Episode 379

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As agency owners, we’re always looking for ways to get great customers that increase our profitability while decreasing the length of the typical sales cycle. That’s the dream, right?

This week, I have Tom Schwab on to talk about one of the best ways to make that dream a reality — being a great guest on other people’s podcasts. As a great guest himself, Tom has a gold mine of valuable information to share with us about getting featured as a guest on podcasts, the ROI that it brings to your agency, and how to track the results you’re getting from being a podcast guest.

Great conversations lead to great customers, and Tom will teach us exactly how to turn all that talking into gold. Don’t miss out on this information-packed episode so you can start your year right by setting the stage for increased profitability in 2023.

A big thank you to our podcast’s presenting sponsor, White Label IQ. They’re an amazing resource for agencies who want to outsource their design, dev, or PPC work at wholesale prices. Check out their special offer (10 free hours!) for podcast listeners here.
podcast guest

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Why you don’t need to host your own podcast to get your name out there
  • How to use podcast guesting as a way to achieve your goals
  • Why podfade is such a common occurrence
  • How to identify which podcasts need your voice as a guest
  • Leveraging a podcast to attract great clients, not more leads in the sales funnel
  • How to be a great podcast guest and get the host to sell you to the audience
  • Pre- and post-interview podcast guest best practices
  • The importance of having a tracking mechanism for performance and conversion rates

“What's your goal, and how can you use podcasting to achieve that goal?” @interviewvalet Click To Tweet “After 45 minutes, they're going to turn you up or turn you off. And the data shows that those clients tend to close faster because they're educated.” @interviewvalet Click To Tweet “No matter what people are asking me on LinkedIn, I don't want more leads. I want more great customers. And going out on podcasts is a great way to do that.” @interviewvalet Click To Tweet “You don't have to promote yourself during the interview. If you do a great job, that host will promote you more than you ever could.” @interviewvalet Click To Tweet “If you want to get your dance card filled, just be a great guest because podcast hosts know other podcast hosts.” @interviewvalet Click To Tweet

Ways to contact Tom:

Resources:

Announcer:

It doesn’t matter what kind of an agency you run, traditional, digital, media buying, web dev, PR, whatever your focus, you still need to run a profitable business. The Build a Better Agency Podcast presented by White Label IQ, will show you how to make more money and keep more of what you make. Let us help you build an agency that is sustainable, scalable, and if you want down the road, sellable. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey everybody. Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute, back with you again for another episode of Build a Better Agency. Thanks for coming back. Happy New Year. By the time this plays, I know it will be after the first of the year. So hopefully you are easing into the year well, that holiday hibernation has wrapped up and things are back in action at the shop.

So super excited to start another year of podcasting with you. Happy 2023. Going to be a big year for us at AMI for lots of reasons, which I will share with you throughout the year. But we have some interesting things to talk about right off the bat.

I have a couple amazing workshops actually coming up in March that I want to make sure you know about. So if you have any interest in becoming a live peer group member, one of the things you have to do to be eligible to be a member is you have to attend one of two workshops. One of them is Money Matters, and the other one is the workshop that’s coming up on March 9th and 10th, which is called Running Your Agency for Growth and Profit.

That workshop is for agency owners. If you are not an owner, you must be accompanied by an owner. So you can’t just send your COO to that workshop, an owner has to be present as well. But you can certainly bring your right hand or your lieutenants, your leadership level people with you if you want to come, but it’s really built for owners.

We look at all of the aspects of running the business, so all of the back of the shop things. We talk about people, we talk about money, we talk about process, we talk about biz dev, we talk about leadership team, we talk about how to grow the agency and what makes sense and what doesn’t make sense. So we really cover a wide gamut of topics, but they are all best practices that odds are you haven’t been exposed to before because they’re very agency centric.

So again, that is March 9th and 10th in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Whether you want to join a peer group or not, if you’re interested in joining us for that two days of rapid fire Learning, go over to the website under the How We Help tab. You’ll find workshops and you’ll find the Running Your Agency for Growth and Profit.

Also, our Advanced AE Bootcamp is March 23rd and 24th. That’s for folks who’ve been around the business for four years or more. They’re probably supervising some people. They’re probably leading a team. It’s not for owners, it really is for your AEs, your senior AEs, account sups, director of account service. That’s probably as high as the level that this workshop would be relevant for.

We get down into a lot of nitty gritty. We talk about leading a team. We talk about client expectations. We talk about how to drive more strategy into the work that you’re doing, great best practices for your seasoned AEs to learn how to level up to even a higher level. So join us agency owners, March 9th and 10th in Denver, Advanced AE Bootcamp, the 23rd and 24th of March, also in Denver.

So let me tell you a little bit about our guest. Our guest is Tom Schwab. Tom owns a company called Interview Valet, and what they do is they place their clients on podcasts as podcast guests. And Tom’s been doing this for a long time. I’ve known him probably from the time I started my podcast.

And what I want to talk to him about is the value of being a podcast guest and how you show up and be a good podcast guest and what you can expect, what’s the ROI of being a podcast guest, and how do you figure out where you should appear, what hosts you should reach out to and create relationship with, all of those things. So without further ado, let’s welcome Tom to the show and start having the conversation.

Tom, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining us.

Tom Schwab:

Drew, thank you for having me here.

Drew McLellan:

So give everybody a little bit of background on the work that you do and how you got to be doing this work before we start talking about the power of audio in today’s world from a marketing perspective.

Tom Schwab:

Well, that’s always a dangerous question to ask somebody with gray hair, right?

Drew McLellan:

Start at the log cabin and then get to …

Tom Schwab:

It all builds on things. I’m an engineer by degree and that taught me systems and processes. I worked for a corporate world, worked in sales, and my last company was an E-commerce company. We were HubSpot’s first case study for inbound marketing. And that really taught me digital marketing, how to leverage other people’s audiences. The way we built up that entire company was guest blogging-

Drew McLellan:

Really?

Tom Schwab:

… putting our content on somebody else’s site where people were looking for it, getting the backlinks. And that really worked. And when I had sold that company in about 2014, guest blogging wasn’t working nearly as well. So I hypothesized, wow, could I use podcast interviews almost like guest blogs?

And the other thing too is people joke, I are engineer. English is my second language. I’m not sure what my first one is. Writing a blog is homework for me, but I love to talk about my industry, my company, my clients, the success. So to get on people’s podcasts was fun for me, and then we could repurpose that content.

So I started to do that about 2013, 2014. Started to teach it to other people, wrote a cheesy little book that I just gave away. Did a quick little course. And the people that were honest with me told me, I want to be the guest, you take care of all the rest, and never took that course out of beta.

We launched Interview Valet in the end of 2015, and now that’s grown to, we’ve got a team of over 30 people in Europe and North America, and we help thought leaders get on other people’s podcasts to high level coaches, high level consultants, agencies. We do a lot of partnering with them, a lot of non-fiction authors. And really, it’s everything that we were using 20, 30 years ago, but we’re just using a different medium for it.

Drew McLellan:

Right. So one of the things, and we were talking about this before we hit the record button, but I think one of the misnomers about podcasting, and when I talk to agency owners, a lot of them will say to me, I know we need to start a podcast, but … And then there’s the litany of excuses.

I think there’s this misperception that to be a part of the podcast world and to provide value for your business, you have to own and host a podcast. Talk a little bit about true, untrue, the difference in value between hosting your own show versus being on a bunch of different shows, because that’s really your business model, right?

Tom Schwab:

Right. And Gary Vaynerchuk came out for a while and said everybody should have a podcast.

Drew McLellan:

Gary says a lot of things.

Tom Schwab:

Yeah, and I think Tim Ferris came out and said no one should have a podcast, just to be contrarian there. But I always look back and say, then let’s use the same thing. Well then everybody should have a newspaper, everybody should have a magazine, everybody should have their own TV show, and it sounds ridiculous.

I don’t want Oprah’s show, I just want to get on Oprah’s show. I don’t want to build the next Wall Street Journal, I just want to be featured on Wall Street Journal. So I think there’s a lot of ways to leverage guest appearances and leverage other people’s audience. It’s almost that thing of … I love the summit that you do. It’s one of my favorite events, but I know the kind of work that goes into that.

Drew McLellan:

Oh yeah, it’s a doozy.

Tom Schwab:

I don’t want to host that. I’m not going to say everybody should have their own. No, I just want to go and be seen and be heard at the great ones that are already out there.

And the other thing too is that people will say should I be a guest or a host? I think it’s the goals, and the goal is not just to be heard. It’s almost like an Uber. Uber is a great platform, but should you be a driver or a passenger? I guess it depends on your goals.

So if you’re a host for a podcast, I think it’s a great way to nurture your current clients, to nurture your current leads, but if you want to get new exposure, if you want to get new leads, if you want to get new backlinks, you’ve got to go to other people’s podcasts, other people’s stages on that.

So I think the big thing is what’s your goal, and then how can you use podcasting to achieve that goal? And honestly, how can you do it the easiest way? How can you get the maximum return on investment? As an engineer, I know you can either get more out or put less in, and I want to do both.

Drew McLellan:

Right. I also think it’s a commitment level. When you host a podcast, you have to put out a new show every week. And it’s not every other week, it’s not once in a while, it’s not every time but the holidays. And I know some hosts take breaks and things like that, but for the most part, if it’s really your channel and it’s a core channel for you, the commitment level is real.

And you also have to, depending on the format of the show, either you have to script your own, if it’s just you talking, you have to script that. And that takes hours and hours for every show. Or you have to be able to source enough guests to have that longevity in the show, and you still have to do your homework, so you create a great conversation. So I think it’s a commitment level.

And one of the things I love about guesting on someone else’s podcast is I already know what we’re going to talk about because they want to talk about what I know. So the prep time for me is minimal compared to being a host of a show. I get to just show up, I get to share generously what I know, I get to teach, I get to tell stories and then I’m done.

And I don’t have the commitment financially or time-wise to prep that episode, to get it ready to go, to launch it. I just show up to the party. I try and be as interesting and helpful as I can be, and then I get to go home. I don’t have to clean the kitchen. I didn’t have to make the food. It’s a beautiful role, I think for somebody who has a specific subject matter expertise that is valuable to an audience.

Tom Schwab:

I agree with you on there. And in the industry it’s referred to as pod fade. 80% of podcasts die within the first 10 episodes. Everybody starts out, they’re so excited about it, and then they run out of things to say, people to interview, life gets busy, life gets in the way, and it can go from being a marketing asset to being an embarrassment, when all of a sudden you tell everybody, I’ve got this new podcast coming out. A quarter later, they ask you, well, how’s it going? Oh, look, I killed that off.

So I always tell people, if you’re going to start a podcast, make sure you have the first 52 episodes planned out. Do it for at least a year. And if you can’t come up with those, don’t start it, or if you can’t make that commitment to show up every week. That’s one of the great things about guesting, I can work it around my schedule and if I take a month or two off, nobody knows. If I take a month or two off from a podcast-

Drew McLellan:

Everybody knows.

Tom Schwab:

… everybody’s going to leave.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. So when I put on my agency owner hat, we’ve launched several podcasts for clients, and our requirement is that they have 10 episodes in the can before we even tell anyone we’re doing it. So we do it behind the curtain because what we found is if they can do the first 10, then they like it enough that they’ll sustain it. But I would say 80% of our clients get to about episode four or five and all of a sudden they’re like, they can’t find guests or they can’t make the time. And so they’re never embarrassed because we never launched it to begin with.

But you’re right, I think it is a daunting commitment to be on the host side of the mic. But I think for a lot of people, maybe they want to be a guest on more podcasts, or maybe they are hungry to do that, but they don’t know how to make it happen, and they don’t know how to source the shows and they don’t know how to make connections with the podcast host in a way that’s meaningful.

I get probably five to 10 pitches a day for potential guests, most of which they have not listened to my show, they don’t know who my audience is. And I used to answer every single one of them and explain to them why they weren’t in. And finally I was like, I don’t have time to do that. So I think people also may want to be on a show but don’t know how to make that happen.

So let’s talk a little bit about, they certainly can hire someone like Interview Valet to help them do that, but if they want to do it homegrown to start, to see if they even like being on podcasts, what are some tips for them to be able to find the right shows and make the right connections?

Tom Schwab:

I would step one step back from that. I don’t think anybody wants to be a guest on a podcast. That’s the means to the end. What’s the overarching goal? Because if you show up without a goal, you won’t hit it. So what is it? Is it to get more SEO backlinks? Is it to get more content to repurpose? Is it to launch a new product? Figure out what it is that you want to accomplish on that podcast, and with that view then say, who do I want to talk with, and not what podcast do I want to be on, but who do I want to talk with?

Drew McLellan:

Who’s the audience?

Tom Schwab:

Who’s the audience? And with that then start to think, okay, what podcast would they listen to? And one of the things that you’ll see is that podcasting is so fragmented right now-

Drew McLellan:

I know.

Tom Schwab:

… that the data is not as great as other mediums. It’s a whole lot better than it was just a couple of years ago, and there’s some great databases that you can purchase, but often the audience is like the host or aspires to be like the host, and so you can look at that. So if you’re looking to talk to Fortune 500 CEOs, the podcast that starts off with, yo, yo, yo, this is Tommy T and …

Drew McLellan:

Right [inaudible 00:15:23].

Tom Schwab:

They’re not going to listen to that podcast, right?

Drew McLellan:

Right.

Tom Schwab:

Maybe their kids will be listening to that.

Drew McLellan:

You know what? In 2023, that’s how I’m going to start kicking off my show. I’m going to start with the yo, yo, yo. I’ve never done that before. That’s going to be a new thing for me, I think.

Tom Schwab:

This could be the first-

Drew McLellan:

I need a catchphrase.

Tom Schwab:

This could be the first yo, yo, yo on your podcast, right?

Drew McLellan:

Yes. I think it is the first yo, yo, yo. Yes.

Tom Schwab:

So look at that and see what shows that they would listen to, right?

Drew McLellan:

Right.

Tom Schwab:

And one of my big things this year is more is not better, better is better. So often we’ll hear people come to us and say well, I want to be in 30 shows this month. Well, why? Because that kind of massive exposure will give me massive results. Well, if that’s the case, then just pick 30 street corners and go talk at them. No, more is not better, better is better.

So make sure that you’re having a meaningful discussion on each one, because one of the things about podcasts now is that often your last video or your last podcast appearance will show up and you want to be proud of each one. So think of the podcast you listen to, think of the podcast your ideal customers listen to.

And just like in theater, no play, no musical, no production starts on Broadway. They always test it out on different ones because even the great ones realize that they’ve got to get up to speed on that, so even smaller podcasts.

One of the great things that some of our clients will do will go on ones that are tied to an institution. And it’s like, well, why would I want to go on the podcast that is tied to the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University? Why? Because you get a backlink that’s dot edu. That backlink is worth more than being on Tim Ferris and Joe Rogan. So there’s still things that you can do there.

Drew McLellan:

And I am a firm believer too, is that while no doubt that show has a smaller audience than some of the big name podcasts, if that audience is the exact right audience for you, you only need to talk to a couple of those people. I mean, again, for most businesses, I think this idea of more gets in our head.

And we talk about this in some of our workshops, most agencies don’t need 10 new clients. In fact, they can’t take on 10 new clients. They need two or three good sized, right fit clients a year to grow 10 to 20%, which is about as much as an agency can grow in a sustainable way for a long time. When the agency is new, you can double in size for a few years, but after that, you want to be able to manage your growth, and you want to be able to really choose your clients.

So a small podcast that happens to be talking to agri engineers who happen to be the kind of clients that you want to have, even if the listenership is 250 people, one right person on that show listening to you, that picks up the phone and says, you know what? We’re ready to go to RFP on a new product or service, heard you on this show, want to talk to you about being in the mix, that’s all it takes.

Tom Schwab:

And with the extended conversation, if you’re very clear of this is what we do, this is who we work with, this is what the best results we get for these type of clients, they’ll self-select. After 45 minutes, they’re going to turn you up or turn you off. And the data shows that those clients tend to close faster because they’re educated, the initial sale tends to be larger because it’s based on the relationship, and the churn is lower.

So it’s that whole idea, no matter what people are asking me on LinkedIn, I don’t want more leads, I want more customers, I want more great customers. And going out on podcasts is a great way to do that.

Drew McLellan:

One of the things I love about podcasting is that you can’t phone it in, you can’t fake it. It’s real, in the moment. It’s live. You and I are talking live. We’re not talking live with an audience listening, but you and I are actually talking, this is not scripted. We haven’t pre-decided everything we’re going to talk about. So there’s an authenticity and a realness to it that I love.

I think one of the other things I love about audio is it gives the listeners a sense of not only what the person knows, but who they are, how they talk, if they’re passionate about it, all of that. And in a world … You and I were talking a little bit before we hit the record button about the prevalence of AI in a lot of written content today. And that one of the advantages I think of audio is there is no artificial intelligence. I’m happy when there’s intelligence, but there’s no artificial intelligence in this conversation, it’s just you and me talking.

So talk a little bit about, as you have a unique perspective on the evolution of content, as AI becomes part of the mix and how podcasting allows us to differentiate from that.

Tom Schwab:

I’m excited for AI. It’s like-

Drew McLellan:

It’s cool stuff.

Tom Schwab:

… as I look at it, I go from being so excited, this is so cool, to petrified, oh, this is so scary, and it goes up and down there. But I’m excited by all the ways that we can repurpose