Hala Taha: Start, Grow, and Monetize a Podcast | Social Proof

Hala Taha: Start, Grow, and Monetize a Podcast | Social Proof

Hala Taha: Start, Grow, and Monetize a Podcast | Social Proof

Even in her lower-performing months, Hala Taha consistently ranks as a top Apple podcast. How does she do it? In this episode of the Social Proof podcast, Hala talks to David Shands about her top tips for starting, growing, and monetizing a podcast. She also explains the marketing strategy that helped her grow Young and Profiting into the massively successful podcast it is today.

David Shands is an author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and business coach. In a few short years, his “Sleep is 4 Suckers” concept has evolved from selling t-shirts out of the back seat of his car to selling his message on apparel across the globe. He is now the host of the successful entrepreneurial podcast, The Social Proof Podcast. He is especially focused on helping entrepreneurs launch their own podcasts.


In this episode, Hala and David will discuss:

– How Hala consistently ranks as a top podcast

– Hala’s game-changing DM strategy

– Where should you advertise your podcast?

– How to approach potential podcast sponsors

– The most effective podcast marketing strategy

– How Hala started her career in the entertainment industry

– Should you start a podcast?

– YAP Media Network’s scrappy business model

– What it takes to be a top podcaster

– And other topics…


David Shands is an author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and business coach. David worked in various customer-oriented industries by day while building his own apparel business by night. In a few short years, his “Sleep is 4 Suckers” concept has evolved from selling t-shirts out of the back seat of his car to selling his message on apparel across the globe. He is now the host of the successful entrepreneurial podcast, The Social Proof Podcast. He is especially focused on helping entrepreneurs launch their own podcasts.


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More About Young and Profiting

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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: Hello, my young and profiting family, I know you all love tuning into yap each and every week. But have you ever thought about starting your own podcast? If so, today's episode is going to show you how. We're replaying my interview with David Shands on the social proof podcast. David is an entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, and a business coach.

He also launched and hosted the podcast summit in Miami last year, which was an awesome podcaster event and I had the honor of speaking there. And some of you may remember that I interviewed David on Yap in December of 2023. We had a great conversation about his come up story as an entrepreneur and how he built such a huge online community around his brand.

And my appearance on David's podcast was one of my favorite guest appearances of 2023. I actually flew down to Atlanta. We did it in person. It was an awesome, natural conversation. And nowadays when I go on podcasts, I'm always talking about LinkedIn. Everybody wants to know about my LinkedIn masterclass because it's a top course.

Not that I'm biased or anything. This time around, David really focused on podcasting, probably selfishly because he has a podcast and he asked me some really hard questions. I'm He asked me how I rank my podcasts on Apple. He asked me about my marketing strategy, how I get my subscribers. And then also we really broke down monetization, how I monetize my network, 360 degree sponsorship campaigns.

And just my philosophy on monetization and sponsorships overall, because honestly, I've learned so much over the last two years. I launched a podcast network where it's my job to grow and monetize some really heavy hitting shows like Jenna Kutcher's Gold Digger, Amy Porterfield's Online Marketing Made Easy.

And John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneurs on Fire. I've got some of the biggest shows in my network and it's my responsibility to sell their shows. So if you want to learn about marketing a podcast, growing a podcast, ranking a podcast, and so much more, this episode is definitely for you, whether you're a podcast newbie or an advanced podcaster.

All right, without further ado, here's my interview with David Shands on the Social Proof Podcast.


[00:02:25] Hala Taha: 

[00:02:25] David Shands: Welcome to another edition of the Social Proof Podcast. We find amazing people that do amazing things. Today's no different. I'm really excited about this conversation because I am, uh, I am extremely interested in this podcasting space.

I'm really Like deep into the broadcasting space. And, um, you've been doing some amazing things in this space. So today we have Hala 

[00:02:47] Hala Taha: Taha. Thank you for having me on. I'm excited for the conversation. 

[00:02:51] David Shands: All right, so I want to know, in this podcast, first off, this is the first thing I want to know. How are you at the top of the business charts? Every day, every week, every month, all year, like, how, how are you doing this?

This is crazy. 

[00:03:06] Hala Taha: Straight to the, straight to the heart of the question. Let's get straight into it. Um, well, here's the thing, Apple podcast charts are trending charts, so you have to understand the algorithm, and if you understand the algorithm, you'll understand how to rank at the top of the charts. Are we going to talk about that today?

I can't give you all the secrets to that, but basically you have to, you have to make sure that you're getting a lot of people subscribing to your show. Uh, it's not really about how big your show or how many downloads. It's about how many subscribers you're getting on a daily basis. 

[00:03:34] David Shands: It's about how many subscribers you're getting on a daily basis.

But is it, it's, it's measured with, uh, uh, listening duration as well, right? It's like a whole 

[00:03:43] Hala Taha: algorithm. It's a whole algorithm, but it's primarily based on how many daily users are subscribing to your show on a daily basis. So basically I have my team, I have an army of VAs that are DMing people constantly to try to get new subscribers every single day.

Uh, if we're able to get new subscribers every day, we stay at the top of the charts. It doesn't matter if I had a slow month and didn't get a lot of downloads, it matters how many new subscribers you're getting every day. 

[00:04:08] David Shands: You have a team of VAs that are reaching out to people and saying, Hey, subscribe 

[00:04:13] Hala Taha: to this channel.

Yeah. we're proactively just recruiting new listeners that way, uh, 24 hours a day. What's 

[00:04:21] David Shands: some of the things that you're telling them to say? 

[00:04:24] Hala Taha: So, we'll, we'll target, for example, small business owners or entrepreneurs, we'll say, Hey, what's up? Nice to meet you. My name's Hala. I have a number one entrepreneurship show.

I've had Alex Fimozion, Greg Cardone, Damon John, uh, you're going to love this show. Here's the link to check it out. And we follow up, Hey, did you take a listen? Did you listen? They'll say, you know, I loved it. I subscribed. if they give me good feedback, then I'm like, Hey, can you copy and paste this as an Apple podcast review?

So then you get the social proof, which then helps with people finding you on Apple and then subscribing on their own accord as well. 

[00:04:55] David Shands: How many, how many people a day do you think you're reaching out to? 

[00:05:01] Hala Taha: Probably like 2, 000 at least. No, 

[00:05:03] David Shands: what? 2, 000 people a day? 

[00:05:05] Hala Taha: Mm hmm. And that's, that's just, you know, who we're proactively reaching out to.

And there's other things that we're doing as well. We're doing media buys on other podcasts, media buys on different podcast players. So there's like lots of different tactics. I'm guesting on shows like this all the time to try to get new subscribers. DMing strategy where we're proactively just getting new people every single day.

Because it's not enough to just get people to listen and keep listening, you've got to get new people every day. Oh my 

[00:05:33] David Shands: gosh, I would have never thought of that. How'd you come up with this strategy? I 

[00:05:38] Hala Taha: was just studying what worked and when I ranked, why did I rank and what happened and then I realized that's what you need to do so now I do it for me and all my clients.


[00:05:48] David Shands: The VAs, um, obviously they write good English, I would imagine. Mm hmm. what's the training process for 

[00:05:56] Hala Taha: them? Well, so I primarily do this on LinkedIn, first of all. Um, LinkedIn is a platform. Oh, so you do more of the DMs on LinkedIn? We do it on Instagram and LinkedIn, but primarily LinkedIn because then we can get really targeted and we can actually search for the right people.

So I can find anybody who has entrepreneur in their title and then target them that way. Or let's say I'm interviewing Chris Voss and he's the number one negotiation expert. Anybody who may be interested in that, I'll reach out to them based on what's in their title or if I have Grant Cardone on. I'll message all the real estate people, Hey, I just had Grant Cardone on.

And so, like, I'll target people so that they're more likely to be interested and not consider it spam because I'm like, Hey, you look like you might be interested in this based on your title and expertise. You know, check this out. 

[00:06:41] David Shands: About how much do you pay the VAs? 

[00:06:43] Hala Taha: It's not expensive at all. probably like for a full time person, it's like 500 bucks a month, 600 bucks a month.

[00:06:49] David Shands: And all day, they're reaching out to 

[00:06:50] Hala Taha: people. And I have got like shifts, right? So it's just. It's 24 hours a day. Oh my God. 

[00:07:00] David Shands: Yo, we need some VAs. This is insane. Oh my gosh. Okay. So, so, okay. That's cool. Being top of the charts. What does that mean? And why is somebody even wanting to go need to go through that?

Go for it. Well, 

[00:07:18] Hala Taha: because on Apple specifically, so the, the podcast industry is made up of like 70 different podcast players. So Apple's not the only game in town, but they have a huge market share. So let's say it's 20, 30 percent of all listens are coming from Apple. Plus it still is like the most famous app that everybody cares about.

So if you say, you know, I'm, I'm the number one, literally the number one podcaster on CastBox. Right? Which is like the fourth largest podcast player. And if I say that to people, people will be like, I don't care. Like what's Casblocks? Right? Like, you know, but if I say, you know, I'm top of the top 10 business on Apple, everyone's like, oh wow.

Like, you know, because it still means something to people who don't know anything about podcasts. Right? So it's good social proof to get guests and things like that. But the main thing is that it's. discoverability. It's the only way that you can actually get discovered on Apple. So if somebody is like going on like, let's say Ed Milad's show, if they scroll down, they're going to see five podcasts that show up that are ranking top of business as well.

So we'll say like similar podcasts like this, and it will be the top five shows. And if they click more, they'll see the top 20 shows. So your goal is always to be in the top 20 of your main category or subcategory so that you can actually get discovered on Apple. 

 For sure. 

[00:08:29] David Shands: But, well, okay, so, obviously discoverability, but what does that even mean? Like, okay, I want to be on the 

top of the charts. What other opportunities have you seen that come from that? 

[00:08:41] Hala Taha: Getting huge guests on your show, which then is like a flywheel effect of having a big podcast. So, for example, um, Alex Ramosi has come on my show. And Grant Cardone and Matthew McConaughey.

Why? Because I just show them, Hey, I'm ranking higher than you on the charts. Right. I'm on my show. Wow. You know what I mean? So even though, you know, I'm getting a lot of downloads, but maybe somebody like Tim Barris is getting more downloads than me. He's been doing it for ten more years than I have. But I'm ranking higher than him.

So it gives me the social proof. And he knows your 

[00:09:13] David Shands: name for sure. Mm hmm. Dang, that's crazy. Okay, um. 

[00:09:18] Hala Taha: But there's other ways to grow your show too, so happy to talk about that as 

[00:09:21] David Shands: well. Let's go. Let's talk about it. You will be talking about it at Podcast Summit. Yes. Um, yes. This is going to be good. Okay, so what are some other ways we can grow the show?

[00:09:31] Hala Taha: So one of the main ways that you can grow your show is by actually advertising in the podcast players. Okay. So when you're thinking about growing your show, the fastest way and the most cost effective way is to actually advertise in the podcast apps. Where there's already people listening to podcasts, because if you're going to be like broad on social media, especially if you're just like posting on your feed, most of the people, they're not listening to podcasts.

Like half of people on social media don't listen to podcasts at all. You want to reach people who are avid podcast listeners. This is their hobby. They're listening to like seven podcasts at a time. They're always putting new podcasts in their rotation. So you want to reach them where they are. most preferably in the app that they already listen in, right?

So you can, uh, you know, reach out to the different podcast players and they all have these different advertising opportunities where they might have like a banner ad that you can get featured on or, um, you could be incorporated in their onboarding series. So when somebody signs up for the app. based on their preferences, they'll auto subscribe to your podcast.

Then you can also work with them where they'll set up push notifications when you have new episodes or email blasts to their subscribers when you have new episodes. So usually these podcast players are less risky in terms of your investment because They'll guarantee subscribers. They'll guarantee a certain amount of downloads.

And so if you do that consistently, that really works. And they're real listeners. Uh, when, when you're a big podcast, you need to make sure you have real listeners, because if you have sponsors, they need to be clicking and buying so that you can keep getting sponsors. Right? Absolutely. So that's one way.

And then the other way is collaborating with other podcasts. So that's, uh, buying commercials on other podcasts and doing guest swaps. So those are like the main ways. 

[00:11:10] David Shands: Gotcha, gotcha. in terms of the guests, not guest swaps, but buying advertisements in other podcasts, you're asking them to say, hey, go watch, go listen to Young and Profitable, listen to Social Proof.

And you're having the guests do the 

[00:11:26] Hala Taha: read. Yeah, so you're going to write talk points. And give them talk points so that they can do a host read ad the same way they would do an ad for like HelloFresh. They would do it for your podcast. But the cool thing about it is you can actually track the success. So what you'd want to do is actually test multiple shows at a time.

So like a lot of big podcasters like Jordan Harbinger, for example, he's one of my mentors. Um, he does this on a monthly basis where he's just testing. Yeah, he tests like a bunch of shows. And you track it on Chartable, and you can actually see who went and downloaded your show from that podcast, and you can get the conversion rate, so you can see how many impressions that, uh, commercial had.

Then you can actually see how many people went and downloaded your podcast afterwards. And then there's certain podcasts that will convert super high, and you just keep buying on them. Gotcha, 

[00:12:14] David Shands: gotcha, okay, okay. Your, are you more focused on your podcast? Are you focused on your, like growing your podcast or helping your network or do you do them both simultaneously?

[00:12:26] Hala Taha: I'm just doing both at the same time because the more money I make with my network, the more I have to invest in my own show. Explain that. As I make more money with my company, with my network, it costs money to grow a huge show. So as I do that. Does it? Most of the time, some people get lucky, you know, some people have really great keywords in their name and they have zero social following and they don't try hard at all and somehow they become big podcasters or like now a lot of TikTok influencers with millions of followers on TikTok are leveraging that to become popular podcasters, but, you know, I found that One way to get it is just to, you know, get ads and know what you're doing and pay for it and grow your show.

[00:13:08] David Shands: Gotcha. So you've been podcasting for five years. Yeah. Your first year in podcasting, did you make any money? No. 

[00:13:15] Hala Taha: Second year? No. Third year? Yeah. Okay. Where was that, where'd that first dollar come from? It was like two years into it, I started making money. Um, I actually first started monetizing my brand through my social agency.

So what happened was is I had, I had about 20 volunteers who worked for free for me for two years. I was the biggest podcaster on LinkedIn. That's where everybody knew me. I was like bigger than Lewis Howes on LinkedIn, bigger than Ed Milet on LinkedIn. And so I had a lot of super fans on that platform specifically.

And they would always reach out to me like I love your mission, you changed my life, how can I help you? And I knew everything about marketing. So I would teach like one guy how to do videos, one guy how to do audio, one guy how to do my website. And I would just teach all these interns. And so, two years into it I had like a Slack channel with 20 interns around the world.

In the U. S. too, just working for free for me. And I was working corporate at the time. And my podcast was just a side hustle. 

[00:14:08] David Shands: Hold on, whoa, hold on. You have a job and you have a, you have 20. You got 20 people to work for free for you. For two years. For two years, while I used to have a job. While I still had a job.

[00:14:21] Hala Taha: What were you saying to these people? Uh, they were just obsessed with the mission and I was teaching them a lot. I would teach them how to, like I said, video edit, how to copyright, how to blow up on social media. And it was exciting. We were getting huge guests from the start. So it's like, I had a big podcast, but I just hadn't figured out how to get sponsorships yet or do any of that.

I was still growing, you know, and I was already getting known as like the podcast princess and all this kind of stuff. But. We were still growing. So my big break was basically all these guests that would come on my show. They were authors, celebrities. They'd always be like, Holla, how'd you grow your LinkedIn?

Can you do it for me? Hala, how'd you grow your podcast? Can you do this for me? And I'd be like, no, you know, I've got a job at Disney. I'm doing great. Like, I'm sorry. I just have a volunteer team. They work for free. And then finally, uh, do you know who Heather Monahan is? No. She's this big influencer on LinkedIn and a podcaster.

She wouldn't leave me alone. She just was like stalking me on LinkedIn, commenting on all my videos. And she's like, Hala, I need you to do my social. I need you to do my podcast. And so I was like, I can't do it for you, but I'll train you. And so I started scheduling meetings with her on Saturdays, trying to teach her how to video edit and do all this stuff.

And she's like, Hala, I just like had a meeting with VaynerMedia. I have a budget that I can give them, but I want to give it to you. You're better than them. I know you have a company, like just start paying your interns and let's do this. I want to be your first client. Like you've got to do this. So I did it.

And then my second client was like a billionaire, 30, 000 a month retainer. And then it just like everything skyrocketed. I got like Kara Golden from Hint Water. I got the CEO of 1 800 GOT JUNK. And I just started running all these big CEOs social media and started making money. And then I figured out how to take that money that I made and then really grow my show.

[00:16:02] Hala Taha: outside of your network and, you know, your agency and all that kind of stuff, strictly from your podcast, what do you think you bring in for your podcast monthly? 

60, 000 at 

[00:16:20] David Shands: least. About 60 a month at least. Just from podcasts, ads.

Sponsorships. Sponsorships. And how do we approach these sponsors? 

[00:16:30] Hala Taha: So, this is a great question. It's, uh, there's lots of different layers in the podcast industry. So, one of the ways that you do it is, uh, first of all, in order to be eligible, you really need to have like a hundred thousand downloads a month.

Without that, uh, and it can be a simulcast too, it can be audio and YouTube. But you really need a hundred thousand downloads a month. Then you can submit yourself to all these different agencies that work with big brands. And there's podcast specific agencies, so there's like Veritone One, there's Advertise Cast, Gumball.

uh, there's so many different ones, Oxford road, right? So there's like maybe 30 different podcast agencies and you submit. yourself too. So for me as a network, I'm submitting all my podcasters. And the more impressions that you have, the more power that you have because these brands, they don't want to work with every single little podcast.

They want to work with big networks so they can just do like one, you know, order. And so that's what you do. You primarily work with the agencies. And then the other way is just direct. You reach out to brands, you pitch them. You find the partnership lead, uh, and so on. Got you. 

[00:17:33] David Shands: And you have how many shows on your network?

Like 25. have 25 shows on your network. And what does that pool of 25 represent in terms of monthly downloads? 

[00:17:44] Hala Taha: Um, probably like 15 million, 20 million.

[00:17:52] David Shands: Yeah, y'all are absolutely crushing it. So you're going to these sponsors saying, Hey, I have 15, 20 million downloads that I represent. Give me money and I'll distribute them amongst 

[00:18:03] Hala Taha: these. Well, my podcast network is different because we're not just focused on audio ads because I started with a social media agency.

So I'm monetizing my influencers across all their channels. So I'm monetizing their audio, their YouTube, their social. We're doing branded content. We're doing CEO interviews and stuff like that. So we do 360 campaigns. A lot of it is ads. Yeah. But we're doing like full circle. And then we're kind of getting out of CPMs, which in the podcast world.

Typically like CPMs, which is how much they pay per a thousand downloads, we're getting like 200 CPMs because we're doing these social creative sponsorships. 

[00:18:41] David Shands: So let me say, let me ask this, the 15 to 20 million, that's including not just download, but video and like 

[00:18:49] Hala Taha: your whole, that's just the audio and simulcast, like audio and, and YouTube.

Okay, I got you. I got you. Yeah. 

[00:18:56] David Shands: Audio and 

[00:18:56] Hala Taha: YouTube. Yeah. And then all my influencers typically, you know, if you've got a big podcast, you typically have like a big Instagram or a big LinkedIn or there's some other platform that we can monetize. Right. 

[00:19:05] David Shands: But that, but initial number is just audio and YouTube.

Correct? Pretty much. Okay. Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. So, um, all of your, all of your podcasters, I guess they all didn't come in doing great. Mm-Hmm. , right? Some of 'em just started. Yeah. And you help them grow 

[00:19:24] Hala Taha: it? Yeah. So, a lot of the times, uh, sometimes I get, like, business influencers who are really, let's say, really great Instagrams or Wall Street Journal best selling authors or, like, New York Times best selling authors.

They've got money and they've got a great show, but it, let's say, has, like, 40, 000 downloads. And I'm like, okay, we need to get you to, like, 200, 000 downloads so you can actually make money per commercial and this is worth it for everyone. So, then I put them on a plan. I, I rank their show. I grow their show.

Every month and then we get them there and then they join my network so I can kind of take them Uh from not being eligible to being eligible. 

[00:19:57] David Shands: Oh, so before they join your network you help 

[00:19:59] Hala Taha: them grow It's like a requirement. I can't take you unless you have a hundred thousand downloads. Got it, but I can get them 

[00:20:04] David Shands: there Gotcha.

Are you always recruiting or like do you ever get in a freeze where okay? I have enough let me work with 

[00:20:10] Hala Taha: the network I'm always recruiting for the agency now I'm like frozen because it's like I want to concentrate on the network, you know 

[00:20:16] David Shands: Gotcha. So let me ask you, let's say, for instance, somebody has 200, 000 downloads, and they're on your network.

Mm hmm. Are you giving them some sort of range of, you'll probably make about this 

[00:20:26] Hala Taha: amount of money? Yeah, there's calculators, uh, where we can basically say, like, okay, if we sell out your show. Uh, and we can do five ads per show and we sell it at a 30 CPM, you can get, you know, X amount of money. So I think like, you know, if I can just ballpark it, somebody who has 200, 000 would probably make like 15, 000 a month, net.

So after everything, and that's on the audio ad side alone, that's not if we've got like an interview for them or something else that's more 

[00:20:53] David Shands: lucrative. So when you say got an interview for them, what do you mean? 

[00:20:57] Hala Taha: So a lot of podcasters and this is like sort of a little known thing, but it's, it's becoming a big trend.

People are paying to come on podcasts. 

[00:21:05] David Shands: Here's my question. Is it 

[00:21:07] Hala Taha: illegal? No, it's not illegal. It's a 

[00:21:10] David Shands: service. Okay, but there are people that are calling that payola, like in music. So you can't pay somebody, you can't pay. to have your music played. They're calling that payola. Podcasting, it's really 

[00:21:23] Hala Taha: unregulated.

It's not the same because a podcast is a business, right? So I'm offering a service. My service is exposure. So if you wanted to come on my show, not you, but like if somebody wanted to come on my show and let's say they fit my target audience, they have something relevant to say, I won't just put anybody on my show.

And I do this very rarely, but like, it's like sometimes there's really successful people who are smart and Uh, sometimes they're my best episodes and people come and pay to be on the show. And then we'll include like audio ads afterwards for their business. I'll do social posts for them, DMs for them, and so on.

So we'll put together a little package for people to come on the show. And it's basically like brand awareness. It's another way to advertise. 

[00:22:04] David Shands: Okay. Um, what is the, what is the range that you're charging? Maybe not for your show, but just in general. Like, 

[00:22:12] Hala Taha: for, like, it, it, it just depends on the background. Or for your show.

Somebody might be watching, got a bag for you. Well, um, depending on the show, we'll charge anywhere from like 8, 000 an interview up to like 25, 000 or more. Uh, there's some huge podcasters that are charging like 80, 000 to come on their show. I don't charge that much, but, you know, I just got a deal with the Olympics where I'm interviewing three Olympians and they're paying me 60, 000.

And I would have interviewed them anyway.

[00:22:44] David Shands: Oh my gosh. Okay. Do you have, okay, do you have a group of people that are always looking to get on podcasts that are willing to pay? Or, or you don't really focus on that and if they come, they come. 

[00:22:55] Hala Taha: there's always people who are interested. You'd be so surprised. A lot of the brands that would advertise on our show, we then upsell them for some sort of creative sponsorship.

So another example, Shopify, they've been my long term sponsor for a really long time and I crushed it for them. So I interviewed their president. I'm also going to interview the CEO of three of their huge brands. And we did this like extended brand campaign with them. Another example is Constant Contact, another one of my long term sponsors.

So instead of interviewing their CEO, their CEO is not interested in that kind of stuff. I did like an email marketing webinar. And did like a creative campaign for them. So it's like, you can just like kind of upsell to do like some co created branded content with the brand. 

[00:23:37] David Shands: What's, how many downloads your, your podcast 

[00:23:39] Hala Taha: get?

Like 500, 000 a month across all channels. So it's not even like the biggest show in the world. It's just, it's lit 

[00:23:46] David Shands: though. Yeah, it's lit. The, the people that like, the people that subscribe, do you see that it. Like you have these people say, Hey, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe. Do you see that moving the needle in downloads?


[00:24:00] Hala Taha: for sure. Because podcasting is like a leaky bucket. You continually need to grow it. Because what happens is that, and you guys have probably all done this before. You listen to a podcast, you're obsessed with it for three months, and then something, some new shiny object comes along, and you leave. So it's like I continually have to be bringing people in, even to maintain the 500, 000.

And then if I really want to get And I need to invest in media buying and get like different ads on different players and really invest in it. But in terms of maintaining it, it's important for me to continually bring in new people. And then everybody listens to probably like 10, 12 episodes until they drop off.

Maybe some people listen for years, but, uh, it's more realistic to think that people are listening to like 10, 12 episodes and then moving on to the next thing. 

[00:24:44] David Shands: That makes sense. All right. So five years ago, you start your podcast. Where were you at in your life? 

[00:24:50] Hala Taha: Where you started? I was working in corporate at Hewlett Packard.

 I started my career in radio. So I used to work at Hot 97. I was Angie Martinez's assistant. Really? Yeah, for three years. Uh, so I was Is that 

[00:25:03] David Shands: Angie? Yeah! Yeah, Angie's on the wall. Do 

[00:25:08] Hala Taha: Yeah, once in a while. She, she's always like, Oh my God, look at you. Like, you know, so I was Angie. She's great. I was Angie Martinez's assistant for three years in the radio world.

You work for free. So I worked for free for her for three years on every day on her show. I dropped out of college to work for her. Wow. And, um, when I wanted a paying job. She fired me. And then I started this, uh, this website called the sorority of hip hop and that blew up and I almost got a MTV show. Um, so like I've been in this world for a long time trying it.

I didn't get the MTV show after they filmed us all summer. It was right after Jersey Shore. They got us a studio on Broadway. They must have invested like at least 200, show. And then two weeks before it was supposed to air, I was the lead of like a new show. It was gonna be the new Jersey Shore, basically.

They pulled the plug and so I got fired from hot 97 even though I was like you don't keep somebody around for three years If they suck right? It's just that I became a flight a risk because you're not supposed to have a free intern for that long Right. I didn't get the MTV show. So then I kind of got like discouraged and I was like, okay Let me just like shut everything down Like I said, I had this really popular blog site.

I had 150 girls who blogged for me In and out of this organization for three years. How you be getting these slaves, I mean. I know, yeah, I know. I'm really, I, not slaves. Like, golly. But I really, I haven't, that's one of my talents, I swear, is like getting like, I don't know how many times I've done it. Like, I've done it so many times in terms of getting like, because at Hot 97, I was like the queen of the interns too, teaching all the interns.

So from there, it's like, then I was just like, always knew that I needed interns for everything that I did, you know, so. Oh my gosh. So, um, 

[00:26:48] David Shands: yeah. I'm Well, we need interns, right? So my daughter, she's 13. So she's kind of like, she's kind of an intern, but we need some real interns. Yeah. How do you get them that you just paint a picture and say, Hey.

This is going to be amazing. You're going to be a part of it. 

[00:27:07] Hala Taha: yeah. Like when I had the sorority of hip hop, we were hosting all the cool parties. And so it was like really cool to be in my sorority of hip hop, right? Like I was the president. I was hosting parties with Funkmaster Flex. All the DJs were my really good friends.

So it was like, everybody wanted a piece of that. Like, and just wanted the exposure. They got to blog. They got to be on this popular blog. I would teach them how to blog, how to, how to use WordPress and whatever. Um, so they wanted the exposure and we were all young, so it's like they didn't, you know, they worked for either very little or nothing and we all just like had fun, right?

So what'd you learn from Angie 

[00:27:43] David Shands: over 

[00:27:43] Hala Taha: three years? Uh, she definitely instilled hard work for me. Um, my memories of Hot 97 are just like running. I was just like constantly running everywhere. you know, she would come up to me and be like, holla my nail chips. I need you to find the color of this nail immediately.

You have 20 minutes. Like, and then I'd be like running around trying to find this nail color. Yeah, it was like, sort of like, what is that show with Diddy? That like, it was making the baby. That's what it was like. That's what it was like every day. And so like, I would just do, I would babysit her kids. I would do her research.

I would, I would do everything for her. So like, uh, she definitely taught me how to hustle. Cause I wasn't doing really well in college or anything. And then I remember. When I left Hot 97 and went back to college, I was so much smarter. I was getting straight A's, like, just, like, crushing it in everything that I did.

And I think it's just because she just really, like, you know, instilled really hard work. I just, like, worked so hard at the station. And I learned how to do, I was doing commercials and all that kind of stuff. Audio editing. 

[00:28:40] David Shands: So you were in, working for Hot 97, was that before or after college? 

[00:28:45] Hala Taha: I dropped out of school.

It was my junior year of college. I got one internship where I was working for Ebro. Then they promoted me to work for Angie. Oh, wow. And then, uh, then I dropped out of school because Angie wanted me there every day. Yeah. Um, and so then I used to make For free? Yeah, but I would make money at night, uh, hosting showcases with the DJs.

[00:29:03] David Shands: Okay, so like that free job kind of led into other money. Yeah, 

[00:29:07] Hala Taha: it's like at night I would like host parties and stuff like this and make money doing other stuff. But it wasn't like, you know. All my siblings are doctors. So, like, imagine I come from, like, an Arabic, like, immigrant family. All my siblings are doctors in med school.

And I'm like, yeah, I'm working out. And he's seven for free and hosting parties. Like, you know, it was a black sheep for sure. 

[00:29:26] David Shands: Yeah. Okay. So, you drop out of college, junior year, um, work for Angie three years. Then you go back to college. 

[00:29:33] Hala Taha: Then I went back to school because I got let go because, job opened up that I wanted.

And they hired DJ Druski, who you might know, who's on Hot97 right now, who is one of my best friends. And I was pissed, and so I texted Druski like, Hey, I don't feel good. If you want to learn how to be the producer, learn it on your own. Cause I was doing the job already. And then he showed it to Angie.

Angie got mad at me. And she cut my key cards and fired me. But then we made up. She tried to 

[00:29:59] David Shands: Hold on, I'm sorry, real quick. A job comes up. You wanna go for it. DJ Drewski goes 

[00:30:06] Hala Taha: for it. Drewski's like two years older than me, mind you. Like, I'm young, and I'm But you've still been here for three years. I know.

But I'm young, like, I didn't, like, looking back on it, I had no business being Angie Martinez's producer, like, I don't know why I thought that I deserved that job, you know what I mean? Like, I really want, I was due to get a job. Yeah, but like, you know, looking back on it, I guess it was silly, but. It was good for me that she kicked me out, because honestly, like, I'm really happy where I am now.

Yeah, for sure. And it took me on this, like, different route, and now, you know, there's actually not a lot of money in radio. If I, if I kept on doing what I was doing, I would have been on Hot 97. I would have probably been Nessa. That's who I would have been. 

[00:30:44] David Shands: Drisky, but you'd probably make way more money than him.

Way more money than him. Sorry, 

[00:30:49] Hala Taha: Drewski. But it's true. But it's true. I don't know what it is, but. It's true. Like, they don't make a lot of money. They make money hosting parties and stuff. But, like, I'm happy where it ended up. Yeah. 

[00:30:58] David Shands: I bet. I bet. So, just, just for clarity on the story, a job opens up at Hot 97.

Yes. You apply for it. Drewski applies for it. He gets the 

[00:31:07] Hala Taha: job. There's no applying. There's like. So. Picking, like, it's, it's, there's no applying. Oh, you 

[00:31:12] David Shands: say, hey, I want the job. He says, hey, I want the job. But he gets it. He gets it. You don't. 

[00:31:17] Hala Taha: You're pissed. He's my friend. We're hosting, I'm hosting, like, online radio shows on the side.

Precursor of podcasts. I was doing it the whole time I was at Hot 97. So me and him had a show together. So we were really good friends. So I was mad at him because my job that day was to go train him how to do his job. Dang. So I said, I said, I texted him, I said, Hey, I don't, I was just sad and I was young and I was like, Hey, I don't feel good today.

If you want to learn how to be the producer, learn it on your own. Angie was furious because she needed me to show up that day. And I left them high and dry because I did all the work. I did all the research. I did all this stuff. Like, and so I decided I'm not going to work today. And she got really mad and she fired me.

Because who knows what it could have been Jay Z with her that day and I didn't show up like, you know what I mean? So she was mad at me. Yeah. 

[00:32:04] David Shands: Okay, so cut off your key card. You're fired And then the first thing you decide to do is go back to 

[00:32:08] Hala Taha: college I got fired on Thursday on Sunday I had a new idea I was gonna start Strawberryblunt.

com, that's what I called it. Strawberryblunt. Strawberryblunt. com, the sorority of hip hop. Okay, then you 

[00:32:20] David Shands: start that, and then that's your 

[00:32:21] Hala Taha: own thing. Yeah, yes, and then in three months we were one of the most popular hip hop and entertainment sites in the world. We blew up. Because I figured out how to hack Twitter.

And I was the first blog that basically, you know when blogs on Twitter and they like at somebody in the title of the blog, and then it goes to the blog post. So we, it was a music blog. So I'd be like, at Wiz Khalifa, new song, blah, blah, blah, at Drake, new song. And there'd be like 50 pretty girls tweeting the same thing at once.

And I was the first one to do that. And then the celebrities would retweet us. Oh wow. So then we, our blog blew up right away. And then all the DJs that wouldn't pay me minimum wage started being like, Hala, come host my party. Come do this. Come do that. Oh wow. 

[00:33:01] David Shands: Yeah. You have a very interesting career. Yeah, 

[00:33:05] Hala Taha: really cool story.

But then I didn't get MTV, and I just never thought I'd get back on a mic. I went to corporate. I worked at Hewlett Packard. I, like, got my MBA, got a 4. 0, like, and just literally thought I was never going to be in entertainment, never going to be on a mic, and I just did the corporate thing. But in the corporate world, I was doing the same stuff.

I was, like, interviewing the CEO, interviewing the CMO, became the face of the young employees. But still doing the same stuff in corporate, but just a different, like taking more of a business side of it. And then four years into my corporate career, I started seeing like this thing called podcasting really bubbling up.

And it was more accessible, like podcast was a thing, uh, for many years now, but it wasn't accessible, like you would need to be really tech savvy to figure it out. Even to go listen to it, it was hard. Yeah, it was like really hard, then all of a sudden I was like, wow, I can do this, I know everything, I know audio editing, I can make videos, I can, I know how to blow up on different social media, so instead of Twitter, I focused on LinkedIn.

Why LinkedIn 

[00:34:06] David Shands: though? It's mostly for entrepreneurs because it's young and profiting. It's for entrepreneurs. It's 

[00:34:12] Hala Taha: for, in the beginning it was really for corporate professionals because I wasn't an entrepreneur yet. So I didn't know how to speak to entrepreneurs, right? Uh, in the beginning it was for corporate professionals, and then entrepreneurs I found out liked my show, and I kind of evolved to more of an entrepreneurship show.

But, um, LinkedIn, because people were interested in learning, and I saw it as a wide open field, because no other podcasters were really focused on that platform. And you always want to stop to scroll and stand out, and so I would just. stand out because I would put my videos up on there. before video podcasting was a thing I used to do like comic book audiograms and kind of stand out on LinkedIn that way.

And so I just kind of became the number one podcaster on LinkedIn. And then I leveraged that to really grow everything else. 

[00:34:54] David Shands: Got it. Got it. What is it about LinkedIn? Cause I just started. I just started posting clips on LinkedIn. We're doing maybe like two a day now on LinkedIn and uh, I'm seeing there's, there's some traction.

I don't even know anybody over there on LinkedIn. I don't even know how to really like log in and look at it. So maybe I'll have you look at my analytics. But, uh, is, is LinkedIn something you definitely recommend podcasters to jump into? It 

[00:35:18] Hala Taha: just depends who your audience 

[00:35:19] David Shands: is. Gotcha. I'm on entrepreneurs.


[00:35:22] Hala Taha: aren't. Then definitely entrepreneurs, there's all small business owners are on LinkedIn. 

[00:35:26] David Shands: I think of LinkedIn as 

[00:35:28] Hala Taha: jobs. Mm mm. There's so many entrepreneurs on LinkedIn because they're selling to everyone who has jobs. like for example, I have a LinkedIn masterclass where I teach people how to like figure out the algorithm, hack LinkedIn, all that kind of stuff.

And 99 percent of the people who take that class are entrepreneurs who are trying to crush on LinkedIn. I would take it. Yeah. You can join it. Okay. 

[00:35:51] David Shands: Oh, um, how much is it? 

[00:35:52] Hala Taha: 2, 500 for two days. Is it? It's a two day workshop. 

[00:35:58] David Shands: You do it in person? 

[00:36:00] Hala Taha: It's a virtual two day workshop. 

[00:36:02] David Shands: Virtual, okay.

talk to people. That don't have a podcast. It's my belief. It's my belief. That everyone needs to podcast. If you're an entrepreneur, a business owner, somebody that just wants a good hobby, or, like, I believe everybody needs a podcast for some sort of reason.

Whether you learn how to be a better communicator, like you got something you can create, uh, that is yours and gives the message to the world. What is your thought on, um, on the average person podcasting? 

[00:36:33] Hala Taha: I think it's tough. I think that if your goal is to network with other people and you have a business model where you are actually interviewing people who could become your potential clients, then it's a good idea.

Because then no matter how big your show is or how small your show is, you're always talking to your target audience, which is your guest. Yeah. So, like I said, the first way that I monetized my show and, and like made a significant amount of money off my brand was the guests that came on my show would become my social and podcast clients.

Yeah. Now, the guests that come on my show, a lot of times have a podcast and they become a part of my network even, right? So it's like I can monetize my guests in other ways by offering them services, right? And then once you do that, you can invest in your show to grow it and then get sponsorships because like I said, you need 100, 000 downloads a month at least to start getting sponsors.

[00:37:24] David Shands: Um, so you are a network and you're recruiting people. Has anyone ever tried to recruit you to their 

[00:37:30] Hala Taha: network? Yeah, I signed to a network once and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Why? Cause they didn't do a good job selling. I, I, I, I signed to a network. And I had done such a great job selling from, from month one for my show, I was sold out, sold out every month.

I only had like three other podcasts or four other podcasts, sold them out every month. And when I signed to this network, I was already sold out two months ahead. In four months they got me, like, 5, 000 in ads. When you say sold out, what do you mean? 

so every podcast, depending on the length, has a certain amount of, a certain amount of ads they can put on the show. Yes. Sponsors are usually buying mid roll ads, which are in the middle of a podcast. And so typically, an hour long show might have four to six ads. So for me, a sold out show was six ads.

Host Red. Because you can get, uh, there's other ads called programmatic, but they're, uh, basically pre recorded. Like let's say Ford has like a commercial that they air on your show, but it's way less CPM. Sometimes these are like 2 CPMs, whereas Host Red ads are like 30 CPMs. So you don't want. Really too many programmatic ads because they're not good for the audience and you don't make a lot of money So I was like 100 percent sold out host read Joined a network and they promised me the moon we're gonna do this and I thought oh my gosh like instead of my you know four person sales team and but like my Interns from India, you know, I'm gonna have this big network help me sell my show and then, you know, you get lost in the shuffle They did nothing for me.

They didn't grow my show. They didn't sell my show and in fact they they ruined like six months of everything and then I pulled out after four months of them like not selling anything and kept kind of pushing me along, I pulled out and, uh, I really just got focused. I'm like, I'm just gonna start my own network.

You guys don't know what you're doing. Yeah. And now we're crushing, you know, but it took us a while to kind of get rebooked because they screwed me up so 

[00:39:27] David Shands: much. Out of all, out of your 25 shows, what is your, what is your goal in terms of like revenue to bring into the network? on like a monthly basis that you can start distributing to people?

Like, what is your, do you have a target number? Like, I want to make X amount of dollars for my network every single month. I 

[00:39:46] Hala Taha: don't have a target like that yet. My goal is to try to sell out all my different shows. All 25 of them? Try to. Mm hmm. And that takes time, right? So the longer you've been on my network, the more likely we're closer to being sold out on your show.

Mm hmm. Because it takes time to sort of fill up those ads and then do a good job with sponsors. Yeah. So right now, I'm a new network. So a lot of my shows are new, like I signed them last month, the month before, or whatever. So I'm just continually trying to book them up. And then also the creative deals, because they're A lot more lucrative.


[00:40:18] David Shands: Okay.

[00:40:18] Hala Taha: Let's 

[00:40:18] David Shands: say, for instance, I create a show. And I come to you and holler, I got this dope show. I think it's gonna go well. I already have a podcast and it does well. But I want to create a whole nother show and put it on your network. Would you be able to give me some money?

[00:40:32] Hala Taha: We'd have to grow it to a certain amount first. So we gotta grow 

[00:40:35] David Shands: it. We can't, like, pre sell it? Mm mm. You gotta Even based on past 

[00:40:39] Hala Taha: success or something? Definitely not. Just nobody's going to look at you if you don't have the downloads, right? There's so many other podcasts out there with downloads.

A brand's not going to put money on something if they don't know that they're getting a certain amount of downloads or not. But 

[00:40:52] David Shands: if you have a social reach. I think it would help. 

[00:40:55] Hala Taha: You might be able to get signed to a network that would give you a guarantee. Yes. Um, and then they would just like bank on the fact that you're gonna grow your show, but you'll probably get a low guarantee.


[00:41:07] David Shands: it's gonna be like three million, I'll 

[00:41:08] Hala Taha: come over. I'll help you grow your show, and I can do it non exclusively. 

[00:41:15] David Shands: Uh, I think the only thing is, so I'm on red circle and they do treat me really good and they go and get a lot of, uh, ads and I got a relationship with those guys over there. So we do, we do pretty good in terms of, uh, our show, the social proof show, but here's my thing.

I'm thinking maybe I create different shows cause we have the capacity and the bandwidth to do a lot of content. Like we've got our own studio. Right. Right. Right. Where you might have a different audience that you can put me in front of. Another network has a different audience you can put me in front of.

I would just have to have three shows running simultaneously. And I'm pumping two different networks. 

[00:41:53] Hala Taha: Yeah, I mean my advice would be to grow one show really big. Cause it's like the same amount of effort and then you make so much more per commercial. 

[00:42:00] David Shands: Yeah, but, I wanna get, what if I wanna, my goal is to get different audiences though.

[00:42:06] Hala Taha: Oh, well, then that's a different story if you have different target audiences. 

[00:42:09] David Shands: And it might be a slower build, but like, let's say for you have a whole nother network or group of people that you will promote me to that I don't know, I just don't even know those people. Right. Um, or like some people, like if you go on, let's say revolts network, they're putting your videos on their channel or YouTube channel.

So that's a whole nother audience, which ultimately at the end of the day, they may come back to you anyway, in terms of your main show. Yeah. 

[00:42:35] Hala Taha: That might work. Yeah, why not? I mean, if you have the bandwidth and you have the team, and you've got different concepts that you think could work, why not? 

[00:42:42] David Shands: Yeah. I want to do Mad Concepts.

I just want to outwork every other podcaster, but you don't advise it. 

[00:42:47] Hala Taha: Um, I would part, like for me personally, I just want to grow my show as big as possible. Because if you think about it, when you get sponsorships, it's a lot of work to do all these commercials, right? So if you can make, if you could do one commercial and make, you know, 10, 000 a commercial instead of doing three commercials and making 10, 000 altogether, it's less work to do one commercial.

Same thing with me. I want to recruit the biggest podcast because if I sell 10 ads for a small podcast, it's the same amount of work to sell 10 ads for a huge podcast. 

[00:43:16] David Shands: That makes sense. So, um, you don't tell everybody you need a podcast? 

[00:43:21] Hala Taha: I'm not the type of person to say, like, everybody needs a podcast.

I'd be saying everybody. Because it's a lot of work to do a podcast and do it well. There's a lot of crappy podcasts out there, right? So, it's a lot of work to do it well, um, but if you are inspired to do a podcast and you think you have something to say and you feel inspired to do it, then I definitely think it's a great idea.

I think anybody who's got the motivation to do it and really wants to do it should do it. Uh, but I don't think, like, if you're not ready to put in the work, don't, don't start a podcast. Okay, 

so tell people what it means to put in the work of a podcast. Consistency. So it means, are you willing to at least do four episodes a month?

Because that's the minimum. If you can't do four a month, one a week. No point. There's no point. And a lot of people are like, Oh, I'm going to do two a month. It's like, you're never going to get any traction. People are going to forget about your show. So four episodes a month consistently, which means that to start, you've got to have a backlog so that if you get sick or this and that, so it's like when you launch, you want to have eight, 10 episodes ready so that you can always have a backlog so that you're not always like scraping by it means.

Focusing just as much on promotion as you do production. So I always say it's 50 percent promotion, 50 percent production. It's not just about putting out content because, uh, unless you get really lucky or unless you're already a huge influencer on Tik or another platform like that, you're not going to get listeners.

You're going to have to spoon feed your show to everyone. You're going to have to put up. Microcontent on your social channels, you're going to have to DM everybody who likes and comments on those clips and send them a link to that actual episode. You're going to have to learn about all the different podcast players you got to be on.

You're going to have to learn about chartable and how to track your stuff. Like you actually have to absorb yourself in the industry and how to promote things if you actually want to get any traction. Or you need to be rich enough to hire a team that knows how to do that. Gotcha, 

[00:45:10] David Shands: gotcha. Somebody hit me, uh, yesterday, they said, yo, I've, I've got a whole bunch of money, I'm putting a whole bunch of money into my podcast, and it's just not working.

And I, um, Actually, I sent them a link, and it was like, yo, okay, I'll be a podcast sub, no problem. Uh, but they have the means to do it, and I, it actually, somebody actually hit me today, too, said, hey, I've been putting money into it, and it's not working. But just putting money into it doesn't mean the podcast is going to work.

You gotta be good at it. 

[00:45:37] Hala Taha: And also, what does that mean, the money into the production? Yeah, 

[00:45:41] David Shands: I mean, production, promotion. He said he's been doing promotion too. Let me just, let me pay guests and all that kind of stuff. I'm like, that stuff 

[00:45:48] Hala Taha: doesn't work. That doesn't work. The thing is that you've got to figure out, you've got to work with somebody who actually knows what they're doing.

Not a lot of people know how to actually grow podcasts. Just putting up social, if somebody's like, I'm going to, you know, produce your show and put up content on YouTube and Instagram. Still, that's not going to lead to subscribers. You've got to close the loop. You got to know how, how to actually close the loop.

Bring those people on social media to your podcast. Uh, advertise in the podcast players themselves. Like all the things that I was mentioning before in terms of. How you actually need to grow your show. It doesn't just work to produce it and put up content on social media. and you've probably seen that yourself too.

Like it's hard to get subscribers, right? You need to, you know, put in the 

[00:46:28] David Shands: work Let's say somebody is starting fresh today. Young holla. Okay. You don't know nothing about hot 97. You work it. I don't know, Olive Garden, and you're like, I got this message for the world, and I want to start a podcast.

What does Hala 

[00:46:52] Hala Taha: do? First of all, be really smart about your podcast name. I think one of the worst mistakes I made was calling my podcast Young and Profiting. I love it now, and a lot of people know it, but to this day, no one's going to find me casually.

Unless some, you know, they're looking at the charts or something, nobody's going to type in young and profiting in their search bar. So I found a lot of mediocre podcasts that just have keywords in their name are getting a lot of downloads just by having keywords in their name. So if you think about what people would be searching in the app, you'll get a head start.

So it's like, first of all, like be really careful about your name. And make sure you pick a name, uh, that, that is going to get you SEO. So I'll give you a couple of examples. And these podcasters are by no means mediocre. They're just examples. So Kevin Miller hosts Self Helpful podcast. His podcast gets 600, 000 downloads a month because people are typing in self help.

And what pops up self helpful. 

[00:47:52] David Shands: Yeah, that's smart. 

[00:47:53] Hala Taha: Hey, that's a hack. Millennial investing. Uh, this guy, uh, has no social media following. He's in my network. Gets 500, 000 downloads a month or something like this has zero social following and it's because people are typing up investing or like it's a keyword that's in the name.

There's another podcast called self improvement daily, millions of downloads. Because people are typing in self improvement and what pops up. So, like, had I been smart, I would have called my podcast Young Entrepreneurs. And you know what? I still may. I still may rebrand. And because I don't, you know, I can't be young and profiting forever, so I might call it, like, profiting or, I don't know, entrepreneurship, whatever.

But something that's more searchable, because then it's. It's like a downstream battle instead of it being an upstream battle to get subscribers. So that's really important. Okay. Okay. Um, I would say be half standards with your guests. I think one of the smartest things that I did is that from the start I had big standards from my guests.

I did not just like have anybody on my podcast. From the start, I had big guests and I knew that it was a volume game. 

[00:48:59] David Shands: Yeah. But if you're working at Olive Garden, you are not getting big. 

[00:49:02] Hala Taha: I was at, at this point, I was starting from zero. I had no following anywhere. Right. I was working in corporate. All I had was like my past.

I got to tell them like, I did this, this and that, I guess, and believe in me, right? Yeah. Um, but you work at Olive 

[00:49:17] David Shands: Garden did, and you're not hol, you're hollow, but you're not. You don't come from a hot 97. You don't know the DJs, nothing. I'm from a small town. I got something to say. I'm going to come up with a searchable name.


[00:49:28] Hala Taha: name. I would say try your hardest to have standards with your guests. Try your hardest. I understand that everybody has to start somewhere, but try your hardest because what will happen is that once you get somebody big to say yes, it becomes easier for more people to say yes. That's true. And if you understand that a lot of this is just a volume game, there's actually a lot of people who are famous.

That are going on any podcast. I'll give, like, John Lee Dumas, he'll go on any podcast. Really? Yeah. He dedicates, like, two days a month to go on any podcast, big or small, right? There are people out there, or somebody who's a little bit older, like, really reputable. and they just might be retired and have more free time.

You might be able to get, like, a bigger name who's, like, a little bit older, or somebody who had a popular book 10 years ago and get them on your show. But once you start to get a little bit of notoriety with the names, you can start to ask more people to come on. And what you have to realize, it's really a volume game.

So when I first started my podcast, my first episode was about, uh, first impressions. And so I reached out to all these different like human behavior experts. And I reached out to 30 and two said, yes. You know what I'm saying? So then it's just reaching out, uh, putting out a broad like net and then hoping that at least one person says yes.

And then you just keep moving on from there. 

[00:50:44] David Shands: I like it. Third step. So first, cool name. Let's find some standards for guests. Try to find the coolest people that we know in that particular space. Third thing, what are you doing? 

[00:50:53] Hala Taha: So, you want to make sure that you've got a consistent production plan. Okay. So, how often are you recording, uh, how are you recording, making sure that you're do, you're putting out an episode every week, you have a backlog, like I talked about, figuring out how you're titling your episodes so that it's consistent and looks professional.

What are you putting in the show notes so that you're discoverable and you have searchability? What keywords are you putting in your titles and your show notes so that you can be discovered and searchable? And, uh, the fourth thing. Would be promotion. How are you going to promote it? Yeah. You're putting it on social media, you're gonna, um, you know, are you going to advertise in the apps?

Are you going to try to guest on other shows in your niche? Like, what are you going to do to get the word out? Because like I said, it's not just about production. I would say production is very important, but on the grand scheme of things, the winners know how to market. Yeah, 

[00:51:41] David Shands: for sure. 

Last thing, Trent Shelton's on your podcast network, right? Yes. how did that connection happen? He's pretty big in a motivational speech areas 

[00:51:51] Hala Taha: for a minute. Uh, he came on my podcast. And then a few months ago he was like, holla, you know, how are you doing everything, whatever, and then we talked and he joined my network.

[00:52:01] David Shands: Gotcha. How do you get corporate clients for you to produce their podcasts? Cause I want to go into that 

[00:52:08] Hala Taha: space. Uh, a lot of it is LinkedIn. So one of the strategies that I have and the same strategy to. To get podcast listeners. I target entrepreneurs. A lot of the time these are CEOs of huge companies and they're like, yeah, I listened.

It's so great. Can I come on your show? And then I say, I'm sorry, I'm booked up. But you know, you could either pay for an interview or I can help you with social services to get your brand awareness up or whatever. So I just like retarget them with. 

[00:52:36] David Shands: Hold on. They reach out to you and say, Hey, I want to be on your show.

Exactly. CEOs of corporate corporations, whatever. Super successful. And your default answer is, we're booked up, but you can pay. That's hard. Come on. That's good. We're booked up right now, but you could pay, which means we're not really booked 

[00:52:57] Hala Taha: up. I am really booked up, but I'll squeeze you in in case you're buried.

Okay. Okay. Okay. But then it turns into other conversations. Like, you know, I'll top on a call with them and then they'll realize they want social services or they want this or that, or it turns into a whole network tour typically. Well, if they have money, they want to hop on all the shows, you know, and so then all my podcasters get the deal.

But because they asked, it doesn't look like I sold them anything. They asked to come on my show. So I 

[00:53:28] David Shands: usually do not a good guest though. You don't 

[00:53:31] Hala Taha: think that ruins the show a little bit? I don't, I don't book people who aren't, or podcast that's a better fit. Oh, they might not come on yours. Yeah, like, I'll do it with like, like I said, like the president of Shopify.

That's a cool interview. You know, like, so it's like, it, it would, it has to make sense for me. Uh, but then there's smaller podcasters where like, they're happy with, you know, a smaller company that wants to come on, but this stuff is expensive. So usually the person's pretty accomplished if they're willing to spend like a hundred grand on a network tour or something, you know?

[00:54:00] David Shands: Do they spend a hundred grand on a network 

[00:54:01] Hala Taha: tour? My network tours are typically like 120, 000 And it's like a three or four month thing. Three or four month? It's like three shows a month or something like this for like three or four months. 

[00:54:13] David Shands: And you pay the podcasters too? 

[00:54:17] Hala Taha: I pay out the podcasters. 

[00:54:18] David Shands: Right, right.

You'd be like, I got this interview, do this. Like you X amount of money. Yeah, so 

it's like a rev share. I get 30%, they get 70%. so since it's 100, 000, so you're saying you take 30 and you divvy up to 70, 000 amongst these other shows. 

[00:54:33] Hala Taha: Yeah, but for my show, I take 100 percent and my show is always a part of it too.

So it's like, I do it for me and then I just add everybody else and take 30 percent of their cut. 

[00:54:41] David Shands: But they don't really get a cut because it's one big amount. What do you mean? So let's say for 

[00:54:46] Hala Taha: instance, It's, I, the proposal is broken up by reach. So it's like, my show might cost 20, 000, a show that's smaller than me might cost 8, 000.

Everybody has their own rate that I put in the proposal. Then I take 30 percent of their I see. 

[00:55:02] David Shands: Okay, so they're not saying, I got a hundred something 

[00:55:05] Hala Taha: thousand No, no, no, I'm putting together a proposal based on the shows that they want, and every show has its own rate.

[00:55:12] David Shands: Mmm. That's lit. Oh, this is exciting, man. Thank you. 

moral of the story, we for sure need to get you into this LinkedIn masterclass.

Okay. LinkedIn is just showing podcasters how to grow on LinkedIn. 

[00:55:27] Hala Taha: LinkedIn? No, no, no. This is for anybody who's like an entrepreneur or a coach or an author, speaker, or a corporate professional who just wants to be an influencer on LinkedIn. This is for anyone. It has nothing to do with podcasts. 

[00:55:39] David Shands: Got it.

And outcome for this class is what for me? 

[00:55:43] Hala Taha: Uh, basically you're going to learn how to copyright. You're going to learn the psychology of design. You're going to walk away with a clear personal brand and voice guidelines. And then I'm going to teach you how to hack the algorithm and all the engagement hacks.

And then when you're finished, you actually join my mastermind. Which is, uh, like office hours calls where I actually help everybody with their business. And they join my engagement pod where then everybody supports each other's posts. So it's like instant engagement on your 

[00:56:13] David Shands: content. All right. So can you look at my LinkedIn and tell me what's wrong?

It's terrible. I know. I don't, I don't even know how to navigate and I got mad different pages. It says manage pages, and I got one, I got five 

[00:56:25] Hala Taha: pages. I have no idea. The company pages are not it. On LinkedIn, you wanna do your, you just look at my 

[00:56:30] David Shands: situation. You wanna do, I'm not 

[00:56:31] Hala Taha: good. Gloria, you wanna do a personal page on LinkedIn?


[00:56:35] David Shands: Does my personal page have the content going to it? 

[00:56:37] Hala Taha: He has 3,366 followers. You do have content, but you're getting very little engagement. You're getting five likes. Two comments on your stuff, which is very little engagement. Mm-Hmm, . So basically what that means is that you need to be proactive.

about bringing in your target audience. And you need to know the features that work on LinkedIn because you're posting videos, but videos don't do good on LinkedIn. Images do good on LinkedIn. So you need to know the features that are working well on LinkedIn. You need to understand how to pull in a proactive audience that takes viral action that's going to engage on your content.

You need to know all the different hacks, like you can't put a link in your caption. You've got to do, be skimmable, like there's all these different hacks. You can't even really use hashtags on LinkedIn. It screws you up. So there's like lots of little things that you need to learn about the platform so that you can actually kind of break the algorithm and get reach.


[00:57:31] David Shands: Uh, do you see any difference between, um, podcasters of color and like white podcasters? Are you seeing a difference at all? In terms of, I mean, audience approach. 

[00:57:45] Hala Taha: Well, I think that, you know, I hope to see more podcasters from different backgrounds. Kind of dominating the charts. If you look at the charts, it's very white.

[00:57:54] David Shands: I'm sure I'm one of the only like brown faces on the charts. Right. So I hope that, you know, we can figure it out and start to, to rank and, and, you know, do better. But do you see white podcasters approaching it differently? Is there something else, you know, that, um, you know, it's another strategy that other people are using that we're not, 

[00:58:14] Hala Taha: I think if you think about all the really big podcasters.

They started a long time ago, so you think about Lewis Howes, Tim Ferriss, Joe Rogan, all white men, when they start, 12 years ago, right? So they have a head start, because it was way easier to get podcast listeners when there was only 50 podcasts to choose from. Yeah. So we kind of have to like be creative.

And the other thing to think about, and this is really important, podcasts are not just audio only anymore. This is a new era of podcasting. Podcasts are being streamed on social. A lot more people are actually watching podcasts on live stream. People are more into YouTube now. People are watching podcasts in short form content.

So you can dominate other platforms as a podcaster and not just focus on the audio apps. Because the audio apps is pretty expensive to grow. You really need to have a budget or get lucky. Like it is, you need money to grow on the audio apps. YouTube is really hard as well. But if you can figure out how to like, Stream your podcast on LinkedIn.

Stream your podcast on TikTok. You can also get sponsorships and you're still considered a podcaster, a simulcast when you're streaming across all these different channels. So I guess my advice would be, don't just focus on the audio app. See where you can stand out. Just like I stood out on LinkedIn. See where you can stand out.

Maybe it's Tik TOK now, maybe it's, you know, threads or, or just something else that you can sort of stick out on and grow your presence on. And then once you grow one channel, you then have leverage to grow the other ones. 

[00:59:42] David Shands: Yeah. You know what? I haven't experienced that. It costs a lot to grow on the audio side.

[00:59:47] Hala Taha: We just, you have a huge YouTube, you have the advantage, right? So if you have that YouTube presence, people are going to search for you on the audio apps. But if you're starting from nothing, you got to go one channel Bay. How did you grow your YouTube? Just putting 

[01:00:03] David Shands: out content, but I think it's good content though, and I've been putting out content on YouTube for a very long time.

How long? I think my first video was 2010. 

[01:00:14] Hala Taha: Yeah, so it's like you've been doing it for 13 years, right? So it's like, it takes a long, it's consistency. And, uh, you know, 13 years ago, putting out content on YouTube isn't as common as it is now, right? So it's like, you found something that was open and available and attacked it, right?

So it's like, what is out now that somebody else can do that? 

[01:00:35] David Shands: That's real. Okay. 

Um, Bala, thank you so much, man. Um, we will put a link in the description of this podcast uh, for the LinkedIn masterclass and use code socialproof for 30 percent off? 30 percent off. And they'll still be able to get a mastermind?

[01:00:52] Hala Taha: Yeah. Well, yeah. Okay. Yep. And it's yapmedia. io slash 

[01:00:58] David Shands: course. Yes. There we go. Use the promo code. Okay. Um, last thing, where do you see yourself in the next five years or do you see something that you know you're going to accomplish within the next five years? And I'm asking because I want to be able to watch this interview five years from today and say, you know what?

Holla said she's going to do that five years ago and look, she did it. 

[01:01:18] Hala Taha: Well, I know I'm going to write a book. Okay. Definitely going to write a book. Okay. Um, I think that I'm going to be by far the number one female podcaster. I think I'm already on my way, but I think everyone's going to know me as like the female podcaster, sort of like Tim Ferriss is in the podcast world, but the female version of it.

And, um, I'm building a podcast empire. I already almost have the number one business. I think I have the number one business podcast network already. And it's only been like a year of doing it. So it's like, I think my company and network, Yap Media, will be just as known as Wondery and all these other huge networks, like SiriusXM and all these other big networks.

I think that my network is going to be like up there with everybody else. 

[01:02:03] David Shands: Wow. You know, we got him on the wall. At least sold for 250, 250 million, his 

[01:02:09] Hala Taha: network or something. Yeah, like I can imagine something like that definitely happening for me with my network. Yes. 

[01:02:15] David Shands: And you take, you're always, who are you looking for to join your network?

[01:02:18] Hala Taha: So you've got to have at least 100, 000 downloads, but as we get bigger, we're going to, you know, keep stepping that number up. Most of our podcasters are getting 300, 000, 500, 000 downloads a month. Uh, you've got to be in the business or entrepreneurship space cause that's where we're focused. And preferably you should have at least one other social channel, whether that's YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn.

That we can monetize. Got it. 

[01:02:40] David Shands: Okay. All right. There it is. All right. So listen, uh, thank you so much. Uh, 

[01:02:45] Hala Taha: with a word of wisdom. Okay. So my word of wisdom is that life is limitless. You've really got to believe. That there's no limits to your life. I remember when I was in corporate and I was sort of stuck. It was because I told myself I wouldn't make it. And that like my career in entertainment was done.

And it wasn't until I like found myself again and was like, okay, I'm going to just give it one more shot. And I'm so happy I did. If I didn't give it one more shot, I wouldn't be here today. Right. I would have been in a corporate job making 150, 000 a year and maybe I would have been happy, but certainly not as happy as I am now following my dream.

So you really need to believe that life is limitless. And if a gatekeeper tells you, no, you need to do it anyway. You need to find your own lane, find your own path. Don't go knocking on everyone's door, make your own door, and just do it and, and believe in yourself. That's a 

[01:03:38] David Shands: bar. Thank you so much, man. We can't close it out no better than that, man.

Make sure you follow Hala, okay, pick up that LinkedIn masterclass, um, and also go get you some social proof, meaning go build something really, really, really big. But it's important that you document the process so you can come back to your community and teach them how you did what you did. All right, we are out of here.


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