How do you create money-making opportunities through your podcast? With all the time Chuck Cramer got on his hands during the pandemic significantly when businesses slowed down everywhere, he started to have the idea of podcasting. In this episode, he discusses the challenges in building a podcasting business and how he has dealt with those. In addition, he shares the return on investment he has seen in the industry. Chuck hosts On The Road with MR CA WINE, a show that highlights California’s extraordinary, aspirational lifestyle and fantastic wines. This is a wine journey covering CA wine’s hottest topics, including the process and the biggest challenges encountered. Listen to this episode and learn how to have fun while providing value to people and earning money!
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Building In Podcast Money Making Opportunities You Can Taste Like On the Road With Mr. CA Wine, Chuck Cramer
In this episode, we’re going across the pond. We are going to talk to Chuck Cramer of ON THE ROAD with MR CA WINE, but interestingly enough, he’s in London. He is not based here. He is selling California wines into the London scene. It’s a pretty cool job. He’s got an interesting perspective on everything and he loves California where he’s from and loves the wine there. His passion keeps coming across. ON THE ROAD with MR CA WINE is about California’s cool aspirational lifestyle and awesome wines, hosted by Chuck Cramer, a California native living in London and the Director of European Sales and Marketing for Terlato Wines.
This is a wine journey covering the hottest topics in California wine, chatting along the way with the experts who make it all happen. As I was listening to his first episode, he’s got this cool California vibe going on with the music and it had this diners, drive-ins and dives feel. I’m imagining what kind of car he’s driving as he’s doing this. I’m imagining that as I’m listening to the show. Let’s learn what he’s doing and how he’s doing this when we talk to Chuck Cramer of ON THE ROAD with MR CA WINE.
Chuck, we’re getting to talk California wine and a whole different style show. I’m super excited about it because this is one of those shows that sounds like it should be diners, drive-ins and dives, but in podcast format and about wine. How could that get cooler? Did you intend to follow that model and have that feel to your show?
That’s interesting. The whole concept was to take people on the road visually via audio through the podcast to different parts of California. Occasionally, I do recommend diners and restaurants and stuff like that. I try and give stories along the way so people can relate and feel as though they’re on the road with me in California. I liked the way you described that. That’s awesome.
It does have the feel and also because of the styling of what you’ve done with the audio. You have a cultivated audio format. Readers out there, this is one of the things you want to check out about Chuck’s show, ON THE ROAD with MR CA WINE. You want to check out the way he does the audio because he does this beautiful intro where he’s talking about where he is. It’s very descriptive.
That probably comes because you have great experience describing wine, which it’s hard to describe something esoteric in a way. You’re describing the landscape, where you are, and all of that with music underlying it that gives you this energy and beat to it, and then you go into your interview from there. That’s a great style that you have going on. You’d have the music come up again at the end as you close. It’s a great style that’s highly produced. It has a great sound to it.Have fun meeting and have engaging conversations with people. Get yourself out there so you can build your network. Click To Tweet
Thank you. I wanted that California beat. If you go back and listen to The Ventures or the theme song to the Hawaii Five-O, I wanted music that is closely associated with California, growing up near the water, whether I was lifeguarding or swimming or enjoying the day out on the beach. When you think about California, you think of white sandy beaches and Hollywood. I thought that music got me close to that. I’m on the road. I’m driving. I’ve got the radio on, K-Earth 101, whatever. I got the music behind me. It is the dailiness but at the same time, I also thought the music would maybe enhance the audio and put up with my voice-over a two-minute stretch or something like that.
Chuck, you’re a California guy. You’re from the LA area. I’m from a little farther south. I have to tell you this funny story. I borrowed my parents’ car because mine was in the shop and I had to get to an event. They’re watching me drive out of the driveway. I felt like I was sixteen in the ‘80s all over again. I’m driving out the driveway and the music turns on in the car. It’s my dad’s car and it turns on to K-Earth 101. The weird part is when I was a kid, my dad would put K-Earth 101 and it was all ‘50s and ‘60s music. Now, it’s ‘80s music playing. I felt like I was in a weird time warp. There’s some kind of strange effect. How did K-Earth turn from the ‘50s and ‘60s to ‘80s all of a sudden?
California has a vibe to it. I get a sense you’re in a convertible. Of course, you’re not because the sound is great. We don’t hear a lot of wind, but you get that sense from your music studio. You’ve set the tone for the show and set this excitement up for what you’re going to hear, and for wanting to follow you, visit these places, taste these wines and meet these people. That is your binge factor right there. That’s what I wanted to point out to everyone. It’s that someone who’s so good at doing visual descriptions in an audio format and telling stories like you are, Chuck, they’re going to do better in a podcast model. You’ve picked a perfect format to highlight that.
Thank you very much. The podcast was boring during COVID. I’m taking walks and thinking about, “I’m constantly staying busy,” but businesses slowed down over here in Europe and the UK. I thought, “What can I do with my time?” I played tennis. I couldn’t play tennis during COVID a lot of times over here. I thought, “Let’s do a podcast.” I sell California wine. I’m a handful of maybe Californians selling wine over here. I see it as an extension of the business. It leads to new business and it gets people excited about California wine. I love talking about my home state, bottom line.
You are passionate about it. That is a great model. You’re starting this at a time at which you can’t make a connection point. You’re still connecting to your network back home. You’re making that direct connection by having calls with them. From a business strategy, this is smart. You’re telling stories, which is going to help you sell wine. You’re staying connected with everyone you can’t visit right now. That’s a beautiful way to empower your business amongst a lot of challenges.
I want them to feel as though they’re there. When they’re able to hop on a flight and visit California, they can say, “I’m in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Chuck talked about going up to the top of the mountain and visiting Ridge or Chimney Rock or Rutherford Hill in Napa, Sanford and Santa Barbara or the Michael David Winery in Lodi.” They have all this information as a result of this podcast. I have fun meeting people that I wouldn’t necessarily maybe have the opportunity to meet. People are great and awesome. People say yes. People I don’t know and haven’t met yet will say, “We’ll do this podcast.” It’s been a lot of fun and a great experience.
I’m so glad that your podcasting journey has been beneficial and personally rewarding at the same time. If you could do both, you’re going to stick with it. You’ve done a lot of episodes in a year. You’ve been consistent about it, which 90% of everything is showing up and that’s what you’ve done week after week and it’s gotten better from the very beginning. What was the biggest challenge though when you went to go start it?
The biggest challenge for me was pulling the trigger. I did a lot of research. I’m a huge fan of your show. I listen to about ten podcasts on a regular basis. You’re up there in number one because you give invaluable insight in terms of how to become a podcaster. Listening to you, little tips here and there helped make the show or me better. It was buying the equipment and it was like, “How am I going to start? What’s going to be the first topic? Which wine am I going to talk about? Who am I going to line up?”I was not nervous but as I was getting wet feet, I was thinking, “Am I going to sound like an idiot?” I feel a lot more natural now. I’ve got 63 episodes under my belt and I want to come out there every Thursday. If I’m out traveling like if I’m in the States or from Europe, I’ll preload 4 or 5 episodes so I don’t have to worry about it. I want consistency and I want people to know that this podcast is going to be there.
It’s a great model for your business as well. The thing is at different stages in more than a year in on your podcast, now it’s time to concentrate on some different things. I’m going to jump into some of my questions because this is typically when a podcaster starts to amp up these things. You’ve got great guests on there. They’re so interesting. They tell fantastic stories. Some of the wines they recommend, I’ve never heard of. I’m like, “I don’t know what that is.” My dad makes wine, so I should know better but I don’t.
He makes wine in our garage when we were kids. It’s not a big vineyard, although if he could have bought one, he would have. I should know because I’ve been around it for a while, but I don’t. It’s like, “I want to make a little note about that. What is that? I’ve never heard of it before. Should I try that?” It’s eye-opening in that process. How do you keep finding better guests? I’m sure after 60 episodes, you’ve tapped out your initial network.
It’s interesting. There are over 4,500 wineries in California. I’m trying to reach or interview a broad base. It’s not just the glamorous side of the business like winery owners and winemakers, but I get mates who are sommeliers and F&B directors. Even though my podcast is very niche and narrow talking about California wine, I’m trying to get ahold of everybody in the industry so there’s a big pool out there to draw from.Listen to about 10 podcasts on a regular basis and you're up there. Click To Tweet
I lean on friends and associates. What I started doing, and I didn’t do this in the beginning, is after I’m done interviewing somebody and they talk about a mentor or mentioned somebody else’s name, I’ll email them afterwards and say, “Can you do me a favor? Can you set it up? Can you introduce me to that person you talked about?” This is how I’m getting more guests and tapping into this guests list that didn’t have before. Asking for references has been super helpful.
That’s going to help grow your business because you’re nothing if you don’t have this great network of California wineries. It’s expanding your knowledge and your network. It is helpful to your core business. You built it into something where you’re marketing your business and learning within your business at the same time.
It’s super educational. I know quite a bit about California, but there’s always something new to learn. There’s always that little plot of vineyard to talk about, somewhere that I’ve never been before. I went to Cambria and saw some vineyards for the first time. It’s super educational. I’m probably learning more than I’m educating if I can put it that way.
That’s okay. That’s the best way. Your audience wants to come along with you. Now, you’ve got to be working on that stage where you’re starting to increase listeners and encourage engagement with your guests, as well as with your audience. How is that going for you? What are you doing that you feel is starting to work?
In the beginning, I had a fairly large database I was emailing. I stopped that after a couple of months. I thought maybe I was starting to annoy people on a weekly basis with this email. I don’t know if that’s the right move or not. I use Instagram a lot to help promote episodes that are coming up, reinforce what was on, and then the following week, what new is coming up. A lot of videos and photos on Instagram. Photos of myself and guests. I do use Facebook. I think I need to start using LinkedIn a lot more in terms of the way I use Instagram because I don’t know if I plateaued or not, but I need to throw a broader net out there to get more people to listen.
If I could make a suggestion to you, Chuck, and this is the thing. When I evaluate a show here, I always go and check out your websites and your social media channels. Your Instagram is doing well. It’s got a great variety. Whenever you find someone on Instagram and you look at their profile, you look at their grid as they call it. It’s all the little photos that you have and they’re all interesting. There’s a person in them. There’s wine in them.
I don’t know what the post is until I click on one, but they all look very visually interesting. That means I will likely say, “I’m going to friend you,” then I’ll start following you and I’ll see your new posts. You do have you have videos coming out and things like that, which are doing well on Instagram. If you’re doing the same thing or pulling that through to Facebook, start to think about doing that same strategy on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn posts are your cover art and a description of the show.
You’re sending to Apple for the file, which we don’t want to do. We want to send it to our websites. Having a way for people to access, which you already have a player on your website is perfectly fine. Send them to the podcast page on the website instead of sending them to Apple to listen to the episode. You’re giving Apple more value, not yourself. You want them to come to your website so they can see more about you. They can listen right there. They can also check, click through the player, and go subscribe anywhere. Most people, if they see a podcast, will just pick up their favorite app and type in your show name. They’re not even going to click through that link anyway, so why give Apple value? You should give your website value. Change up that image there. Use some of the ones that you’re using. Use the little video clips that you’re using on Instagram. Change them up, then your LinkedIn becomes more dynamic too. I suspect your network is on LinkedIn.
The hospitality trade sector is on LinkedIn. I need to up my game on LinkedIn and I appreciate the advice there.
You’ve already got the great workings of it on Instagram. Start to translate that in a little professional way on LinkedIn, and then make sure you’re doing tagging to your guests because I don’t see that happening. I don’t see your guest’s name being tagged there. They want to be highlighted, so they want to share that with their audience so that’ll help them engage in the post at that point. That could up your game there, but your Instagram is doing well. Everyone, you should check that out. It’s @MrCAWine, that’s his handle there. Go check that out because you can see good use of images and videos over there that do help promote the show. I guarantee you listeners are coming because of that.
It’s great advice. Thank you very much.
You’re welcome. Let’s talk about monetization, but I like to talk about it in the alternative monetization view. You mentioned before that you felt that this was leading to some business. What kind of return on investment have you been seeing?Decide on a topic the podcast would revolve around and then dive deep into its contents. Click To Tweet
I work for a company called Terlato Wines. I manage a European business over here. I see it as an extension of the business. Not every episode, I could talk about the wines that I work with. I want to broaden that reach or the experience so I have a lot of guests and promote a lot of wines that I don’t necessarily work with. The bottom line is I want to talk about California wine. I want to talk about how awesome California is and how awesome California wines are in general. On occasion, I do have guests on. I have guests that want to be in. We start talking about my wines and the next thing I know, the wine’s listed on their wine list. That’s the return there. There’s a direct relationship or benefit to what I’m doing. That’s fun. I’m getting buy-in from a mate who owns a restaurant or is managing a restaurant. I’m going in and supporting him. He’s now supporting my wines and he supports the podcast, which is a lot of fun.
Do leave some behind as everybody starts opening up so you’ll have a, “As heard on, on the road.” They’ll be right by where the wine tasting is happening. That would be a lot of fun. You’re going to have to amp that up now that we’re moving about. What have you found to be the most challenging part of podcasting?
I was thinking about this. I’m a one-man band. I do want to give a shout-out to my daughter, Audrey, because she’s managing my Instagram on social media.
She’s doing a great job.
She’s doing a fantastic job. I have a day job. I do all the editing. It’s a lot of fun. I love chatting with people. For me, the interview is the best part, just chatting with people. I enjoy writing content. I try and get creative. I inject my sense of humor into it so it comes through and it becomes more personable so I can make that connection, but it’s time management. I worked during the day. I’m interviewing, especially people in California or on the East Coast. I’m talking to them on Monday nights normally, and I’m editing. I put everything together on the weekend. Time management is the biggest challenge for me.
It is for so many podcasters out there. The next thing maybe is to figure out a strategy for you to get some backup help here. Start to have some sponsorship for some money going into the show for you so you can afford that. You’re at a good stage now where these things are options. What is the strategy for 2022? Be thinking about that, moving forward. You ask your guests who they would love to have and what wine they would love to drink, it’s someone not living.
Any celebrity living or dead, who would you invite to share a bottle of your wine with?
Who would you want to have on your show? I’m going to go with living because we might be able to make that happen. Let’s go with living. If you could do it in person, what would you serve them?
I love tennis. I messaged the guy. One of the podcasts I listen to is Advantage Connors with Jimmy Connors and his son, Brett Connors. I know Jimmy likes wine and he likes to cook. He’s my idol growing up. It would be Jimmy Connors over a burger or a pizza on a tennis court with one of the wines that I sell that I know he would love. It would be Jimmy Connors, without a doubt.
That would be an interesting conversation. I would love to hear that too. I didn’t know he liked wine and things like that. It’s interesting. Think about that, anyone out there who can connect Chuck up to Jimmy Connors, let’s do that. You’ll never know.
That would be awesome.
What advice do you have for someone out there who is thinking about starting a show?
Do your homework. In addition to yourself, The Binge Factor and also Feed Your Brand, Pat Flynn was very helpful in terms of which equipment to buy and how to put together a timeline to set this up. My podcast is very narrow. It’s talking about California wine. I’m not talking about wine from all over the world. Find something you’re passionate about and do it. Invest a little money in the right audio equipment, try and find a quiet time or place to do it. Don’t hesitate. You’re going to make mistakes, but you get better like anything else as you keep doing it.
Have you thought about doing videocasts?
Videocasts, educate me.
The video version of the podcast. At some point, you’re going to be able to do these interviews live in a location. Wouldn’t you want to see that?
I’m in California quite a bit and that would be easy to set up, especially interviewing somebody in the middle of the vineyard or in the tasting room.
It’s a sound challenge. You have to have the right equipment for that. You don’t have to do every single episode like that. You could do one a month or something. They can come up when you’re in California and then distribute them out once a month. With those, you don’t have to heavily edit it because people are forgiving because people livestream all the time.
That sounds great. Another great tip from you.Time management would be a challenge if you would like to start a podcast business where you are in charge of everything. Click To Tweet
That’s the one thing I wanted to do. I was like, “I want to see where he is. I want to see what this looks like.” You described it so well but I was like, “There’s got to be a visual somewhere,” and then there isn’t. I can’t find an image. Through your Instagram, maybe I’d be able to find some if I was connecting the pieces. Because I didn’t find the episode from your Instagram, to begin with, going back through your Instagram to look at the images is hard.
I haven’t done any video casting, but it’s something I can certainly do.
It would be a lot of fun to see that. I keep thinking that maybe in the future, there’s got to be wine tours because I want to come along with you. It sounds like fun. You are fun. Maybe you can have wine tours in the future when you make your trips. Take a group of people on the road with you.
You’re giving me a lot to think about here.
Readers out there, message Chuck. Let him know that you’d like to go on the road with him because once you listen to his show, you’re going to see or hear exactly what I mean. I was like, “I don’t know enough about wine and that area of California.” I lived in Northern California for a period of time. I lived closer to Pleasanton and Oakland area, so not quite the Napa area. I maybe made a couple of trips. Compared to where I am now, that was an easy trip to make and I should have done it because I feel like I missed out on listening to your show. That’s when a show is great, Chuck, when you’re making me want to do something that I didn’t even know I wanted to do.
I appreciate that. That’s the goal. I hope I’m doing that on a weekly basis. Thank you.
You’ve got the mission accomplished there. Keep going. Keep doing it. Is there any advice that you want to give to the audience about, not podcasting in general, but staying connected, building your network and building your business amongst these challenging times?
During COVID, I was as safe as I could be. I was always out there trying to engage. Zoom’s been interesting, but there are limitations in terms of what you can do with Zoom. If you work in a bar or a restaurant, you can’t serve drinks through your laptop. For me, it’s always about making that personal connection. Whether it’s somebody that you think can help you or not, meeting more people can help you get you to where you want to go and then help them along the way as well.
I’m constantly out there. I want to talk to everybody. I want to meet everybody. You might not get a sale or wine listing every time you’re meeting with somebody, but that somebody could be super interesting and can be your best friend six years down the road after knowing them for a period of time. Keep throwing yourself out there.
Tell us one of your favorite wines that you sell. Now everybody’s like, “Now I’m thirsty. I would like to have a glass of wine.”
We’ve got some great winemakers that I work with. In terms of distribution in the United States, walk into a Total Wine or a store and grab a bottle of The Federalist. It has great imaging, great packaging and great storytelling. It’s all about the United States. The juice is from California, but they’ve got so much going on, on the label. Once you open that bottle, whether it’s a Chardonnay, Zinfandel or Cab, they’re great quality wines with barbecue on its own or whatever. The Federalist would be my shout out and Bryan Parker is the winemaker.
I’m glad we could do a little shout-out here and give our readers something else to think about besides podcasting for a change. Chuck, I’m so glad you came on my show and you reached out to me and we got to meet each other. ON THE ROAD with MR CA WINE, Chuck Cramer. It’s a great show. Thank you so much for bringing your podcast to the world.
Tracy, thanks for having me on and keep doing what you’re doing because I love this show.
Chuck is on such a path that’s so good with a good quality show, with a great topic that people are very interested in. There’s a large audience base. Maybe it hadn’t occurred to them all to get on podcasts, but there are videos too. He’s got all of that going on for him. There are monetization strategies that are capable here. There are so many different ways that he could go about it. He can get a large sponsor, tourism boards, wineries, all kinds of things that he could get sponsorship from. There’s another model for him here and that is featuring his own wines on the show, highlighting featured wines, and offering that up as paid spots. At a minimum, it can help offset the cost of production, but also bring exposure and sales in a way that you didn’t know.
If you have this style show, there are so many alternative monetization options that you should think about and evaluate before you dive in with the common thing of taking ads. You also ought to think about doing what Chuck has done here. He’s waited until he has had a decent number of episodes to dive into that deeply. You don’t want to do it too soon. It can make your show look like a sellout. It can also degrade the value overtime when they don’t see the ads recurring. It makes people wonder, “What happened there? Did the advertiser drop you?” In reality, it was a one-time jump shot that you did to jump your show and get it started. You managed to convince a friend who might advertise on it.
The timing matters. Right now, as his show is growing, even though it’s not at such a huge high yet, it’s on its path and it’s got good traction and reviews and shows. There’s a little bit of fear missing out if you’re a winery. That’s important in there as well. All of that bodes well for an alternative monetization strategy, and look at what’s going to be most beneficial for my show, my listeners and my business. When you combine all of those together, screen that against, and then how does the advertiser or sponsor benefit, now we have a formula for making it work. That’s exactly where Chuck is right now.
I look forward to seeing what he does next. We’ll have to have him back on when he’s out here in California. I would like to go on a trip with him. Wouldn’t you? That’s in his future too. Who knows what alternative monetization ideas Chuck Cramer is going to come up with. You’re going to have to go check out, especially if you’re interested in wines and you want to hear all about it, but also because you want to hear such a highly produced wonderful show. Go listen to ON THE ROAD with MR CA WINE.
If you would like to be on the show, don’t forget that I’m always featuring new Binge Factor podcaster or podcasters who aren’t sure if they have a binge factor or not. Maybe you’d like me to psychoanalyze your show. I’m always happy to do that. Just apply at TheBingeFactor.com and I look forward to evaluating your show and checking you out and hearing what you’re offering. If you haven’t started your podcast yet, listen to the advice from a lot of the podcasters that have been on my show, including Chuck Cramer’s “Just get started.” Until next time.
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