple of thousand podcast. Who are you? We don’t know who you are?” When I go back this time, everybody knows who I am. They know who I am whether or not they’re going to do business with me, but I can start building relationships and go to Tom Hazzard and say, “Tom, I’d like to talk to you after the show but in the meantime, how can I help you promote your company here at ATA?” You pull up the Zoom and you pull up all the technology stuff. Five minutes, ten minutes, you’ve got them an infomercial. You take all those and pull them together and throw out an hour’s worth.
An hour would be six people and you have six companies and you flood the market after ATA with all those people. What’s a guy from Realtree going to say? “He did that for nothing. Maybe there’s something to it and we got some hits. We got some recognition. We got some backlink.” All the stuff you do and all of a sudden you become not just somebody with your hand out looking for money. You become an authoritative figure. You have credibility. You have all the things you want in the business to sustain a business. I can do this because I like to talk. I can do this until I can’t talk anymore. Age isn’t a factor. If you think you’re too old, wrong. Call me at 719-640-0175 or email me at WhitetailRendezvous@Gmail.com. If you’re over 60 and haven’t started a podcast because you’re scared, call me.Hunting is misunderstood. Click To Tweet
Age does not matter. If you look at the Nielsen podcast statistics that came out the third quarter, you’re going to see that the biggest part of the bell curve of listeners are younger than Baby Boomer age people. There is still a large market of listeners. You have 1,000 downloads a day and you’re putting out four or five episodes a week in general. Is that what you’re doing?
I’m down to one to two. In hunting season I’m down to one.
One episode a week, 1,000 downloads a day.
That just started, that’s the first time. When we started, I was doing six episodes a week for the first year. I went to five, then I went to three, then I went to two.
You’re giving another valuable lesson to potential podcasters out there. It’s a great nugget because when you’re launching a new podcast, and we’re going to be talking to a couple of people on this marathon, we’ve got 24 people lined up and a few of them are new podcasters. They’ve just launched or are going to launch within a couple of weeks. Some of them are doing this strategy like their banking up 25 episodes and launching with that and they’re going to do one per weekday for the first few months to build up that audience quickly. That’s one good known strategy that works well, which you’ve done that. I did that with my first podcast that has 540 episodes. I used to do five a week in the beginning and now I’m down to one or two a week, depending.
Here’s the secret to Whitetail Rendezvous if somebody wants to ask me what’s secret. When Bob and I met in 2015, he said, “You’re going to do a podcast,” and Bob Roark is my silent partner. Basically, he’s been my sponsor for the whole time. Bob has his Business Leader Podcast. The deal was he says, “I want you to get 100 interviews in 100 days.” I had to go to his office because he’s written some large track. I’ve got $1,000 in this but he’s been my sponsor. I went to his office every day at 7:30 in the morning and in 98 days, I had 100 episodes in the can. I’ll do an episode and then I was editing them because I do my own work. I don’t have a VA yet. I will soon. We will have a VA and Bob has a VA for his. You’re doing all his work, aren’t you, Tom?
We produce his show.
Tom does a good job at that. Bob wanted to see if I had what was counted. I did something unique. I don’t think anybody in the industry has ever done this. If you have, let me know. I had 100 episodes when we launched on August 31st, 2015. We had the whole year booked before we even started. It was hard. I wanted to quit so many times. I was in the ditch so many times. I’m 72 years old and technology, I know how to start a computer but all the stuff I had to learn, forget it. If somebody said, “I want to know exactly how you did it.” You would have to pay me thousands of dollars to do that. Either I give it away or I charge you thousands of dollars.
You did it the hard way and recording 100 in the can before you launch is unusual. Is that correct they were all before you released any? Did you record 100?
I had to do 100 interviews. I had to have on Skype and Pamela. I had 100 interviews recorded.
Did you record all of them before you launched on iTunes?
That was the deal with Bob. I had 100 days to get 100 interviews and then we had them in the can. I had to edit them because I wasn’t going to work 24 hours a day. I could go a year and then we doubled up. I got into my second year, that’s how I carried it forward in my second year and then the third year was a dream and now it’s easy.
When you dive in headfirst as you did, you’re going to figure it out. It’s still time-consuming but you know what you’re doing. That’s the point of sponsorship and eventually, you’re just going to do the fun part” record, upload, and you’ll be done. You won’t have to edit it. The point here that I was going to try to make and ask you about is because you recorded 100 interviews and edited them after that and you didn’t launch your show until after that.
We launched on August 31st, 2015. I had 100 episodes in the can and then I wasn’t doing any more episodes. I was editing shows every single day.
You put in a lot more work than most do. Before you launched on iTunes and before they have any positive reinforcement from an audience who’s listening, that’s a very difficult thing to do. I would not recommend that for most people. It worked for you, for whatever reason you and Bob decided that’s how you were going to do it. You’re still here now. I tend to not second guess looking back like that, but that’s a tremendous story that I didn’t know about you until now and the genesis of your podcast. Thank you for sharing that.
I don’t recommend doing that.Every podcast you give is a building block. It becomes the foundation of your industry, your career, or whatever your dream or goal is. Click To Tweet
The most that we tell people if they want to know what is the best strategy, it’s to record 25 and launch with 25. You can either launch with 25 all at once or you can launch one per day as you launch the show and you have 25 already done. You don’t have to do 100 episodes in 100 days. I record about somewhere between 24 and 36 episodes a month because I have three different podcasts that I’m a host on. I do that all in two days a month. We have people schedule like you and 24 other people scheduled to be on this show with me. We scheduled not usually that many in a day. Usually, it’s four, five or six.
The most I did was ten.
Ten in a day, it’s a lot and you need to be prepared. I am prepared. I have all of my schedule and my notes of everybody that I’m interviewing. You can’t batch it is the point. What I want people to understand is you do not have to be a slave to this every day. Most people have a business or a day job that they have to work in to make money and the podcast is not their direct source of income. Hopefully, it ends up paying for itself or it provides other value of lead generation or something else for your business. It’s generally not the thing paying the bills. You can’t spend that much time on it for most people.
Be consistent. Here’s one thing I’ve learned in my study and talking to hundreds of other podcasters in the business. If you start off at six a week, and that’s why we went six a week for a year, then we ratchet it back. One, I couldn’t keep up that pace. There’s no way I could do that. The lesson learned is consistent to every single week have new content out there. Don’t do three one week, two another week, one another week, none the next week and come back for three the next week. Don’t do that because your listeners don’t like that. You want to have fresh content up there. I listened to Stephanie and your comment to her was, “Remember, 001 Bruce Hutcheon presents Whitetail Rendezvous lives forever.” If you want to google Bruce Hutcheon Whitetail Rendezvous, my podcast that was an August 31st, 2015 is going to live forever. Every podcast you give is a building block. It becomes the foundation of your industry, your career, whatever your dream, your goal is. It’s there forever. It’s evergreen and it’s never dated. Why? It’s because it’s tips, techniques and strategies, how do I, why do I, what do you think about this or anything in your genre. That is valuable content forever.
It is valuable content and as a podcast and as a blog post, that’s certainly the way that all of yours are converted into these 6,000-ish word blog posts. That’s the incredibly valuable thing is that people will continue to google those keywords for years and years and your posts will come up and even new keywords will come up. People will misspell certain keywords and those will end up being associated with your blog posts. It’s all the podcast, the blog posts, all the social media assets. It all serves you and it will continue to serve you for years to come for sure. If anybody says they don’t want to be the guest on your first or your first ten or even twenty episodes, they don’t understand the power of podcasting.
If they tell you no, that’s okay because I haven’t had a lot of A-listers. That’s okay. I’m good with that because I’m not anything special. I think highly of myself.
Here’s the thing. You are without a doubt a subject matter expert in whitetail deer hunting. You are the authority and the conduit to thousands and thousands of listeners every month who come to hear about what the latest issues, tips, techniques are from you. You have become the authority. Maybe nobody knew who you were in August of 2015 or more people didn’t know, but they do know now. You were always an expert because you’ve been doing this for 50 some odd years, but the world didn’t know you were. A larger audience didn’t know you were. They do now because of your podcast. That is fantastic. It opens doors. Even though you’re building relationships with some of these potential sponsors, initially they didn’t know who you are. Believe me, once they start looking you up and they’re seeing all the content you create and see how consistent you are, they’re going to come back. They’re going to sponsor your show. It’s a matter of time. I’m confident and I’m very excited for you for the future.
Thank you, Tom Hazzard.
You’re welcome. Thank you for joining me, Bruce. I do appreciate it. Are there any final words you’d like to say?
Podetize is part of our strategy. It’s part of our business plan. Thank you, Tom, Tracy and Alexandra. Folks, become a podcaster.
Thank you so much, Bruce.
- Whitetail Rendezvous Podcast
- Business Leader Podcast
- Archery Trade Association
About Bruce Hutcheon
I retired about four years ago and began spending more and more days hunting whitetails. I quickly realized that while traveling cross county to the Midwest from my home in Colorado I had hours of windshield time to get Whitetail smart. How the heck was I going to connect to audio information?
Answer, podcasts off my smartphone. Quickly I realized that while there were some good whitetail focused podcasts out there I just was not getting the info I wanted. Returning from last fall’s hunts I spent time listening to many different podcast forums and gained a lot of knowledge about podcasts.
I sure had a lot to learn about the how, what, why and when of producing value based content on a consistent basis for those with a passion for Whitetails. I knew that if I wanted to great focused information, useful strategies, new techniques and ideas on how it’s done right so would thousands of others.
The work really began when my good friend, Bob Roark said he was interested in the project and wanted to help bring it to life. Phew, was I glad about that for hundreds of reasons. He helped me develop the foundation of Whitetail Rendezvous.
From an idea the project morphed into a passion to a build whitetail community that shares “great stuff” with guys & gals just like you.