How knowledgeable are you at Medicare? Diane Daniels, the CEO of Medicare Nation, talks about how she started her own podcast showcasing her knowledge about the health insurance program. Through her efforts, she has helped many understand what the insurance encompasses and clarifies many listener questions from it. Diane’s award-nominated podcast may not have millions of audiences, but you can surely learn a thing or two from its invaluable content. Helping Medicare agents along the way, her podcast reminds other podcasters that podcasting is all about delivering the message rather than gearing towards earning more.
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Podcasting Medicare Nation with Diane Daniels
I’ve got a We Go Health Award Best Show Podcast category nominated podcaster. Diane Daniels has a podcast called Medicare Nation. You’ll find out through the show, she actually has a couple of podcasts too. She’s the CEO of Medicare Nation. Diane provides superior Medicare education to thousands of senior citizens across the United States. Medicare Nation services also include Medicare plan enrollment and comparisons, health plan strategies, grievances, appeals, the whole nightmare that is our Medicare system. For anyone who is experiencing that for the first time with their parents or going through it themselves right now, you need some help, and Medicare Nation is amazing. I’ve listened to a few episodes. I learned some things myself I didn’t know. Diane is recognized nationally as a top expert in Medicare and she’s sought after to collaborate and write articles for the USA Today Insurance Company and Grandparents Magazine.
Her Medicare Survival Guide was published in 2015 and won the eLiterature Civil Award for a reference book. She’s a global consultant and talks to insurance industries around the world. When Diane is not educating and assisting seniors with Medicare, she is living along Florida’s beautiful beaches, playing pickle bob board games and traveling. I am so pleased to have Diane Daniels on and have her energy. She is another one of our podcasters who’s also going to be at She Podcasts. For those of you who are going to the event, you’ve gotten quite a peek at some of the amazing speakers that are going to be there. She’s going to be on one of the panels talking about monetization. I’m super excited to bring you Diane Daniels. Diane, thank you so much for joining me. I’m so excited to talk podcasting with you.
Tracy, it’s a pleasure.
The Medicare Nation, who thought that your audience would be on podcasting? Did you get a lot of people go, “They’re never going to listen.”
All of our podcasting friends say nobody listens to my podcast.
They say nobody listens? That’s not true.
It’s actually a smaller audience and I’m actually very proud of that smaller audience because they are extremely loyal, number one. My ROI with as small audience is just crazy. I’m very proud of the people that listen to the Medicare Nation podcast. It is growing slowly over time because senior citizens are obviously getting more adept at using their smartphones and they’re getting introduced to podcasting. Once they find it, they love it because it just changes their entire world.
It means you don’t have to wait around and tune into a radio show when it’s live. They can tune in whenever they want. Why wouldn’t they like it?
They love it. Once I sit down and explain to them, “You want to look up a show about quilting or gardening,” they’re like, “I can find that?” “Get on there.”Social media helps increase podcast listenership. Click To Tweet
When you started your podcast in 2015 and I started mine really earlier in that year and we were setting it up the tail end at 2014, so it’s the same timing. Everyone said that only the young people are listening to your show. Our show was on 3D printing. That was our first show. They said, “You’ll have the engineers and the young techies and that’ll be it.” The amount of retirees we had was so high, and I was astounded by the age range of our listeners. I thought, “They don’t know what they’re talking about. These podcast experts out there, they don’t know what they’re talking about.” There’s an audience for everything. Actually one of the most successful shows I’ve interviewed a host from is the Not Old, Better show and his is focused on entirely a 50-plus audience and he gets like 250,000 downloads. There’s an audience for what you do. What made you decide to start this podcast though, seeing there were detractors?
I only learned about podcasting in 2015. I had no idea what it was before that. As a Medicare expert, my goal and my mission is to educate as many people as I can about Medicare. I had published a book at the time called The Medicare Survival Guide. I just thought that was going to be great, that people could search on the Internet to find out about Medicare. They could find the book and get a resource. When I found out about podcasting and how I could just speak to everybody around the world about Medicare and whoever wanted to listen, I was like, “That is my platform.” That’s why I started it so that I could reach out to as many people that wanted to listen. I could talk as much as I wanted and they could listen to it and learn everything about Medicare.
It’s so smart because in a way it changes all the time. You need something where you can’t be waiting around to print a book on this. You’ve got to have something where you can be active in live because things change. I was spot listening to various ones of your episodes and I picked one of the episodes where you talked about the two vaccines for shingles. This is a hot topic among the aging community. My mom was just talking to me about some friends who got shingles and now she’s all afraid of it. I sent her your episode immediately. I was like, “There’s one that has a higher percentage of effectiveness.” I’m like, “If your doctor says it, pick that one.” I learned something from and I’m not on Medicare yet. There you go. I could support my mom in that. That’s really important. You’d probably get a lot of caregivers and a lot of people who are trying to figure out how to help their parents through this.
I do, and it’s so funny because in the beginning when I first launched, I was trying to speak directly to people that were 65 and older, not understanding how small percentage-wise of an audience there was. I had very small downloads in the beginning. I realized when I started doing some research that predominantly the major group of people that would be listening would be 35 to 54 years old, which make up 33% of the listeners on podcasts. I said, “Those are my adult children of senior citizens. That’s me.” I said, “That’s the sandwich generation.” I said, “I’m going to talk to them now.” That’s what I did. I started speaking to them as the people that had children themselves, they’ve got their parents also to make decisions and help them out with our typical sandwich generation. That made a huge difference and propelled the podcast.
I love that when you find your audience, and this is something that I encourage my listeners too on this show all the time, is that getting started, because sometimes we have an idea of what our audience is, but we could be wrong. I found that out and you found that out. We could be wrong with who our audience is and who’s really attracted to our show. We could learn so much more and then developed so much better books, programs, and other things that would support them. You started your podcast early on and there wasn’t as much support as there is now. What are some funny things that happened when you were launching your show or when you first got started?
The number one funny thing, it still stands now is that I’m technology challenged. Seriously, I had to have one of my good friends literally show me how to turn on the microphone. I just wanted to speak. I’m the Medicare expert. I could talk all day about Medicare, so just let me talk, but somebody else do whatever else has to be done with the podcast. I literally outsourced everything on the technology side and I was eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for like six months because I couldn’t do anything. That was very stressful and frustrating. I slowly started taking things back. I started writing my own show notes and then I had one of my good friends from our Florida Podcast Association start teaching me how to edit a little bit. I was slowly able to take everything back after about a year.
You got yourself educated over time and that works, but you are still starting, which is so different from so many other people. You’ve been you’ve been podcasting since 2015, but you have almost 100 episodes. Have you reached that mark?
That’s correct. I’m just almost at 100 episodes.
Do you have something big planned for 100?
Nope, none at all. I’m not worried about the episode number. I worry about my content and the quality of the content. Lucky for me, it’s coming up, which is the Medicare annual enrollment season, which starts in October. I’ll have plenty of excellent content for the changes that’ll be common for them in 2020. I’ll easily surpass 100 and beyond going through December.
You’ve got a lot of information to start talking. That’s great. What advice do you have for someone who wants to start out?
Whether it’s a hobby or as related to their business, if they really feel they have something they want to share, they should share it. They should get out there and start the podcast. Do not wait until you feel like it has to be perfect and it has to sound great and everything. Just do like I did. I just said I want to talk. I have a great message. I want to get it out there and I urge everybody to start. You’ll learn from your mistakes and you’ll just get better and better as you move along. Just get it started. Get your important message out there. You’ll be so happy that you did and you’ll start learning more. Whatever else you need, you’ll pick it up along the way.
This is the spot where I like to ask five questions. This is on the best ways to be successful podcasting. What are some of the best ways you found to book great guests?
Because I have such a unique show it was really weird that there weren’t many podcasts that were actually entertaining my type of guests at the time who were experts in Medicare or some of those national associations or for diseases like the American Heart Association, National Diabetes Association, Lung Association, things like that. I outsourced everything. I actually hired interview connections with just Jessica Rhodes in the beginning or the first three months just to get me started. Because she was like, I have no idea who these people are that you offer this podcast.” It was really difficult. Her and her fantastic team helped me out right from the beginning. Once we got a couple on and because I was very expert in my knowledge and easy to communicate as an interviewer, very conversational, just like you and I are doing here, Tracy, people actually started reaching out to me in emails very quickly. People wanted to be on the show, they had a lot of things they wanted to share and it’s just started building up very quickly.
That’s a wonderful way to get started. How have been some ways that you’ve helped yourself increase listeners?
To increase for listenership, it’s really important that you stay engaged on social media. You’ve got to let people know what you’re doing because you never know. The famous thing is you never know who’s listening. It’s the same thing with social media. You never know who you’re engaging with. You could just be putting out tweets and FaceBook posts and LinkedIn articles and things like that and all of a sudden you could get responses from people. Kevin Harrington was one of my guests and we talked about what can seniors do if they’re deciding they’d like to get into a second career and start a new business. Him being a famous Shark and being famous for his infomercials, he was just an excellent guest to have. Him from seeing my social media and through friends and other associates that I’ve been in in the Tampa area, we got connected and it was just great having him on. Just stay engaged with your social media.
I’ve had him on a couple of times because I’ve written some articles about him. He has such a broad background, so great guest for you. What are also some ways that you now that you’ve taken over the show and done it yourself, that you’ve managed to produce in a professional way.
I don’t know how professional it is, but I just do the bare minimum that I have to do that I know it’s going to be right. I don’t do anything exuberant. I don’t stress over it. It’s pretty unique. I just want to get great content out there. I just want people to be able to hear it and listen to it as clear as I can, and then just get it out there.
The sound clarity is important, but other than that, you don’t worry about it.
I’m telling you, I got to do as little as possible. I’m the perfect person. I could be a case study for all the newbies out there who are so about the technology and all this software and all the gear. I still use the most simple gear. I’m still using my ATR 2100. It’s a great microphone. It does it’s thing. I’m scared to change over equipment because I know what I’m doing now with what I got.If you are an authority in a niche, you should definitely be blogging or publishing a book. Click To Tweet
Don’t change. I’m going to tell you this right now. My partner Tom did a study on all microphones and the microphone that you’ve chosen, the ATR 2100, we use a 2005 but it’s a similar version. It’s just a little bit more pro version. I’ve had mine forever and it still has the best sound with the least amount of work on the editing side. Because it doesn’t pick up an environmental sound around you is easily, so your sound is clearer and so it makes less work, less time involved in editing. By buying a less expensive microphone interestingly, you’ve made it easier for you on editing.
That’s what I’m all about, Tracy. Simple and just get the job done. That’s all I want to do.
You talked a little bit about engagement, but do you encourage engagement in your community? Do you encourage them to ask questions? How do you do that?
On the show, I tell my sandwich generation, the big thing I tell them is, “Get over to your parents and show them how to get on Medicare Nation. Because number one, it’s going to change their life once they learn about podcasts. More importantly, it’s going to give you more time back for yourself and for your own family because now they’re going to not have to ask you a million questions about Medicare and their Medicare plans.” By listening to the show, I’ve got almost 100 shows, everything about Medicare on there. Everything they want to know can be answered by listening to Medicare Nation. I always have a call to action to have them show their parents how to get on Medicare Nation and then to help them search for all the podcasts.
You’re getting two listeners. I love that. You’re increasing listeners and encouraging engagement at the same time. I love it.
I want all podcasters. They can all thank me when we meet at She Podcasts because I am totally raising the bar for all the people that are over 60 years old. They’re listening to probably to everybody’s podcast now.
They’re getting excited. Thank you. Actually I was just about to talk about it. You’re going to be on a panel on monetization on the She Podcasts event in October. That’s how we got connected and I’m excited to see you there. What are some of the best ways you found to monetize it?
Even for veterans in the industry, they still believe like sponsorships is the way to go. That is so not true. There are so many creative ways to monetize with a podcast. People don’t realize if you get something that you’re not paying for, that is also a way that you are making money because you’re not paying for it. That’s one way to get out. Because I have a three podcasts now, Tracy. I’ve just got so much time on my hands that all I want to do is podcast for the rest of my life. In one of those shows, I rate and review different restaurants and I rate and review different activities in the Tampa Bay area. Many of the times, I will get that at no cost because I need to do the different activities. That doesn’t cost me anything, so I’m actually doing something for free and I’m rating them based on my experience, a truthful experience. That saves me a lot of money doing it that way.
What’s your show called?
That show’s called Weight Loss Nation.
What’s the other one?
The third one is tied again to my seniors. This is as geo niche as you could get. I’m literally doing a podcast on a 55-plus senior community here in Florida. That’s called Sun City Center Florida. It’s called Sun City Retirement Life. It’s literally about the actual community here in Sun City Center. I talk about the different clubs and the activities and the real estate and the community and everything that goes on here in Sun City Center.
You’re the second one that I’ve interviewed on for the Authority Magazine articles that has worked on a hyperlocal level. I love it because you’re covering that, but you’re also going to be putting out a lot of information that’s drawing your audience right back to your Medicare Nation.
Isn’t that amazing?
You got it all going in together. I love it. That’s so good.
To answer your question again, how people can do that is by a cross podcasting. Whether it’s your own podcasts, which of course I’m going to mention on Medicare Nation that they start listening to Sun City Retirement Life by going on other podcasts, that being a guest on another podcast and helping both podcasts bring their audience together is actually an excellent way to help increase your listenership. That’s a very good way to do that.
Has your position as a podcast host really increased your authority and then straight given you speaking opportunities, other things. What has it led to for you?
The first thing that I’m going to say is that if you are an authority in a niche, you should definitely be blogging or publish an eBook or a traditional book. When I published my book on Medicare, that immediately opened every door. I do speaking now all over the nation in regards to Medicare, not just at podcast conferences. I go to many conferences about aging and different conferences with regards to Medicare. It has totally opened that door. I am now recognized one of the top experts in the country. Publishing something, whether it’s an article in a magazine or on an internet site, on your own blog post, getting interviewed in the paper, publishing an eBook on your topic or an actual book will absolutely start that. With the podcast also, that just totally killed it now because now they listen to the show. I’m almost 100 episodes in, I’ve had unbelievable guests on the show. My knowledge content is insane, how much I know about Medicare. I think that’s probably kind of crazy, but I do. I know that.
It’s really obvious when you listen to the show, how deep your knowledge is, which is so wonderful. Because you know what the difference is that there’s a lot of people who do shows that are in a niche like that and you can see clearly that they’ve wrote a script, they’ve made notes, whether they’re in social media expertise or whatever it might be, and you don’t do that. You are just talking off the cuff. Your knowledge is deep. I’m sure you have a little bit of notes in front of you, but you’re not following them. You’re just talking straight from your heart and straight from your knowledge base.
I’m happy to hear that. Thank you. I never have notice either. If I do, it’s a bullet point for something that I don’t have much knowledge. Otherwise I’m sitting here talking with my hands right now. That’s exactly what I do.When you have a passion and you love what you're doing, everything else is going to follow. Click To Tweet
Me too. You and me both. It’s very common that I usually hit the mic at some points.
They say it’s an Italian thing, but I’m like a mud. I got so many different nationalities.
Me too, but I do have a lot of Italian in me too. That’s what it is. It sounds like your show is really a binge listenable show though. When somebody finds it, they need all this deep knowledge and information on Medicare. Have you found that to be the case and what do you think makes you special and really stand out from other shows that are about health care and retiring and things like that?
Number one, in 2015 I was the only show that was about Medicare in the whole country. My friends used to love about that also. Now there’s probably about a half a dozen and most of those podcasters have additional tasks in their occupation. They might be a general insurance agent that offers other kinds of insurance in addition to Medicare. They might be a financial planner who usually handles people retirement funds and try to guide them towards retirement, and then they also do Medicare. The difference with me is that is all I do. I am a Medicare expert and I consult with people across the United States. That’s another way of how I monetize the show is by asking people if they have any questions or they want to hire me as a consultant to assist them with their Medicare issues, file grievances appeals. As soon as I started asking, the emails started coming in asking for help.
You’re starting a new program that’s for insurance agents?
Yes, I am. That’s correct. In the fall, like I said, the Medicare season starts from October 15th to December 7th. The show, I’m actually starting a program to help Medicare agents that are in the same position that I was, where I was totally broke, didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I want to help them now to realize how they can overcome all the obstacles of sales and being in a commission-based business, not getting a paycheck or benefits and what to do about it so that they can learn how to serve their clients from their heart. They can work less hours but still make more money than at plenty of time for their family by making six figures and beyond. It’s going to be called The Kickass, Get Ready for AEP Program. If any insurance agents out there would like to have a conversation to learn more about that, they can certainly contact me.
That’s so important though, because when you’re in a group that is in a community or in a career that there are so many of them, like I go to this event in LA and what I found was that there was so many wealth builders that they call it wealth managers and they’re all the same and you’re like, “How do I know the difference?” How do I understand who has deep knowledge? How do I understand I’m with the right person? If you can’t build a one on one relationship with people that it’s just not physically possible, you’ve got to find a different way to go about it. You’ve got a great formula here. Wonderful. Are you everywhere at Diane Daniels or are you Medicare Nation Everywhere on social and other places?
I am on both. It’s always hard when are you trying to brand the business name or you’re trying to be a Nike or are you trying to be a Diane Daniel’s. You look at some of our famous podcasts. Did you look at John Lee Dumas? Doors on Fire. You say entrepreneurs on fire, you know he’s JLD, but then he can promote himself as JLD too. That’s what I’m trying to follow because Medicare Nation is such a great name. There’s no confusion. Everybody knows what the show is about. There’s no worries there. I want them to know that I’m the expert. When I’m talking and speaking, it’s always going to be Diane Daniels. When we’re going to be bringing in the show and that type of media, it’ll be Medicare Nation.
I love that strategy for you. Is there a really big guest, a big get that you’d like to have that maybe they might read the article and we might be able to connect you up with them?
I want Betty on my show.
She’s like one of the best actresses. She’s hysterical. I just love her to death.
Who doesn’t love Betty White? Who in that generation respects or the younger generation respects? She’d be a great get.
She’s a senior and she’s doesn’t act like one. She doesn’t look her age. She’s an actor. She’s just an absolutely wonderful human being. I’m sure she has some wonderful stories or some insight that she could help my listeners by her being on the show. She is definitely the one person I would love to have on show.
Let’s see if we can make that happen. Do you have any last bit of advice for anyone starting out, or anyone who wants to grow their show more?
Number one, they’ve got to be passionate about their subject matter. People should not be going into podcasting with the foremost thought that they’re going to be making money. It should be because you have a message that you want to give to your audience, your specific avatar. You get on there and start speaking and delivering your message. When you have a passion and you love what you’re doing, everything else is going to follow. It’s just going to happen. If you go in there and you think you’re going to be making money, and this is going to be your answer and it’s going to be your million dollar trick here, it’s not going to work. I’m not saying it’s not for everybody. Of course somebody accidentally slips into something and it could happen for them. For the majority of people, if you go in right from the beginning and thinking you’re doing this to make money, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
Thank you, Diane. That’s such great advice. I love it. Medicare Nation, Weight Loss Nation, Sun City Retirement Life, those three shows. Diane Daniels, thank you for being a center of influence in podcasting. I really appreciate it and I can’t wait to catch up with you at the She Podcasts event. Maybe we’ll have coffee or a drink or something together.
We absolutely have to have a drink together, Tracy. I’m sure you’ll be devastated that you decided to do that, but we’re going to do it. I’m telling you.
I look forward to it. I absolutely do.
About Diane Daniels
Diane Daniels is the host and producer of Medicare Nation, an Apple Podcast “Top 100 Podcast,” in the Government/Organization Category.
As the CEO of Medicare Nation LLC, Diane provides superior Medicare education to thousands of seniors across the U.S.
Medicare Nation services also include Medicare plan enrollment & comparisons, Employer health plan strategies, filing Medicare grievances and appeals, as well as consultation services for clients residing in assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
Diane is recognized nationally as a Top Expert in Medicare, where she is sought after to collaborate and write articles for the USA Today, Insurance companies and Grandparents Magazine.
“The Medicare Survival Guide,” published by Diane in 2015, won the e-Literature Silver Award for a Reference Book.
Diane is a global consultant of Medicare Market intelligence, for investment firms and strategy consultants in the insurance industry.
When Diane is not educating and assisting seniors with their Medicare, she loves to walk along Florida’s beautiful beaches, play Pickleball, boardgames and travel.
She is nominated for the WEGO Health Award in the Best of Show Podcast Category. Listeners can “endorse” her nomination by going here: https://awards.wegohealth.com/nominees/18127 and “clicking” on the thumb under her profile picture.
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