Noah Tetzner tells PBJ he’s a lifelong podcast listener. He’s 17 years old. Noah is also the host of The History Of Vikings podcast which he launched in April of 2018 and now gets about 50,000 downloads every week. And, yes the kid is making money. Noah recently launched a second podcast called Stories of the Second World War. Here’s our spotlight on Noah Tetzner.
PBJ: How did you get into podcasting?
Noah: I listened to a lot of podcasts with my dad. He is the one who got me into it listening to business podcasts. We listened to Smart Passive Income podcast with pat Flynn and the Solopreneur podcast with Michael O’Neil. Eventually, I started asking myself, “Could I start a podcast?” It would have to be a history podcast because that’s what I am interested in. I didn’t know if anyone would listen. I did some research and found that the history podcasts out there — and there are some great ones — but I felt they weren’t doing the material justice. Many history podcasts are script read-and-written like an audiobook, but I wanted to bring history to life. I wanted to have engaging discussions and make history relevant again. I hope I’ve succeeded at some level with both of my shows. I just decided on a topic in history to talk about quite randomly. Vikings always fascinated me so I said why not start a podcast about it.
PBJ: How did you become interested in Vikings?
Noah: I’ve always loved history but I was playing a video game that had some elements of Norseman mythology and that sparked my interest. These mysterious warriors who worshipped pagan Gods and had strange rituals in the arctic north. I did some research and got everything together. I think it is a fascinating time period in history and with the show on the History Channel doing well and books being published, Vikings are more popular than ever before. I think it couldn’t be more timely to be podcasting about it.
PBJ: How did you get the word out when you first started?
Noah: Unlike many podcasters, I knew I wanted to grow my show quickly, and fortunately for me that’s what happened. When I first started my podcast there were two ways I grew my show. My show is sponsored by other history podcasts. I would pay various history podcasts to mention my show at the beginning of their shows. Being a teenager, I did not actually have that much money to spend, and so that worked in my favor. I also guested on numerous podcasts. I was on about 20 other podcasts after I launched. That has really helped with the downloads. In my first five months I was doing 10,000 downloads an episode, 50,000 downloads a week, because I was using these marketing strategies. It comes down to relationship building. Despite the guesting on other shows, it comes down to relationship building. I would just ask people. There’s no harm if they deny you. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. I also have connections with YouTubers who have massive followers in history. I would bring them on my podcast as a guest and they would put an announcement video on their channel saying they were a guest on my podcast. That was worthwhile. I got a considerable amount of listens from those shout-outs. It’s all about asking. In this case, think win-win when you are collaborating. You can do a simple exchange of plugs where you record a 30-second promo about your show and somebody else does the same and you put them on each other’s episodes.
PBJ: All that seems like it would take a lot of time. Aren’t you still in school? Noah: Fortunately for me, I’m home schooled and I’m a senior. I do work for my dad’s small business, so the time is flexible. I wouldn’t say it’s as time-consuming as one might think, but then again for me it’s my passion, so it never seems like work. I spend a few hours a day preparing for interviews. I will be releasing my first published book — then I can work towards podcasting full-time.
PBJ: With that many downloads you must be making some money?
Noah: Yes. I have had various sponsorships in the past and I continue to do sponsorships. All of my energy has been focused for the past month on getting my own products out there. I would love to be able to utilize the large audience I have to create products of my own that I have total control over.
PBJ: Can you be more specific about the sponsorships?
Noah: Advertising. Companies who sell Viking-related products or history-related products like medieval swords etc. They pay me to mention them on my podcast.
PBJ: How much do you charge?
Noah: It varies. Typically I get $200 to $250 an episode at this point.
PBJ: What advice do you have for other young people interested in launching a podcast?
Noah: First and foremost, just launch it. I had this idea for almost two years before I did it and I’m so glad I just did it. People worry if anyone will listen but that’s in your control. If you want people to listen, they will. It’s about doing the right marketing, getting the word out, and promoting. By the way, you don’t have to pay money like I did — there are other ways. For my second podcast, Stories of the Second World War, I have collaboration after collaboration lined up. The audience numbers are growing like a weed and I’m not spending any money promoting that show. Podcasting is an awesome way to share what you’re passionate about with the world. It’s an interesting form of media unlike YouTube in that it’s an engaging and welcoming platform. When you start, you will be welcomed into the community.
PBJ: You have a bunch of collaborations set up for your Second World War podcast. Who are they and how did you line them up?
Noah: Because I have a prolific first podcast, I’ve made many connections with fellow history podcasters, YouTubers, and scholars. What I’ve been doing is taking advantage of those existing connections and utilizing them for the second podcast. Because I have already built The History of Vikings, I have a reputation. The audience for Stories of The Second World War is not huge by any means, but I can say I have a successful podcast called The History of Vikings and that will help me grow my new podcast.
PBJ: You mentioned you have scholars from Harvard and Yale. Are you going through their phone directories and calling them to be on the show?
Noah: I find the guests in a few ways. Perhaps they’ve written a book, that’s one way I get them on. I also listen to a lot of BBC history broadcasts and they bring on scholars, so I reach out to them. I just email them. I talk about my audience and the community around the show. If they have a book, I will say we can mention it and talk about it and put a link in the description. I have gotten 80% yes’s when it comes to being on the show.
PBJ: Tell us about your studio.
Noah: It’s very simple. It’s in my room at my desk. I use a Heil PR 40 microphone, a Mackie Mixer, and record everything through Zencaster. It was a lot of trial and error. It took two hours just trying to figure out how to hear in my mic and headphones. I use Podcast Websites as my hosting company. Somebody who is not so technically inclined like myself, the idea of starting a website to go with the podcast was a massive headache. They gave that to me wrapped up in a bow. It’s been great. They are the best in the business.