Do you want to know how to best proven remedies to build business with podcasts ?
Listen as podcasting expert, Steve Gordon shares his secret sauce to business producing podcasts.
In this week's powerful episode "How to Best Use Proven Remedies to Build Business with Podcasts" you will discover..
Susan Friedmann: Welcome to Book Marketing Mentors, the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas and tips from the masters. Every week, I introduce you to a marketing master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. Today, my special guest is a two-time entrepreneur. Steve Gordon is the best-selling author of Unstoppable Referrals: 10x Referrals Half the Effort and Podcast Authorized Turn Your Podcast Into a Book That Builds Your Business. He's the host of the Unstoppable CEO podcast and has published over 400 articles on marketing and sales for professional service firms. His firm, The Unstoppable Agency, helps consultants and digital agencies land great clients by hosting their own podcast and using his proprietary podcasting prospecting method. Steve, what an absolute pleasure it is to welcome you to the show, and thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.
Steve Gordon: Susan, thanks for having me. I'm looking forward to this. It's going to be a lot of fun.
Susan Friedmann: Podcast. I think podcast is a lot of what takes up both yours and my life, so let's go into some depth to help our listeners understand it better and understand the power of podcasting. Let's start off with, what are the benefits of podcasting? Why should we be podcasting?
Steve Gordon: That's probably the best way to begin looking at this, because the way that we came to using a podcast as what we think is one of the most effective marketing strategies really was we kind of came at it from left field. I mean, we weren't looking at podcasting as something that we wanted to do because we particularly love podcasting. But it's got a lot of qualities that really make it effective, particularly for a business owner that is already busy and that doesn't want to become maybe a master at all forms of marketing. It's a great way to really accomplish a lot of things with a minimal effort and that's the main reason that we now use it with all of our clients, because it just gives them such an easy way, without taking up tons of time on their calendar, to really get all of their marketing done with just maybe a few hours of work a month. To me, that's the ultimate reason to have a podcast, is because it gives you so much for such a little investment of your own time as a business owner.
Steve Gordon: That's kind of where we started from, but there are lots of other benefits to it. I mean, we use podcasts primarily as a way to build strategic relationships with either people that you want to do business with, potential clients, or with strategic partners or referral partners, people who have the relationships with the people you want to work with, who you want to maybe cultivate the relationship with that partner. I mean, we've just found it a great way to really get almost anybody in business on a call with you because they want to show up and talk about themselves and you're giving them a platform on which to do that, and that's just a really powerful way to start a relationship.
Susan Friedmann: It certainly is. I mean, I know just from interviewing all the experts that I have over the last four years, the relationship that I've managed to build up with all these wonderful people, people like yourself and many of the others who, before I had them on the show, I didn't know them and they were either referred to me or I saw them on somebody or heard them on somebody else's show. I think it's a great way. So, let's talk about this prospecting method that you have. Proprietary podcast prospecting method. That's a mouthful.
Steve Gordon: It is.
Susan Friedmann: But... Yeah. Let's talk about that. What is that exactly?
Steve Gordon: Well, one of the real challenges for a lot of the business owners that we work with... And we tend to work with people who would call themselves experts. They might be professionals, they might be consultants, and we work with a lot of folks in digital marketing. And one of the things that I think is true more or less across the board with them is that they've invested a lot of time to become an expert and then they feel a little bit uncomfortable going out and sort of beating the bushes and doing the prospecting in kind of the old way. They feel like, "Well, I'm an expert. That's kind of beneath me." What we do with the podcast is we give you a way to still be seen as the expert because you're the one that's hosting the main podcast in your industry, maybe. You're inviting people on, so you're bringing them on. You're not chasing them down trying to sell them something. You're starting the relationship from a position of power.
Steve Gordon: One of my mentors, he was a guy named Dan Sullivan who is the founder of Strategic Coach, and he has this concept that he calls "always be the buyer." And his point is that if you're the one that's the seller, then you don't get to set the terms. You're having to sort of pitch yourself. But if you're the buyer, the buyer always sets the terms. The buyer gets to decide who's a good fit, who's not a good fit, who gets in, who doesn't get in. Puts you in a different position. And the podcast allows you to do that because you now have this media platform. That gives you some authority, it gives you sort of some gravitas in the market that you're in, and it also gives you a place to invite people to come to, to start a relationship with you. And I think that it's a unique advantage as you go out and try and develop new business relationships.
Susan Friedmann: It certainly is. I mean, that's just a great way. I know that I like to do it because I want to help share marketing tips and techniques, practical things that our listeners can use. But I hadn't thought of it in terms of... You work with professional service businesses, so for each of them to have their own podcast, is that what you do?
Steve Gordon: That's what we do. In fact, I get asked all the time, "What would actually be better? Should I have my own podcast or should I go up here on other people's podcasts?" We did an experiment last year and part of the year before, and I actually hired a company to book me on podcast interviews like this one, and I did over 100 of them and we tracked how many new interested prospects came from all of those sources. And we did get business from it. We certainly made enough to pay the company that did the outreach for us and more or less made it worth my time. But we get multiples of that from hosting our own podcast, and part of the reason is when we're bringing people on to our podcast, we kind of control the environment. We get to lead the collaboration. We become kind of the leader in that situation. We get to then very strategically pick who is going to come on and who we're going to interact with.
Steve Gordon: When you're trying to go out and appear on other people's podcasts, you're hoping that you're going to get picked. You're hoping that they have the kind of audience that's going to be beneficial to you, but it's almost impossible to know that in advance. What we found, really from both sides of the podcasting world, is that the listenership of a podcast really is not where the value is. Going on a podcast in the hopes that you're going to gain a lot of new leads because they've heard you and all of a sudden they're going to come stampeding to your door and lining up... Just doesn't really work that way. One of the things that I think you need to understand about podcasting on the listenership side of it is that it can be a bit of a passive medium.
Steve Gordon: In other words, I can listen while I'm driving. I can listen while I'm on the treadmill at the gym. I can listen while I'm doing things in the garden. That's one of the great powers of podcasting because you can capture time with a potential client where they're going to listen to something like this. People listen to podcasts not just to be educated, but it's also entertainment for them. So, they'll listen to it in [inaudible 00:08:07] sorts of situations. But those are also situations where it's very difficult for them to take any action. So, if you've got a great call to action... We're going to share something later in this episode and some people probably will come and get what we're going to share, but most of the people who hear that aren't going to be able to because they're going to be in the car or on the treadmill or any other of the places that we've talked about.
Steve Gordon: What we've discovered is that podcasting by itself is not a great lead generation tool. All of the value that you're going to get from the podcast, or at least the majority of the value, is going to come from strategically connecting with the people that you want to connect with as guests. We call that focusing on the small audience, not the big audience. If you do that, you're going to get faster ROI. You're going to have a lot more success with it. And then, there is benefit in that listening audience. It's not a complete waste. It's one of the things I like about podcasting, is that we sort of re-use and re-purpose every little piece of it.
Steve Gordon: So, that listening audience is most often going to consist of people who are already in your network. Maybe they are connected with you on social media and you share the episodes there, or they're on an email list in your database and you're emailing it out every time you publish a new episode. Well, those are the people that are already closest to doing business with you because they're already paying attention, and the podcast does a really good job of nurturing those relationships and allowing you to really build trust and relationship at scale with everyone that's in your database. It's a great conversion tool, not necessarily a great lead generation tool. Hopefully that makes sense.
Susan Friedmann: It certainly does and I know that many people, right, like you rightly said, may be doing something else while they're listening. And I do always put in the show notes if there are any links. Like, I know that you have a free gift for our listeners and I know you're going to talk about that later, and we will definitely put a link in our show notes, so if people can't write down things or memorize what you tell them, it's right there for them. That's important.
Susan Friedmann: I'd love to dig further into that whole idea of re-purposing the content. Now, obviously, as you said, social media. You can post it on social media. But what else can you do with the podcast information?
Steve Gordon: We always start with thinking about the three types of episodes that we think every podcast that's done for business should have. And the first we've talked about, which are interviews with people that you want to build strategic relationships with. The second type of content are interviews with your existing clients, and this is a great way to capture just these incredible long form testimonials where you can capture almost an entire case study just by getting them on an interview, like a Zoom call, with one of your clients and just asking them questions about what was life like before they started working with you? What problems were they grappling with? And then, what was the transformation like? What's life like now? And so, that's one way that you can re-purpose things and create really great content and it's content that's most businesses, frankly, don't do a very good job of capturing. And then the third type of episode that we recommend you have are what we call solo episodes, where you're turning on the microphone and it's maybe just you and you're talking about your unique way of doing things or your ideas around how you serve your clients.
Steve Gordon: Then, you can take those three different types of content and re-use them in lots of different ways. So, the first and probably the most basic way that we will work with our clients to re-use a podcast episode is to use it in their email marketing. If they're not doing regular email communication to the people in their network or in their database, we want to get that started right away. Usually, we want to email that database every other week, at a bare minimum, and more ideal is actually to do it weekly. So, we'll take that episode and write a little kind of intro. We call it teaser copy, kind of teasing out what's going to be in the episode and enticing people to go listen to it, and we'll email that to everyone that's in their database. Again, we're nurturing those relationships, and most businesses don't do a very good job of that, so this is a really easy way to take that 30 minutes or 45 minutes that you spent on an interview and now you've got all the content that you need to nurture those relationships. That's the first way.
Steve Gordon: The second way is with social media. I see business owners all the time. They don't know what to post on social media. Well, you can take your podcast interview and take things that you said or things that the guest said... A great audio editor will be able to recognize where the interesting content is and clip that out. They can create little videos, even if it's an audio-only podcast. There are ways. They'll create little videos with animations and things that you can then post on social media. You can post the full episodes on social media as well. You can post them to places like YouTube. So, that's the other way that we do it.
Steve Gordon: And then, what I think is the most interesting way to re-purpose it is if you think about those solo episodes where you're outlining your unique approach to doing what you do... And I've never found a business owner that didn't have this. They just... Sometimes, they have trouble articulating it. It's one of the things we help them through. But everybody's got sort of their opinionated view of why they do the practice of their work the way they do it. They've picked up certain things along the way and they realize, "Well, this is the best way." If you think about all of the different steps in your process and you sort of outline those, and then you have your solo episodes. And maybe over the course of four or five or six solo episodes, you go through one topic at a time. At the end of that, you've likely recorded a book.
Steve Gordon: But you can take the content and then re-purpose it, have it... We're not a big fan of just taking a transcript and turning it into a book, but take those transcripts from your recordings and work with an editor or a writer that knows what they're doing and they'll be able to use that and create a book that really is in your voice, that explains what you do very clearly because you've said it, and you've written a book without having to do all the work of writing it. I've written five books. It's a lot of work. And you know as well. I mean, you've published lots of books. And I still write my books kind of the old-fashioned way, but for a lot of people, that's not the best way for them to go about it. They're not natural writers.
Susan Friedmann: No. I can concur with that. I've written 17 and you really have to... I've got a sign that says, "Bum glue." You've got to keep your bum on that chair and you've got to keep going with it very much. Now, those three different types of episodes, is there a ratio that you work? I mean, is it a two-to-one? How does it work? Or a three-to-one?
Steve Gordon: Everyone looks for the magic ratio and what I tell our clients is it really just... It depends. It's a sliding scale depending on what your goals are at the time, because the podcast really should be a vehicle for supporting all of your marketing and you want to be very strategic about how you do that. If lead generation is what you're trying to accomplish at the moment, then you might want to have more of your episodes be interviews and have them be interviews with potential clients. If you're really looking to create strategic partnerships, then you would want to focus there. If you are at a point where business is going fairly well but you've got people in your network or people who have maybe been interested in working with you in the past but haven't converted and you really want to indoctrinate them into the way that you work and your ideas, then you want to do more solo episodes. That'll change over time and that's perfectly fine to allow it to sort of morph over time.
Steve Gordon: I think people believe that they get... They start something like this and it's all got to be figured out and set in stone from the beginning, and I'm now three-and-a-half years into our current podcast. It's the second one that I've done. We've done a couple hundred episodes now and we constantly are shifting back and forth, depending on what the podcast needs to do to serve the business. And so, that's our approach to it.
Susan Friedmann: I like it. It's interesting because the solo part, I have just not done, and I know so many people that said, "You've got to do solo. You've got to do your own solo stuff." And... [inaudible 00:16:36]. Maybe it's because this is more comfortable at this point, doing the interviewing. But I'm going to re-think that. I think that's definitely something that I personally need to focus more on.
Susan Friedmann: Our listeners love listening and learning about mistakes and what they could avoid here, and I know in your prospecting, podcasting prospecting book, you talk about 10 mistakes. Let's have a few of them.
Steve Gordon: I think the biggest mistake that people make when they're thinking about using a podcast in their business is that they approach it as something that they need to figure out, and I tried this with my first podcast. In 2012, I started a podcast. It went well for a while. We did 52 episodes over the course of a year, so one a week. I connected with all kinds of amazing people. Those people ended up actually being the core group that supported the launch of my first book and made it a success. Without them, I never would have really been able to make that book the success that it was. And so, it was wonderful from that perspective, that our business grew as a result of some of those relationships. And I ran out of time and I didn't have a team that was there supporting me with the podcast, and so it just sort of fell by the wayside.
Steve Gordon: The biggest mistake that I see is that people approach this without building a team. There are lots of ways you can build a team. You can find a firm like ours that'll help you and take care of it for you and you completely just outsource it. You can find a group of freelancers that will help you. You can take people internally on your existing team and maybe they can help you. But you need a few different skill sets. You need somebody who can do audio editing and really knows what they're doing there so that it sounds good. You need a writer that can take all of the output and write summaries and social media posts and emails and things like that. You need a copy editor to make sure that all that writing looks good.
Steve Gordon: You need somebody who can do all of the back end technical work of getting it set up in your email marketing software and onto your website and scheduled on social media and all that sort of thing. And then you probably need somebody that can kind of run air traffic control on all of that and keep it all organized and orchestrated, because there are a lot of moving parts to it. But have a team. If you're the business owner, this is not business owner work. Your job is to show up, build those relationships. If it's a solo episode, get those ideas out, get your message out and that's it. And as soon as that recording is done, there should be somebody you hand it off to and let them take it from there. So that's, I think, the big mistake.
Steve Gordon: The second one that I think really keeps people from realizing the long term benefit is not committing to the long term, and I found this out the hard way myself with a podcast that lasted a year and then we stopped. I think back now to where we would be if I'd kept that going, all the relationships that I could have created through the process. I'd be six years ahead of where we are right now. It's scary to think, but we lost six years of really important relationship development in the business because we didn't have that as a tool. I really think you ought to be looking at a podcast as a very long term part of your marketing. When I started our current podcast, The Unstoppable CEO Podcast... It's been now, three-and-a-half years. I said I'm not going to start it until I'm ready to commit for a decade and we're going to run this as an experiment for a decade. And we're not quite halfway there yet, but we will be there. [inaudible 00:20:08].
Steve Gordon: And what we found is that the dividends from a podcast compound over time. We're able to now go back and pick solo episodes that I've done a year ago and we're compiling those into a series of kind of indoctrination content for people who come into our world and get on our lists new for the first time and don't know who we are. So, we've now got all that content captured to get them up to speed. We can use it in so many different ways, and so there really is a compounding effect to doing this over time. That'd be the second.
Steve Gordon: And in the book, I've outlined 10. I can keep going through, but I think the other... The third big one that a lot of people get focused on is they worry about their number of downloads and their listener counts and all of that. The vast majority of business podcasts are going to have a relatively small listening audience and that's okay. You want the right listening audience. You want the people that are already paying attention to you to listen to the podcast and to just continually hear your voice, to feel like they know you more and more with each episode and they're in relationship with you even if you've never met.
Steve Gordon: Have you ever had this experience? I've had this happen before. I've been at a conference and somebody's walked up to me and kind of flagged me down and said, "Hey, you're Steve. You do The Unstoppable CEO Podcast." I'm like, "Yeah, [inaudible 00:21:30]." It's somebody I don't know. It's been really interesting to see how the fact that they've listened to episode after episode of me makes them feel like they know me and we've never met, and it's just a pretty powerful way to build relationships.
Susan Friedmann: I love those. It's so funny because I was waiting for you to talk about the lack of commitment, because I know that that's such a big one, that people stop the podcast, and especially if they start as just a solo podcaster. They're the main event, and I think those die much quicker than ones that have the sort of this multi-focus to them. I love the idea that you're doing a 10-year experiment. That's quite an experiment.
Steve Gordon: That last point that you made is really critical. Years ago, when I first started our firm, we were big advocates of having all of our clients send out a regular email newsletter. I mean, we were dragging clients kicking and screaming to get an email newsletter done. And what would always happen would be they'd send it out for a few weeks in a row and then something would happen. They'd get busy and they'd fall off the wagon for a couple of weeks because they had a deadline, and then they feel embarrassed about that, and so they'd go another few weeks procrastinating before they got another one out. They'd get another couple of them out. Same cycle again and again. And they'd go through that maybe two or three times, probably no more than that, and then they just quit altogether and they didn't get any of the benefit of it.
Steve Gordon: And I think the same thing happens with podcasts that start off as being completely solo, because there's no external commitment there. So, here's the thing I can guarantee you with interviews that you do. If you book a call with someone that you perceive as a valuable business associate... They're somebody that you want to do business with or a referral partner, and it's on your calendar. You're going to show up. You will not miss that because the call is more important than the output, which is the podcast. And that's one of the reasons that I think this works so well.
Susan Friedmann: So wise. Steve, I know that our listeners are probably chomping at the bit here to find out more about you, your company and that special gift for them.
Steve Gordon: Absolutely. I'd love to share actually a copy of... We've mentioned the book a couple of times, Podcast Prospecting, and I'd love to share a copy of that with everybody who's listening. We've set up a page on our website, so if you go to unstoppableceo.net/bmm, like...
Susan Friedmann: Book Marketing Mentors.
Steve Gordon: Book Marketing Mentors. I'm sorry. And if you go there, you can download a copy of the book and they'll be some other resources there as well that you can take advantage of. And if you are looking for help, if you're looking for that team, we'd love to help you or least talk about it together and decide if it's a fit. There's a link on there where you can book a call with me if you'd like to do that. But again, it's unstoppableceo.net/bmm.
Susan Friedmann: Fabulous. Thank you so much. You have shared so much wisdom with us already, Steve, but our listeners know that I love to squeeze just that one golden nugget out of my guests before I let them go. What's your golden nugget?
Steve Gordon: I think the most important thing to do in this whole process, whether it is with a podcast or with anything else, is first, get very, very clear about who you're trying to do business with and that will guide everything else that you do. And I talk a little bit about that in the book and then go a little bit deeper with it, but I think that's the fundamental decision and it's a decision that very few business owners get real extreme clarity on.
Susan Friedmann: Thank you. Great wisdom, listeners. This has been quite some podcast. A podcast about podcasts. I absolutely love it. Steve, you have been amazing. I knew you would. You didn't let me down. Thank you so much. And thank you all for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview, and I sincerely hope that it sparked some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book marketing success.