Human Nature Didn’t Change When Humankind Went Online

In August 2020, Ben Greenfield pitched my podcast editing services on his show. If you don’t know Ben Greenfield, suffice it to say he’s kind of a big deal in certain health and fitness circles.

I had taken the gig editing his show in 2018, and while I was satisfied with the job, I felt it was time to expand my clientele. So in exchange for a service I did outside of the normal editing and producing the podcast, he pitched my services on two episodes of his show – both of which were downloaded ~70,000 times.

When I was writing the copy to send him to record the ad, I thought of ways I could be a little bit different from others in the online space. I thought, what would most people in my position do? They would probably prepare some sort of report on how not to suck at podcasting, then have listeners go to a landing page to collect email addresses from which you pitch your services.

That’s all well and good. And I did have a URL for people to go to that Ben mentioned. But I did something else that most people in that situation wouldn’t do.

I had him read my personal cell phone number on the podcast.

Ben thought I was insane for doing that. He thought I would get inundated with calls.

His concerns are not unfounded. You share your phone number with 70k people – twice in one weekend – and I suppose anything can happen.

It turns out that I did receive many phone calls as a result of the ads, but by no means was it overwhelming. If anything, it was just the right amount. And a few of the people who called are our clients to this day. Notice I said “our”; meaning business is good, so much so that there’s more than just little ‘ol me editing and polishing podcasts.

The lesson here is that people still love the physical contact, even if it’s simply talking to a live person who answers within three rings of the phone.

5-10 years ago, when people were trying to make out what to do with all this online commerce, podcasts, ad selling and what not, it seemed to be a source of pride to withdraw the human element. “The dream” that people were living it seemed was to detach from one’s clients, or would-be clients.

As though 6,000 years of human hardwiring is going to be undone just because we can send emails and stream radio shows on a cell phone.

This is why – and Covid especially taught us – that there’s no replacement for physical contact, or physical stuff. Print newsletters, snail mail, or simply speaking to someone on the phone never gets old – and will certainly never be replaced by Instagram.

If you want to set yourself apart from others, think of what everyone else is doing – or not doing – and do something completely different. It could be that the old, forgotten way is the way to go.