Billy Procida likes sex, and he’s not afraid to talk about it.
He seems to have lots of it – reverse gangbangs (I’ll explain offline), fourgies, “blowbangs,” you get the picture – and it’s both his job and his duty to keep you abreast of his (mis)adventures.
As a stand-up comedian in the game for 8 years, Billy says he gets lots of inspiration from things outside of him, around the city: people talking on the subway, first dates, talk of what’s trending, and so forth. But it was an internal struggle that led to one of his most successful projects yet: a “sex-positive” podcast.
“I had this very weird problem where women would sleep with me, but they wouldn’t date me,” Billy says, “Which, for most people, they don’t see that as a problem, and for me, I’m a hopeless romantic. I love sex, but I also love love, I don’t think those things have to be mutually exclusive, but I kept striking out with that.”
The result? The weekly podcast, called Manwhore: A Sex-Positive Quest for Love (http://manwhorepod.com/iTunes) , where he talks to women he’s hooked up with and covers topics like sex, dating, sexuality, feminism, love and gender. Plus! Special guests, like sex educators, porn stars, sex workers, queer performers, and a stand-up comedian once-a-month as well.
“I started the show partially to maybe get some answers, partially to create something that wasn’t stand-up, and to talk about these subjects that I’m very passionate about. And, also, it’s a way to build a following,” Billy says.
After doing the podcast each week for more than two years, his show is now in the top 20% of all podcasts, carries an excellent 4.5 stars rating on iTunes, and has thousands of listeners. (The median podcast, he says, gets less than 200 listeners.)
Having an online presence to build a professional following isn’t new, and having a podcast may not always be particularly noteworthy. But. Dissecting the super-strategic choices Billy made to put himself ahead of the podcasting pack reveals some interesting tidbits that you can use, as you’re on your grind and considering if YOU should do a podcast. Here’s how he did it.
It’s about you, but it’s not only about you.
In order to fuel weeks and weeks of content, you have to build your work around topics that are truly interesting to you. You want larger conversations that you can dip into and provide a unique perspective on. When you walk into Billy’s recording studio (which, yes, is also his bedroom in Bushwick) you see books that reinforce that, wow, this guy is really into what he talks about each week.
“I’m not, like, an extravagant guy. There’s nothing real fancy around here. I spend more money on books than anything. I read about four things: New York City history, sexuality, entertainment, Jesus. I find Jesus, as a historical figure, fascinating.”
He finds his topic, sex and sexuality, truly fascinating, and the podcast reflects that. Basing it on this kind of internal motivation helps him keep it real, too.
“I don’t think of myself as a brand. I just think of myself as me. People listen to my show because it’s me, being authentic. I am not being a character. I’m putting my heart out there, I’m putting my life out there. I’m being vulnerable, and that’s what they enjoy.”
Keep the equipment simple.
Enjoy what you’re doing, but make some smart choices, from the title (“Let them know what it’s about,” Billy says) to the guests (porn stars = huge followings). Be a guest on other podcasts. When Billy guested on Guys We F****d, a popular podcast by Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher, he saw the number of his downloads and subscribers spike.
Billy also gives us permission to just do the social media platforms that interest us most.
“You do not have to get on all the channels, because what’s going to happen, you’re going to put out tepid effort on a lot of stuff. People are going to be able to see that you’re not really into it, and they’re not going to be into you”
Ask for support (when the time is right).
Billy was already a year into his podcast before he put up a site with a Paypal link, and doing it did skeeve him out a bit. Friends validated for him that he did good content, and did it regularly, and that it was worth it. On the very first day the Paypal was live, he received a donation from a fan. Cha-ching!
Subsequent support efforts, like Patreon, continue to help him fund the project and recoup his initial investment to get it off the ground. About 5% of his listeners contribute in some way each month, he says.
“The podcast is officially, as of June, profitable. I’m not making a shit ton of money, but I am in the black, and I’ve put thousands of dollars into the show,” Billy says. “If you have fans, they want to give you money. A lot of them do, they just need to know how.”
Just keep doing it.
With a strong topic and a strategic plan, you’re on your way. Keep going, and let the schedule keep you motivated, when you need it creatively.
“With stand-up, I go through lulls, and that’s hard. For me, the creativity is little more spontaneous. I’ll do my best to write a joke every day, even if it’s a bad joke, just to get something out. With the podcast, that’s a little easier, because I have a schedule. I’ve got a show that’s gotta come out every Wednesday. I haven’t missed a single Wednesday in 115 Wednesdays, and it’s just like, I gotta do it.”
The vast amount of creative outlets and energy here in NYC can help, too.
“The spirit of New York City can keep someone going, even if they’re tough times. It’s just a magical city. Sometimes it’s not for you, but this is a city for me. This is the place I wanna be.”
Do you have a podcast or other creative project we should know about? Hit us up: @ManhattanDigest. We may even feature you in an upcoming article. GRIND ON!