For many of us, we came into the podcasting world as a side hustle. We have our main business, and then we have our podcast either as a supplement to that or as a hobby. Either way, keeping up with these two things on our plate can be quite exhausting. Dr. Will Cole, a leading functional-medicine expert and the host of the GoopFellas and Keto Talk podcasts, shares how he keeps everything balanced. He recalls how he got started in the podcasting world, having been approached by Gwyneth Paltrow to have a spin-off of her Goop podcast. In praise of podcasting, Dr. Cole also talks about how podcasting has impacted not only his business but the entire health industry, and shares some ways to encourage people to listen and to monetize through building their brand.
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I have an interesting podcaster with me. I have Dr. Will Cole. He is a leading functional-medicine expert. I’ve been hearing a lot about functional medicine. He consults people around the world via webcam and locally in his Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hometown. He specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing health programs for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal dysfunctions, digestive disorders and brain problems. He was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the health expert for mindbodygreen and goop. He is the author of the book, Ketotarian, in which he melds the powerful benefits of a ketogenic diet and a plant-based one. You have two podcasts which you’re cohosting and hosting. Tell us about them.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m the host or co-host for goopfellas, which is goop’s first spinoff podcast off of the main goop Podcast. For people that don’t know, goop is the wellness and lifestyle brand of Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth and Elise cohost the main show and they came to me and my friend, Seamus, and said, “What do you guys think of cohosting this spinoff called goopfellas?” which is a playoff of good fellas. We’re wellness gangsters giving our perspective from a guy’s perspective on wellness, life, relationships, vulnerability, shame and all this stuff that we need to be talking more about as humans but also from our perspective as guys.
That’s a nice balance to having the girl’s podcast and the guy’s podcast.
It is the little brother to the goop podcast. It is the Yin and Yang. I love it. We’re having cool, provocative conversations about transformation on all levels and all different manifestations of transformations in people’s lives, health transformations, financial transformations, relationship transformation. It’s a cool conversation that we’re having. Every Wednesday, there’s a new episode. For the past few years, I’ve been hosting Keto Talk, which a new episode typically drops every Thursday. That’s when we get super geeky, talk about the ketogenic diet, functional medicine and any health questions people ask us. We answer them we live on the show. I co-host it with Jimmy Moore, who is the author of amazing ketogenic books. I’m also the author of Ketotarian, which is a mostly plant-based ketogenic book. There’s a Yin and Yang too because Jimmy eats mainly a carnivore ketogenic diet and I’m ketotarian.
That’s unusual because when you think of keto, you tend to think of a carnivore diet. That is an unusual edge you have there. That’s a nice balance. How do you like the cohosting dynamic because you’re doing it on both of your shows?
I love it. I like the group vibe. I don’t love doing things by myself.
You’re talking to yourself. It’s not as much fun.
My day job is not podcasting. It’s seeing patients. I primarily do my virtual clinic where I’m consulting people and giving them functional medicine guidance on their care. My team is everything when it comes to that. I couldn’t do that by myself. I love that reefing and brainstorming on how to provide patient quality care, being thoughtful and due diligence. I get that same back and forth conversations with my friends on goopfellas and Keto Talk. I love it. It’s different because goopfellas is a personal conversation and Keto Talk is more health and science stuff but still done in a fun way. They’re both different. They’re all expanding my comfort zones in some ways to always stay sharp, whether it’s on a personal level or a professional level. Both podcasts do that for me.Podcasts are making great ideas more mainstream. Click To Tweet
It’s your continual learning process too.
There’s search every week going on. Research for goopfellas, research for Keto Talk and research for my clinic. My clinic always comes first in my mind. I keep a good balance there. It definitely requires extra time in the evenings and weekends to prepare for the podcasts because they are intellectually and emotionally demanding in a good way.
How did you find time for that? Did you come up with this idea that you were going to podcast it with Keto Talk in the beginning? Did your team push you and you’re like, “How can I find time for this?”
I believe that God brought these to me because I didn’t even willfully verbalize it to anybody. It was Jimmy Moore asking me because there was a doctor hosting Keto Talk a few years ago. He said that the doctor is focusing on other things like, “Would you come and cohost this with me?” I said, “Sure.” I’d been on a lot of podcasts as a guest, but I’ve never been a cohost of any. I’m like, “Okay.” I had done that for about two years until goop came to me. Gwyneth and Seamus asked me to be a part of goopfellas. It’s a constant pushing of my comfort zones.
Your time-commitment and your comfort zone.
It’s making time and I have an amazing team here at the clinic that manages my schedule very well. We keep a good doctor to patient ratio so I can provide quality care for patients but still have time to do other things on the weekends. Basically, I’m recording Keto Talk on an hour when I don’t see patients during the week. Goopfellas is done normally on long weekends. I batch-record them mainly on Fridays and the weekends because Friday isn’t a patient day. It’s a writing day. I do a lot of writing and research that day works because I can go and knock out some episodes and we batch record them on weekends and stuff. It does allow me to do everything. I have an amazing wife who holds it down at home because I’m married and I have two kids too. The cool thing is with Keto Talk, if I’m traveling to New York or LA to record with goopfellas, typically I can take one of my kids with me. I could spend some one-on-one time with them too.
I was traveling to New York with my kids. I know how that goes. It’s exciting there for them. There are lots of new things to see. Early on, you’re in this new media where things are happening, where there are some interesting or funny things that happened to you early on that you thought, “This is different.”
The conversations are personal in goopfellas. It definitely is outside of my comfort zone because I am used to talking about health and wellness. That is my jam and it comes easy for me because I’ve done it for a long time. It’s good to challenge myself. I talked to a marriage and family therapist, world-renowned, Terry Real is his name, who does a lot of contributing as far as articles for goop. We had him on the show. He did a marriage counseling with me on the show.
Now, we’re stepping over our doctor-patient exposure.
The roles were reversed in a major way. I was the one getting help. To share that out in public was very uncomfortable for me but good. I wanted to do it. I went in saying, “I’m going to bring this up. I’m going to go outside of my comfort zone and get advice from one of the top therapists in the country.”
You got a chance to do that, why not?
He gave me some parenting advice, marriage advice and life advice. It’s a great episode. For people that haven’t listened to that episode with Terry Real, they definitely should check that out.
Whether or not you have this business persona or you’re getting real, that’s a choice that a lot of podcasters have to make. I found the ones that make it the more authentic choice for them, the one that feels the most comfortable for them do the best. Have you found that as well? Is that starting to feel more and more comfortable as you go forward?A definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, yet expecting a different result. Click To Tweet
I feel like every episode of both podcasts gets better because I get better on the vibe of it all and the balance of it all. I’ve done Keto Talk for a few years. It’s given me a lot of experience on time management, moderating and the flow of this show and stuff. I have to give Jimmy Moore credit on that. He has taught me a lot and given me a lot of experience. I give him a lot of credit for that. I can take that into goopfellas and do both.
How has your position as a host of a podcast or cohost in this case, and becoming a person of high authority, which you already were in your industry as an author and as an expert? How has it impacted your business, your marketing and your sales growth?
Podcasts are an interesting medium. We live in a time where it’s the democratization of people’s voices and media as a whole. Whereas growing up in the ’80s and the ’90s and some people earlier than that, largely it was the ABC, CBS, Fox, like the radio and television. That’s where people got their media and newspapers. With the advent of the internet and now in the 21st century, the medium of podcasts is very interesting to me because people are getting much information by many different voices and a lot of it is outside of the box. It’s unconventional stuff. It’s different perspectives that wouldn’t be mainstream in the sense of you’re going to see this on 7:00 news or 6:00 news.
Maybe not mainstream medical in your case as well.
Mainstream health advice has never been as vociferously, unconventional healthcare or functional medicine or these integrative thoughts or thinking outside of the box has never been vociferous in human history in a mainstream way. Podcasts are making great ideas more mainstream. It’s a cool thing. For me being a functional medicine practitioner and this is what I love. My passion is helping people with health issues, to give these thoughts is radical but to use food as medicine is still radical for some people. People are looking for different options because you could look at the statistics of health problems and the rate of autoimmune conditions, diabetes, cancer, anxiety, depression, brain fog, fatigue and mental health crisis that we have as a society.
You look at those rates that are growing by leaps and bounds and then you look at the amount of money we spend as a society. We spend more as a nation than the next ten top spending countries combined yet despite all that spending, we have the most disease. We’re not getting healthier. We have to do something different to see something different. A definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, yet it’s expecting a different result. That podcasts from a healthcare perspective, which is where my heart is, are getting this information out there. People love it because they know the insanity and people are not stupid. They can look at me like, “We’ve done this for X amount of years, spending all this money and look what we have to show for it?”
These voices that we’re bringing to Keto Talk and the voices were bringing on goopfellas about doing things differently, not just with health, but mental health and what it means to be a man in the 21st century and all this stuff. Let’s buck the system and say, “What’s the new paradigm to being?” Because how we’re acting in our relationships, how we’re acting with our healthcare and how we’re acting as fathers and moms, let’s be the best we can be. We can’t do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
If you had a traditional practice, which was only in your local neighborhood, we wouldn’t have the perspective that you have of the influence of what’s going on the coast and you wouldn’t get to hear all of that. You have a virtual practice as well has probably greatly benefited from that viewpoint exposure.
Certainly, that’s a fantastic point because of what I do is largely, even before the podcast is normally standing here and talking to people via webcam. I talked to all different walks of life and all different parts of the planet, Middle America, Central America or Eastern Europe, all these out of the ordinary places that are looking to get healthy and looking for someone to understand what they’re going through. I have been able to bring that experience over the past several years and do these podcasts and say, “I’ve seen a lot of stuff,” and not just healthcare, which is obviously number one for me, wellness and getting to the root cause of why people are going through what they’re going through but it’s human behavior.
It’s what people are looking for. It’s the conversations because I’m spending at least six months with somebody, if not a year and a half to two years working on their autoimmune issue or their hormonal problem or whatever health issue they’re going through. You get to know a person on a deep level. These are people that you would never necessarily get to meet if it wasn’t for the power of the internet. It’s cool that I have been able to get those experiences and that wisdom in a way to these podcasts. I didn’t even think about it. It’s when you live a life like this, it’s your life. As I live and breathe this stuff, I have this unique advantage in that way.
You didn’t set up the shows yourself, but you have to help grow it. What we like to do is hit on some lessons that might help other podcasters as well as hear your different way on how you do that. How do you book great guests? Are they handed to you or your team finds them? How do you get great guests?
On Keto Talk, we normally don’t have a guest. It’s only Jimmy asking me health questions and me answering them. I have had a few guests on the show like researchers and different physicians. We’ve had Carrie Diulus, who’s an amazing pediatric orthopedic spine surgeon, one of the few women surgeons in the country in that field. She has an amazing and brilliant mind. She is a colleague and friend of mine. I said, “Jimmy, I want to have Carrie Diulus. She’s a vegan keto eater.” This is like outside of the box, Keto Talk was meat-dominant in that way. I’m like, “We need to bring other people into the fold here and realize the ketogenic umbrella is way bigger than that.”Stay focused on what you're doing and be relentless in the pursuit of that. Click To Tweet
This was when I had already written Ketotarian, but it wasn’t out yet. I knew it was coming out. I thought, “I’m going to start this conversation to see what kind of buzz we can get or pushback we got.” It was a great conversation. She’s smart, one of the smartest people that I know. That was fun getting her on the show and going outside of Keto Talk is a normal formula, which had always been, Jimmy asks the doctor question and the doctor answers the question. This was like a conversation. We did that a couple of times. We did that with a researcher as well later on.
It was because it was relevant that it was working for you.
I wanted to break it up. The only guest on Keto Talk to this point and even because I said, “Let’s have him on.” He’s always gracious, “Whatever you want.” With goopfellas, it’s a collaborative thing. Normally, it’s me suggesting some people on my wish list. Seamus is doing the same and goop talking, from their perspective. It’s normally a collaborative thing. Some of them were friends of mine in the industry. I would text them, call them up and ask them. Sometimes I didn’t have any connections with them. Goop had some connections. Between me, Seamus and Gwyneth Paltrow and Elise, we worked it all out.
You can find someone who knows someone, but you’re always looking for relevant is what it sounds like, relevant or new viewpoints or doing something with the audience in mind.
In goopfellas, we want it to be well-rounded too. Obviously, this is called goopfellas. It’s coming from two guys’ perspectives. We wanted to have a lot of guys on the show to open up and allow guys to talk about wellness, relationships and all this stuff from a guy’s perspective. We also realize this is not a guy show in the sense of this is only for guys. A lot of our listeners in goopfellas are women and we want them to be part of the conversation too. It shouldn’t be super gender obsessed anyways. It’s coming from a guy’s perspective. We have a lot of amazing women guests on and it’s people that have an amazing story to tell. It’s a matter of who you are.
Do you work hard to increase your listeners? Do you mention it to patients? How do you increase your listeners?
I would never shut up about it. Every day, I’m saying it to somebody. I’m talking about it to our patients. We talk about it on our email list and talking about it on social media. We’ve been talking to the press about it. I’ve never stopped talking about the podcasts because they’re my little babies that I’m trying to expand their reach. I realize if I’m not going to talk about it, who’s going to talk about it?
You’re the first person who said that and it’s one of the most obvious answers. You have a team, I’m assuming that it’s producing it. Are you producing it internally or are you using an agent? How are you producing it?
Goopfellas is produced by Cadence. They do Pod Save America. They do the main goop podcast. They do Melissa Hartwig Urban, a friend of mine, the Whole30 creator. They do The Thing podcast. They do amazing podcasts. Keto Talk is produced in-house. He has a freelance producer that he works with but Jimmy does a lot of the editing and his team does a lot of the editing too.
Do you think it’s important to produce professionally?
Yeah, I think so. You are going to want somebody that knows what they’re doing. I’m assuming I’ve never done it myself, but you could figure it out. YouTube it and tinker it around and figure it out yourself. You’d probably be wasting a lot of time. I see a lot of people that are even doing it solo, by themselves. They know they’re going to get somebody to do this. Being a guest on so many podcasts, I get to see how people do things over the past years. Most people have a producer, even if it’s on their team, they normally have somebody that’s a pro at doing this.
In full disclosure here, I am a producer. I own and operate a production company. That’s why we asked this question to understand what other people do and what they’re looking for. You’ve got your listeners. You’re out there telling them about it. How do you encourage them to talk back to you? How do you encourage them to ask questions?A brand should be a manifestation of what you're trying to do. Click To Tweet
My love and my passion with my patients, I love asking questions because I want to get to the root cause. I want to get past the perfunctory. I want to get past the fluffy talking points. I want to get to the heart, the meat and the root of why somebody is going through what they’re going through and what is life like going through what they’re going through. When you are consulting, which is again my main focus with patients, it’s hard to encapsulate ten years or fifteen years or twenty years of going through a health problem when you’re first meeting somebody. I know the avenues over the years of doing this. I’m like, “Let’s get past this stuff to get to the core most important root of why they’re going through what they’re going through and asking these questions.” It is my consultations for over the years and functional medicine that has I believe helped me be a better podcaster because I’m asking questions and getting past the perfunctory on goopfellas. That’s the main thing. It’s curious. It’s being inquisitive and wanting to know more about them. I tried to think of it as, “What would the listeners like?” Even if I may even know the answer to it because I’ve done research on the guest, I will ask the question because that’s what people would be thinking about.
They would be mad if you didn’t ask the question and they will not reach to you and engage with you because they’re not happy with you. You’re not directly monetizing your shows but this is a big question for someone who wants to start a podcast, what is the best way to monetize it? Are you seeing money flow back? goop is selling a lot of products. Podcasts have to be useful for them, but are you finding it useful for you? Are you monetizing your show in terms of making money in your business?
It’s making people more aware of what I do. We have a lot of content on the website. We have video classes on the website. We have different natural medicines that I formulated on the website for certain people. I formulated an adaptogen with Agent Nateur, which is a natural wellness brand out of LA. That’s something that I am passionate about and I love them and they’re higher quality things.
Do you advertise for them on your show?
No, I don’t. It’s through me focusing on the conversation, people are more aware of what I do. I’m assuming that some people go to the website. I’m assuming that people go and look for it. In that way, it’s good. I’m doing the podcast because I feel it’s providing good quality content. It’s not my day job. To me, it’s like I love talking with people. It’s like, “I get to do my job and I get to talk to people and people will be at a podcast in different ways.” I have another book coming out. It’s called The Inflammation Spectrum. I realized the more conversation we’re having in the podcast could help the book. The books are great because they are not necessarily people that want a functional medicine doctor, but there is still so much good wellness and functional medicine stuff in the book that it can help more people. Both shows, Keto Talk and goopfellas, the books, what I’m doing with my clinic, it’s all about helping people and elevating people and being a better version of themselves.
In the end, it is monetizing through building your brand, building who you are and getting you to reach more clients eventually.
I see it part of a bigger infrastructural building. I’m not getting paid directly on these things.
Do you have a wishlist, someone on your guest list that you haven’t been able to get yet but you’d like to?
It’s Barack Obama. I want him on goopfellas because he’s into wellness. Talking about his transformation in his life, going from White House to being a private citizen again, it would be cool.
He’s a former smoker. That’s also interesting from a health perspective.
It would be cool. We would get amazing downloads.
Someone out there who are maybe considering starting a podcast, considering going out there and lending their voice to the world, is there any advice you have for them?
I don’t mean this in an Instagram, fluffy soundbite. I feel like people need to be authentic to what their calling is. Stay in your lane and stay focused on what you’re doing and be relentless in the pursuit of that and show up even when you don’t feel like it. Hard work is not always easy. You have to stay diligent and stay consistent. Consistency is huge because if you’re consistent, loyal to your craft and loyal to your passion, the next thing you know when you look-up for a moment, things will start manifesting in major ways. That’s the best thing you can do. It’s not sexy. It’s not like a quick fix, but it could take years to manifest it. I feel like that’s the best advice I could give to somebody, whether they want to do a podcast or build on anything they’re trying to build. What is a brand? A brand should be a manifestation of what you’re trying to do. It should be an authentic representation of yourself or if you have a company, it should be a representation of core values that are meaningful and positive. That’s what I try to do. Hopefully, it comes across that way.
Dr. Will Cole, thank you so much for being on the show. I appreciate it. Goopfellas and Keto Talk, you want to try it out and check out the difference from different shows. That’s what we’re always trying to expose here at Center Of Influence. Dr. Will Cole, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.
Thanks so much for having me.
- Dr. Will Cole
- Keto Talk
- Terry Real – Episode in goopfellas podcast
- Carrie Diulus – previous episode of Keto Talk
- Agent Nateur
About Dr. Will Cole
Dr. Will Cole, leading functional-medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam at www.drwillcole.com and locally in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He specializes in clinically investigating underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing health programs for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal dysfunctions, digestive disorders, and brain problems.
Dr. Cole was named one of the top fifty functional-medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is a health expert for mindbodygreen and goop. Dr. Cole is the author of the book, Ketotarian in which he melds the powerful benefits of a ketogenic diet with a plant-based one.
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