When you visit Death Wish Coffee’s website, you’re immediately welcomed by a strong promise — “Wake Up with the World’s Strongest Coffee.”
A bold claim for any coffee company, Death Wish Coffee’s proposition is surprisingly true; they infuse their coffee with twice as much caffeine as your average cup of joe. They do so to help passionate people make their mark on the world, especially when they need to grind through a long day.
To connect with their edgy, caffeine-loving audience, Death Wish Coffee launched a podcast called Fueled By Death Cast. The show delves into the lives of well-known performers, athletes, business leaders, and more about what they do and why they do it. The ultimate goal? To inspire their audience to make their own mark on the world.
Death Wish Coffee’s show has made a memorable impression with their audience — and you can too. Read on to learn more about their podcast journey as well as five key lessons learned about how to grow and scale a binge-worthy podcast.
Death Wish Coffee has interviewed everyone from musicians, filmmakers, and comedians to professional athletes, CEOs, and even astronauts on Fueled By Death Cast. Needless to say, they’ve clearly interviewed a wide range of guests on their podcast. The common thread? Passion.
Death Wish interviews a diverse mix of professionals from a variety of industries because it brings a slew of perspectives to the show. This makes for a more stimulating, refreshing listening experience. It also helps attract an array of listeners. After all, they’re a coffee company — almost anyone from any background can consume and enjoy their product.
For your show, you definitely want to vet which types of professions and industries fit the bill before you start lining up guests to interview. But don’t be afraid to get weird and interview someone with an unconventional profession or someone who works in a non-traditional industry.
“For your show, you definitely want to vet which types of professions and industries fit the bill before you start lining up guests to interview.”
In fact, HubSpot launched an entire podcast about the people who do weird work for a living. And for a B2B brand that’s famous for creating practical, tactical content, the unconventional show has been a smashing success.
From Bill Burr to Wyclef Jean, Death Wish Coffee has interviewed some big-time celebrities on their podcast. Since they sell a high-demand consumer product, interviewing legendary comedians and Grammy-award winning artists allows them to spread their brand to the masses.
However, if your brand has more of a niche audience, you don’t need to follow Death Wish’s strategy to a T. Just take a page from their playbook and request interviews from the top thought leaders in your space.
While sending an outreach message to an influencer in your industry can seem a little nerve-wracking, remember that doing so requires no risk. The worst-case scenario is they don’t respond to you. The best case is you release one of the most interesting podcast episodes in your space.
To land an interview with a thought leader, consider asking your team and network if they have any connections to your preferred thought leader. Then, ask them to make an introduction. If that doesn’t pan out, reach out to the influencer directly; you might be surprised by the response. Be authentic and thoughtful in your approach, and make an effort to start building a relationship before any big asks.
Every now and then, Death Wish Coffee will replay their most popular episodes on Fueled By Death Cast. They fittingly call them reincarnated episodes.
These reruns pay Death Wish Coffee a lot of dividends, like hooking new audience members who haven’t listened to their most popular episodes yet, injecting loyal audience members with some nostalgia from their favorite episodes, and giving their team an occasional breather on the production front.
“These reruns pay Death Wish Coffee a lot of dividends, like hooking new audience members who haven’t listened to their most popular episodes yet and giving their team an occasional breather on the production front.”
To pinpoint your show’s best episodes, rank all of your episodes by key metrics like downloads, listeners, unique listeners, time spent, and completion rate, and then rely on your gut to determine which episodes are the most entertaining and worth a second listen.
Fueled By Death Cast isn’t a serialized podcast, so you can jump right into any episode without listening to the previous ones. This is convenient for casual listeners, but for their most loyal fans, Death Wish Coffee was missing out on building even more affinity with them by not leaning on storytelling.
To add a flair of narrative to their show, Death Wish Coffee decided to launch a mini-series about how iLEAD schools designed an experiment that will send their coffee up to the International Space Station. The goal of the experiment? To test whether coffee can help kill bacteria in your mouth in microgravity. How cool is that?
Storytelling is the most effective way to hold people’s attention, sear information into their memories, and resonate emotionally with them. So, if your podcast isn’t serialized, consider telling a short story over a span of multiple episodes like Death Wish Coffee did with their break-off show. It’s a surefire way to get new listeners coming back to your podcast and loyal listeners to check into your show as dutifully as any Tim Ferris fanatic.
Another mini-series that Death Wish launched on their podcast is their employee series. They’ve recorded over 30 episodes so far, and it sticks to the overall theme of covering how people make their mark on the world. But this time, these people are their employees.
Featuring your employees in your episodes can further engage your superfans, as well as the members of your audience who are genuinely interested in how your company operates. It also lightens the load of guest outreach for each episode.
If you want to feature employees on your show, publicize the opportunity within your company. From there, create a signup form on Google Forms so you only request interviews from the people who expressed an interest in joining the show. You don’t want to force anyone to do an interview with you, especially if they’re microphone shy.
On their journey to brewing the world’s strongest coffee, Death Wish Coffee has brewed one of the strongest podcasts around. And if you can apply the five lessons extracted from Fueled By Death Cast to your show, your audience might just have to drink their cup of joe to your podcast every morning.