Welcome to the 100th episode of the Unstoppable CEO Podcast. I’m your host, Steve Gordon. Today, I want to share with you the lessons that I’ve learned after doing 100 episodes of this podcast. I think you’re going to find it fascinating. I think for those of you who are considering adding a podcast to your marketing, you’re going to understand where it really fits in. If you’ve never even contemplated, maybe now after hearing this, you’ll see where a podcast might help your marketing. So we’re going to dive into that and really break down what you can gain by having a podcast as a part of your marketing.
So, 100 episodes, almost all of those interview episodes, and through that process I’ve learned a ton about where a podcast fits in the overall scheme and system of your marketing. A lot of people look at something like a podcast because you can get thousands of people to listen to it, and they think that, “Well, that’s a great way to maybe generate leads.” I can tell you that, sadly, it’s not. If that’s what you’re looking for the podcast to do, it’s probably not the best vehicle to do that. There are a lot more effective ways to generate leads for your business.
The Two Roles of a Podcast in Your Marketing
Where a podcast really, really shines is in two areas. Almost everybody gets this wrong when I talked with them about podcasts. They really think it’s all about the consumption side. It’s all about the number of listeners and downloads, and all of that, that you get. Those are all great. We’ve been able to build this, show up to thousands of downloads, and it’s fantastic to have that every month. But that’s not where it fits. It doesn’t fit at the front-end of your marketing where you’re attracting people in.
Where the podcast really fits is in two places.
Number one: It allows you to build relationships with both influencers and with prospects in your market that you otherwise couldn’t easily build relationships with. And it allows you to get those relationships built and deepen then really, really quickly and very efficiently. Now, contrast that with the way that most people try and build relationships with influencers or with prospects, they waste a ton of time. There’s no leverage in it. They go around to networking events. They attend conferences and meetings. It’s not that those things aren’t useful, they certainly are. For a long time, large part of my career, I did nothing but that and was able to grow two successful businesses doing that. But in 2012, I realized that when I was going to networking events, most of the time the decisions makers, the business owners that I wanted to connect with, weren’t at those events. They were sending people to the events.
So I wasn’t even able to connect with the types of prospects that I wanted to connect with. The other people who were there were really all just there looking at me as though I was the prospect. They were trying to sell to me. So I just found that, while you can make that work, it’s difficult and it’s really time consuming. There was a time when I was spending 8 to 10 hours a week doing various kinds of networking, whether it was a breakfast meeting or a lunch meeting or coffee dates with potential referral partners. The return on that time investment was really, really tiny compared to the return on the time investment that I get from having my podcast where I can interview the people that I really want to interview. I don’t have to start a rung or two below the decision maker; I can go directly to the decision maker. I can go directly to the influencer and say, “Hey, I’ve got this podcast. I’ve got this platform and I’d love to take all the wisdom that you’ve got around this particular topic and share it with everybody that listens to my podcast, all the people that subscribe to my platform.”
It’s funny when you ask that. It’s really, really easy. All of a sudden, to get someone who wouldn’t otherwise give you the time of day to drop what they’re doing and schedule a time to get on a call with you because you’ve now offered to promote them. I know that this works because I’ve gotten people onto our podcast that I didn’t know prior to inviting them on and that were at another level in the business celebrity world than where I’m at; and the people with much larger audiences with much more influence. It was really, really easy to do, to be perfectly honest with you.
Now, you don’t have to get business celebrities onto a podcast to make it work. We got a lot of clients who are using a podcast just to do that kind of networking but do it on a local or regional level where they’re connecting with the key people in their market locally. It’s giving them tremendous status, tremendous authority within their market because all of a sudden, they’re the one with the podcast. I had a client tell me recently that he had interviewed someone and that person runs a networking group. She invited him to attend the networking group. He attends and she introduces him as the host of this podcast which is focused on the business community in Boston where he’s located. He had a line of people around him wanting to talk to him after he was introduced because they wanted to find out how they could get on his podcast. In fact, he even had a couple of people offer him money, like, “How much is it going to cost me to get on your show?” because he had this platform.
Now, I can tell you, I know the numbers. We run this podcast. He doesn’t have thousands of downloads yet. He will get there over time, but he’s not there yet. He just has this platform. He’s only done maybe a handful of episodes. So that’s the power of simply having the platform. You don’t even have to be at a point where you’ve got a huge following. It doesn’t matter. The fact that you’ve got this platform makes you different. It allows you to go out and network in a way and show up in a way in the lives of influencers and in the lives of potential clients, people you want to build relationship with that will ultimately support doing business in a way that no one ever has shown up for them before.
For most people, if you ask them for an interview on a media platform, on your podcast, that’s probably the first time they’ve ever been interviewed by the media in their career. Certainly, one of the few times that they’ve been interviewed. So it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. People are flattered by it, particularly if they’re not in the internet marketing crowd where they’re used to doing these things. But I get requests on a, I don’t know, weekly, every other week basis to be on somebody’s podcast. I can’t think of one yet that I’ve turned down. I jumped at the chance. Why? Because I get the opportunity to spread my message. So it’s in my own self-interest to show up on that stranger’s podcast in the hopes that I’m going to spread my message to someone that we can impact and maybe will, at some point, become a client of ours.
So that’s really the first key that most people miss with podcasting is that the number one place that you’re going to create value with it is in networking and creating relationships with people who are influencers, who can take that interview and then share it. By sharing it, they share you with everyone that they know, or directly with prospects that you couldn’t otherwise easily access. But by going in interviewing them about their success, you get access to them, you get to build a relationship with them, you get to create this great feeling of reciprocity, this great experience for them, that then you can use to take further and to deepen that relationship to the point that you can do business with them. But it’s a great door opener. In fact, I don’t think there’s a better door opener with a cold prospect than asking them for interview. So that’s the first key.
A Podcast as a Conversion Tool
The second key value you get out of having a podcast as we’ve discovered is that it is a tremendous tool for conversion. So I said at the beginning it’s not a great lead generation tool, but once somebody’s in your world and you’ve got this platform that they can listen to and they can hear your voice, and if you do interviews, they can hear you having a conversation with someone and they can experience what it would be like to be in conversation with you, because, ultimately, to do business with you, they’re going to have to get in conversation with you. You can give that experience ahead of time. You can use the power of the human voice to build relationship with them, to create trust, the feeling of trust and relationship without you ever meeting them.
What we’ve discovered is that it’s a tremendous relationship development tool with potential clients. It allows us to reach thousands of people every month and they hear the sound of my voice. I’m talking to you right now. So, as you can tell, it’s working. When you hear the sound of my voice and I can share an idea with you, I can share a new insight with you, suddenly now you trust me a little bit more because I’m giving you something of value. You hear my voice and you hear that, “Hey, he sounds like a normal guy. He sounds like somebody I might want to talk to.” You hear me in conversation with a guest that we have during those interviews. It’s as if as the listener, that potential client, is … imagine, they’re at a cocktail party. If you’ve ever been to a cocktail party where you’ve been the third person, just sort of on the edge of the conversation, two people are talking, and you’re there, but you’re not necessarily contributing to the conversation, but you’re listening. It’s like you’re in the conversation. You are right there.
Well, that’s the experience that every podcast listener has when they listen to an interview that you do. So it’s just a fantastic way to create familiarity and relationship and trust. What we have discovered over the last 18 months … It took us about maybe six months to begin to see this happening, but in our calls with potential clients, the first call that I’d have with them, we began hearing things like, “Yeah, I’ve been listening to your podcast for a while now” or “Oh, buddy of mine was listening to your podcast and suggested I listen to it, and I’ve listened to 20 episodes in the last week, and I just know that you’re the right people to help me.”
So we hear those sorts of things and we know that it’s creating relationship in a way that we weren’t able to do before. For those of you who’ve been around and been in our world for a long time, you’ll know that for about four years, I wrote a daily email. So we had really high frequency communication; got lots of compliments on the email. A lot of people followed it religiously. It was one of the things that helps grow our business at that point, but as good as it was, it doesn’t come close to the relationship building that we’re able to do through the podcast because of the power of the human voice.
We’ve just discovered that it’s just this tremendous conversion asset for us. It will take prospects, who come in cold, and it gives them the opportunity to spend hours and hours and hours with me. I can drive around town with them. I can be with them when they’re exercising or cutting the grass or going on a walk. I can be with them when they’re doing other things, because the medium is audio. It’s like radio. You have the radio on at the background as you’re working oftentimes. It allows me to own time that otherwise I couldn’t access to, because it’s an audio medium, because they can be doing other things with their hands or with their eyes while they’re listening. So I get to capture time that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible. I think that’s pretty powerful.
We used to do this a lot back in the old days with CDs. We’d send CDs out because people could put it into the car. We could send it to an executive or a business owner. They can put it into the car when they’re driving between meetings and we’d get access to that time. Well, podcast gives you that same ability but it’s so much easier to do and less expensive to do.
So we now know that we’ll get prospects to come in fairly cold, and they will go and they will binge listen to like 10 episodes or 20 episodes. When somebody listens to 20 episodes, they’ve just spent 10 hours with me. That’s a lot of time. How else can you spend 10 hours with a prospect? That’s a pretty qualified prospect after they’ve done that. So these are some of the things that we’ve learned over the last two years through these 100 episodes that really have us believing that this is one of the most powerful mediums that you have access to right now, more powerful than social media by far, and we think it is a perfect complement to what you might do like email marketing or offline marketing. In fact, what we’re seeing with a few of our clients who are investing in offline marketing to drive people to their podcast, that they’re just creating this really great synergy.
The Easiest Possible “Newsletter” (No Writing Required)
Then the last piece, and I think this is important as well, is it gives you a way to show up and be interesting over and over and over again. That’s really one of the hardest parts of effective marketing is figuring out, “How do I show up and be relevant and be interesting over a long period of time?” Well, the easiest way to do that is not to have to come up with all the content on your own, but to co-create the content with the people that you interview. So not only do you get the advantage of being able to create a relationship with that person, and we’ve seen those relationships, the ones that we’ve created through the podcast, we now see that those are driving consistent referrals from some people, because we interviewed them, we deepened our relationship, we’ve been able to do other collaborations.
Podcasts Lead to Massive Referral Opportunities
We’ve had some, where, in one case, I interviewed someone who had just done a webinar for an organization called SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, which is a big organization in the U.S. They’ve got a list of hundreds of thousands of business owners on their email list, and was able to get connected because of that relationship that I built through that interview, was able to get connected to the right person inside SCORE and do a webinar for them, which added thousands of people to our list and has driven new business for us on a smaller scale than that.
We have done webinars with anywhere from 20 people to a few hundred people for people that I’ve interviewed through the podcast, because, again, these are influencers. They have a network. They have people that trust them; that they’re communicating with. Some of them had been big networks; some of them have been really, really small. But we’ve done dozens of those now and added really thousands and thousands of people to our world, to our email list and been able to drive business from that. So there are all kinds of ways that you can take these relationships as you create them through a podcast and go and do things that ultimately generate leads for you and grow your business and drive referral. But it all starts with doing the interview. It all starts with having a platform and a reason for somebody to show up and have an interview with you. We just feel like a podcast is a fantastic way to do that.
So that’s what we’ve learned over the last two years and we’ve seen huge business growth because of it. We’ve actually dramatically changed our service offering as a result. Now, for most of our clients, we’re creating a podcast for them. We’re doing all the work for them. All they do is show up and they have these interviews and they create these relationships because we know that if we can remove all the technical backend challenges that for most business owners, they’re really happy when they can just show up and have conversations and build relationships with people that can move their business forward. They don’t want to mess with all the technical stuff. So, we’re big believers in it and we’ve really doubled down on it.
My hope, that as you listen to this, you begin to see how you can use a platform like a podcast to build your own business, whether you go off and do it yourself, whether you want to talk with us about doing it for you, we’re happy to have that conversation and see if it’s a fit. But it’s a powerful, powerful way to expand your network, to go connect with people who can help drive your business growth. So thank you for being here, whether you’ve been here for all 100 episodes, or if this is the first one that you’ve listened to, thank you for being here. We’re grateful that you’re here. We’re grateful for the attention that you give us, and we look forward to serving you going forward.
What I’d love for you to do as you finish listening to this is, as long as you’re not driving, stop what you’re doing for a second, send me an email, and if this has made any sense to you at all, if you understand how this might work in your business, send me an email. Let me know what you’re going to change in what you’re doing with your marketing as a result of what you’ve listened to here today. I’d love to hear from you.
Send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and stay tuned next week. We’ll be back with another great interview with a successful entrepreneur on the Unstoppable CEO Podcast. See you then.