‘Fashionable Knowledge’ Is a Media Sensation


Chris Williamson is a modern-day polymath with a becoming podcast. It’s known as “Fashionable Knowledge.” Launched in 2018, it’s skilled a whopping 30 million downloads throughout 400 episodes.

He instructed me, “We discuss human nature, advertising, philosophy, life, life hacks, biohacking, health, well being, just about every little thing.”

The podcast seems on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, amongst different portals. He’s on main social channels, and he’s began an e-mail publication.

“Fashionable Knowledge” is a media sensation, in different phrases. In our current dialog, he and I mentioned the challenges of continuous content material manufacturing, development techniques, and extra.

Our total audio dialogue is embedded under. The following transcript is edited for size and readability.

Eric Bandholz: It’s all the time enjoyable speaking with different podcasters. Inform us about your present.

Chris Williamson: I run “Fashionable Knowledge,” a podcast from the U.Okay. with roughly 400 episodes so far. I’ve interviewed distinguished visitors akin to authors Ryan Holliday, James Clear, and Seth Godin. We discuss human nature, advertising, philosophy, life, life hacks, biohacking, health, well being, just about every little thing.

I’m additionally a membership promoter by commerce. I’ve spent a lot time filling nightclubs with younger guys and ladies within the U.Okay. who wish to exit and get drunk. And that’s given me an attention-grabbing overview of how advertising works, particularly with model constructing. That’s actually what retailers are competing on.

It might sound unusual going from membership promotions to a podcast. There’s a connection, nonetheless.

Bandholz: Why podcasts?

Williamson: I loved guesting on podcasts. One of the simplest ways to do extra is to have my very own present. It’s much like people who convert avocations into occupations. Somebody as soon as gave me good recommendation for what to do in life. He stated, “Take into consideration what your pals ask you to do. In the event that they ask in your assist in relationships, possibly you’re relationship coach. If it’s enterprise wants, then maybe you’re a enterprise coach.”

I really like having conversations. So I made a decision to begin the podcast. It’s been three and a half years, 400 episodes, 30 million downloads — I’m not slowing down.

I’m doing three episodes per week now. I initially did one per week.

Bandholz: How do you line up three folks per week?

Williamson: I e book my visitors about two months prematurely. I can see the place I’ve obtained gaps. The extra distinguished the visitor, the more durable to nail down.

The worst-case situation is when visitors reschedule on the final minute or don’t present up.

One concern I had with growing the frequency is that it could unfold the identical variety of performs over extra episodes — extra work for a similar publicity. Thankfully, my viewers listens to every installment for probably the most half.

I’ve obtained advertisers on the present. The extra episodes, the extra advert stock. And with extra listeners, I can get away with going from one advert per present to 3, max. I’m not a fan of mid-roll advertisements.

When it comes to earnings, I can now rent an assistant. My video man can spend extra time on the mission as a result of he’s higher remunerated. We’ve obtained a man taking care of social. So I’m slowly constructing the group.

Bandholz: How do you develop a podcast?

Williamson: YouTube is incredible for development. Any podcaster that isn’t utilizing YouTube is lacking out. It’s tough to develop an audio platform alone as a result of there’s no “up subsequent” auto-play. There’s nothing trending. There aren’t any advised podcasts.

One of the simplest ways I’ve discovered to develop the audio performs is by crushing YouTube. We concentrate on it. It’s the extensive finish of our acquisition funnel.

That stated, hyperlink to the audio once you tag a visitor on-line. One play on audio is price about 100 on YouTube. The identical goes for subscribers. We’ve obtained a few quarter of one million subscribers on YouTube. That many on audio can be unbelievable. So it’s a matter of discovering new listeners and filtering them right down to audio listeners.

If I uncover a brand new podcast on YouTube, I’ll subscribe on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. I’m not going to look at each one among them, however I would pay attention.

Bandholz: Are you producing your episodes with YouTube in thoughts?

Williamson: They’re optimized for each — video and audio. We’ve stepped up the standard on YouTube over the previous 18 months. I’m filming on a beautiful DSLR digital camera. We’ve obtained a compelling intro and outro. We’re making use of finish playing cards and tags. We rebranded and redesigned the thumbnails. We did that for YouTube, however we additionally get good audio episodes.

Our development on YouTube is only natural, I ought to add.

Bandholz: So it’s full episodes on YouTube after which clip them for audio.

Williamson: Sure. Watching an hour and a half dialog is a big dedication. Listening to shorter clips is way simpler. If the clip is attention-grabbing, they could watch the complete episode.

Plus, repurposing from the principle podcast video into clips with totally different codecs works nicely. It’s the identical viewers that’s following on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. In case your group understands the edit, your voice, and what you need, the entire thing turns into an limitless flywheel of content material. Report your long-form piece and cut up it up for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, no matter.

It’s an infinite content material engine. A visitor as soon as used the proper analogy. He stated, “It’s such as you write a e book and promote it by the sentence.” So no matter model you’re, produce long-form and even medium-form content material after which divvy it up.

Bandholz: Who decides find out how to clip the content material from the grasp model?

Williamson: The social media group can do no matter they need. We have now a full-time advisor who understands my messaging. He listens to the present, which, by the way, is a aggressive benefit. In the event that they hearken to it as a result of they wish to, your workers is motivated and aligned. So the social group has full autonomy. Nevertheless, I determine the essential YouTube stuff — tags, titles, thumbnails.

I’m all for outsourcing duties. However you possibly can take that too far. There’s a purpose I’m saying sure issues and addressing particular subjects. My group wants to grasp the important factors and function. In any other case, it’s on me to get it proper.

Each time I’ve seen content material producers solely outsource the essential selections, their channel underperforms and turns into soulless. It’s apparent that it’s not coming from the creator.

Bandholz: Is your income solely promoting? Any ecommerce?

Williamson: No ecommerce. Promoting pays the payments. I a lot favor rising income by means of extra performs. One of many largest issues that we did over the past 18 months was launch a weekly e-mail publication, which I really like. We’re as much as about 25,000 subscribers with an open fee of about 40%.

The publication is named “3 Minute Monday.” It’s an perception into one thing I’ve been pondering. Plus, there’s a life hack in every concern.

Bandholz: What do you visualize your life being?  After you’ve reached a nirvana enterprise, what’s subsequent?

Williamson: I wish to concentrate on conversations with folks. There’s not a lot in my life now that I’d eliminate. I like what I do. I like doing the analysis, for example.

My two longtime enterprise companions — one for nightclubs and my video man for Fashionable Knowledge — are each associates. They have been associates that grew to become enterprise companions. I do know that that’s fraught with hazard, however I’ve managed to get fortunate.

Bandholz: The place can folks study extra about you?

Williamson: Fashionable Knowledge is on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever else you pay attention. We’ve mentioned my YouTube and Instagram channels. Plus, I’m on Twitter. I’ve revealed on my web site a free checklist of 100 books — fiction and nonfiction — which have influenced my considering.


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