Episode 51:

Tom Schwab knows how to grow a business online using content as fuel. Marketing at its heart is starting a conversation with someone who could be an ideal customer. Tom’s company, Interview Valet, partners with agencies to get their clients featured on leading podcasts their prospects are already listening to. This provides traffic that has been shown to convert 25 times better than blogs.

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Why podcasting is so relevant today
  • The benefit of being a podcast guest
  • How Tom’s clients are able to sell being on podcasts to their own clients
  • Benefits of podcasting over other forms of content
  • Why podcast traffic converts higher than blogs
  • Message, market, and machine: what you need to have a successful podcast interview
  • What you (or your clients) need to be a great podcast guest
  • Why you need to bring a giveaway when you are a guest on a podcast
  • What not to do when you are a guest on a podcast
  • Is it appropriate to suggest questions to your podcast host?
  • How Tom helps agencies look good
  • The podcasting niches that Tom focuses on
  • Things you can do right now to put these ideas in place

 

The Golden Nugget:

“Anybody that tells you that doing a podcast is easy has never done it.” – @TMSchwab Click To Tweet

 

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Speaker 1:

If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too? Welcome to Build a Better Agency, where we show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invest in employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of expertise as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.

Drew McLellan:

Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here with another episode of Build a Better Agency. Thanks for joining us again. Today’s topic is a hot one right now. Everybody seems to be talking about, or listening to or starting podcasts. And there’s lots of different thoughts about how to do that, how to attract the right guests, how to actually leverage that podcast for business, and so today’s guest is going to talk to us all about that. So, let me tell you a little bit about him. Tom Schwab knows how to grow a business online using content as fuel. Marketing at its heart is starting a conversation with someone who could be the ideal customer.

Tom’s company Interview Valet, partners with agencies to get their clients featured on leading podcasts that their prospects are already listening to. This provides traffic that has been shown to convert 25 times better than blogs, so we’re going to dig into that right in now. Tom, welcome to the podcast.

Tom Schwab:

Drew, I am thrilled to be here and they say 20% of the US population listens to podcasts, but a hundred percent of your audience listens to podcasts, so it should be very applicable to them what we’re talking about today.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely, and I think podcasts are one of those things that podcasts for those of you who have not been following the podcast history, podcast bubbled up on the surface quite a few years ago and the technology. And I think the interest just wasn’t quite there yet, but now all of a sudden in the last few years, the resurgence has been amazing. Hasn’t it?

Tom Schwab:

It has, and really it’s not right to call it a podcast anymore. There are people listening to podcast that have never seen an iPod, or never used them. Really, it’s getting to be more on demand radio. And I think what’s really spurring it is the idea that you can download it on so many devices now. New cars are coming out where you don’t even need a smartphone. You can download it straight to the dashboard. I think when we see that coming out here, it’s really going to be on demand radio that people can choose what they listen to.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, that’s a good point. It never even occurred to me to think that iPod was the origination word for podcast, but you’re right. I think it’s hard to even find an iPod anymore, isn’t it?

Tom Schwab:

I think if we pulled it out of our drawers someplace, most of the younger people would look as how do you make a phone call on this, but it’s just stuck with it. And some people are calling their shows podcasts, other ones are calling shows on demand radio. Really, it’s just the next generation of people listening to the content that they want.

Drew McLellan:

Your business is an interesting model, and we’ll dig into that in a little bit, but tell folks a little bit about the value of being a podcast guest. And in my mind, this conversation for us is twofold because I think there’s benefit in the agency owners, or leaders who are listening, thinking out for their own agency getting themselves featured on podcasts, but also it’s a great revenue stream for them to say to their clients, “Look, we can get you booked on podcasts as well.” We’re talking in two layers here, but let’s talk about the benefit and value of that.

Tom Schwab:

Sure. And I guess first, people will say podcasting and their first inclination is I need to start a podcast. And anybody that tells you that’s doing a podcast is easy has either never done it, or never done it well. Drew my hats off to you, and I know there’s a lot of work that goes into this. And that Tim Ferris 4-hour work week, we started looking at it with our clients and said, “Is there an easier way to do it?” And we went back to the analogy of guest blogging. Building up your own blog takes time. There has to hit that critical mass, and so a lot of people will guest blog to get in front of their ideal audience. We thought that same way could it be done through podcast interviews?

And what we found is that that same principles apply. And you tap into an existing audience, you’re featured as the expert. You get that credibility that goes along from the host, and it just is a great way to do that. I’d have to say that we stumbled unto this, because our agency was built on inbound marketing, and no content being the fuel that drove our online businesses. But with time, we saw that that the blogs were working less and less, they were harder and harder to do. It was saturated and most of the time, the content trying to get the client to do it, they didn’t want to write a blog.

Drew McLellan:

They always think they want to.

Tom Schwab:

Oh, I mean…

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, yeah.

Tom Schwab:

And the owner of a company, I mean it’s like pulling teeth to get them a lot of times to write a blog, but what we found is that they love to tell their story. And a blog is a homework assignment to them, getting to tell their story is an opportunity. We had a couple clients that just had great stories to tell, and we thought, “Well could we get them on as guests?” And we were amazed by the traffic that came back, the quality of the traffic, and then the evergreeness of it, that there was a very long tail to it. I mean we’ve got some clients now that have been using this strategy over two years, and they still get traffic from podcasts that were out there two years ago.

So, it’s all the same principles that we’ve all learned about marketing and generating traffic. It’s just really applying it to a different medium.

Drew McLellan:

Well, I know that a lot of the guests that I’ve had on this podcast have gotten clients in business off of the podcast. You’re absolutely right, I’m seeing it unfold just through my little podcast here. I think you’re right, I think the opportunities are huge. And to the point that you made of even two or three years later that the tale is super long on podcast, because people are always discovering new podcasts. They’re going back to the beginning and listening. There’s something about the episodic nature and the every episode is a complete thought. So, people can go back in time and it’s not like it’s old news. You’re right, it’s the length of the opportunity is endless.

Tom Schwab:

Very much. Drew, I almost feel guilty using this example or sharing it, but there’s a podcaster that’s been around for years, and Alex Harris runs a podcast called Marketing Optimization. And I was on his show, and he paused in the middle of it and he says, “You know, as I think about it, the number clients I’ve gotten from my own podcast, I could count on one hand.” And he says, “Where I do get clients is going on other people’s podcasts.” We talked about that. The analogy that he used was you don’t get any converts in your own church. Everybody that’s there has already heard you. If they’ve listened to three months of your podcast and haven’t been a client yet, chances are they may never be a client.

But going out to tap into somebody else’s network and being a guest expert on their podcast, boy now you’re into a fresh market there. And it’s really not a zero sum game. The newest study said that 20% of the US population listen to podcasts, but on average, they listen to eight hours of podcasts a week.

Drew McLellan:

Wow.

Tom Schwab:

I’m not sure if they’re like me, if they listen to everything at 1.5. That means it’s 12 hours of content, we just get it done in eight hours.

Drew McLellan:

Right, right.

Tom Schwab:

Really, it’s not if you go on somebody else’s podcast, it’s not that you’re going there to steal their audience away. No, it’s probably helping them out, helping their audience out. And that’s most people that you talk to find podcasts not from going to Google, not searching iTunes, but hearing them on other people’s podcasts.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. I know you work with a lot of agencies and help them place their clients on podcasts. How are the agencies packaging that? Are they packaging it up as a part of a bigger content strategy? Are they offering that as part of a PR play? How are you seeing agencies sell, or take this idea of getting clients on podcast to market?

Tom Schwab:

It’s interesting because we have this question from people and they say, “Well, is Interview Valet a marketing agency?” And it’s like, “Well, yes it is.” “Is it a PR agency?” “Hmm, yes it is.” “Is it a speaker’s bureau?” “Yeah, the same way there,” but what we’re doing is we just focus on that tap traffic generation, how to get them from being a listener to a visitor, and then converting on the page there. We’re really not doing that, the heavy lifting that last mile of putting the together their campaigns, putting together their nurturing. So, it really were works out well because most agencies have that down so well, they’ve got clients that need that and have that there, but they’re looking for new ways in order to get traffic there.

And there’s two ways you can get traffic. You can either earn it, or you can buy it. And buying it gets more and more expensive. Blogs are getting harder and harder, and less and less effective. And it’s a fun way to offer that to a client that, “Hey, we could get you on podcasts.” And I’m always amazed as I talk to clients and ask them, “Would you change your plans this afternoon to go talk to a hundred ideal clients?” And they’re like, “Sure.” I’m like, “Would you get on a plane to talk to a thousand?” They’re like, “Sure.” And I’m like, “Well, would you go across country to talk to 10,000?” And most of them are like, “No way would I ever talk to that many.”

And especially if they’re introverted, they’re like they get intimidated by that. But if you can talk on the phone to somebody, you could be a podcast guest and it’s so scalable for them too. It’s almost a compliment to them or…

Drew McLellan:

Sure, everyone wants to be thought of as an expert, right?

Tom Schwab:

Right, right and they’re passionate about it. They know that part of their business. They love speaking on that. So, giving to them the opportunity to do it works out so easy, and it makes it easy for them too that they can do the interview from home, from work, even on vacation. And it’s such a goldmine because most people will speak at about 150 words a minute. You figure if you transcribe the interviews, it’s just a goldmine. You can get blog contents out of it. You can get tweets out of it. You can do so many things with it, and it’s so easy to do.

Drew McLellan:

Where I was headed though was how are your clients the agencies packaging the idea of podcast guesting as a revenue stream to their clients? Are they saying to their clients, “Look, we’ve got a content strategy and we’re going to write blog posts. We’re going to get you on podcast. We’re going to do X, Y, Z,” or is it part of a PR play? How are packaging what you do for them to sell to their clients?

Tom Schwab:

Ultimately, it’s more of a marketing, as opposed to just a PR where if it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.

Drew McLellan:

Sure, right.

Tom Schwab:

They’re packaging that is at just another form of content, right? Content is the fuel that drives our engines. Now, there’s different ways of can content; videos, blogs, eBooks. They’re just packaging this as, “Hey, here is another way to get content.” And really, it makes a whole lot of sense. And for those clients that already listen to podcasts-

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, they get it right away, I bet. Yeah.

Tom Schwab:

… it it’s Super, super easy. If they’re not familiar what a podcast is, it takes a little bit of education on that standpoint. But I think once they see the potential of being able to speak directly to their ideal customers, the light goes off. And I went out to social media marketing world a couple months ago in California, and everybody’s talking about, “Well, how do you break through the noise?” And as I looked around, there is no more noise anymore. In the plane, the gentleman sitting next to me had his earbuds in. He could be an ideal customer for me, but there’s no way that I can break through that noise, because he’s cut out all the noise.

So, really the question is how can you get in their ears, so they listen to you and pay attention? And I think podcasts are so interesting because it’s the only medium that we can do without our eyes and without our hands. I don’t have the time to watch eight hours of video a day or a week, but I can listen to podcasts when I’m in the shower, when I’m running, when I’m mowing the lawn. So, it’s such a interesting medium there that people can consume.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, I think that’s one of the reasons actually why podcasts have gotten to such a huge start. And I really just think that what we’re at the tip of the iceberg of podcast, but I think you’re right. I think because it is a consumable media that allows us to do other things, whether it’s treadmill, run, drive, mow the lawn, shower, although that’s a long shower, but you’re right. It’s something you can consume while you’re doing something else, or while you’re heading someplace else, or you’re on the subway or whatever it may be, which does make it unique.

Tom Schwab:

The other thing is I think it’s intimate from the standpoint. It’s like people are listening into our conversation right now, and they’ll say, “Well, video is more intimate because you can see it.” Well, we all have our video face on the teleprompter. You don’t know if you’re listening to the first take, or the fifth take on it. So, it’s a little bit polished from that standpoint and podcast for by and larger raw. It’s people just coming off with the ideas and you hear the ums and the uhs, and all the rest of that. And from that standpoint, I think it’s very intimate and believable from that standpoint.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and what I love about it from a client’s perspective when I put on my agency owner hat, what I love about it is to your point, it’s not really intimidating for a client they’re comfortable just having a conversation, and that the added benefit of that is they come off so authentic and real. And I get a true sense as a listener of what they’re like and how they talk and what they believe in, so that I can decide am I a good fit for them or not? And all of that just happens naturally, as opposed to we all have tried to put clients in front of cameras before. And there are some clients who are just naturally gifted at being in front of a camera. But in most cases, that’s a sharp stick in the eye.

Tom Schwab:

And I think that’s really the reason why you see the conversion rates so much higher than blogs, is that when somebody listens to you for 15 minutes, a half hour, 45 minutes, whatever the interview is, they get to know, like, and trust you.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Tom Schwab:

They either resonate with that and come ready to engage, or they don’t.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Tom Schwab:

And if they don’t, that’s fine. The way I look at it is I don’t want more leads, I want more customers. We’re not just trying to play a numbers game. We’re trying to really use these podcast interviews to filter it, so that they can see what we’re about, they can resonate with it. And I think that’s the reason that traffic converts higher from podcasts interviews than it says just from a cold blog.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Now I know a lot of times, you work with agencies to help them place their clients on podcasts. Do you also work directly with agencies and agency owners to place them on podcasts, or is that a harder fit?

Tom Schwab:

Now, we’ve done both and the same principles apply for it. And everything that we do when we teach, I’m very open about it, but most agencies just realize that if we’ve got the relationships already and the expertise that it makes sense just as a synergy there.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah.

Tom Schwab:

I would just say that as we look at what makes this strategy work, there’s really three parts to it. And they all multiply again, or multiply with each other. It’s the message, the market, and the machine. The message is you’ve got to have something to say, something to tell, not just sell. With the market, you’ve to have a very defined ideal buyer persona. This business is about really focusing down and using a rifle more than a shotgun. And then the market too is that you’ve got to have something that can serve the people. You’ve got to have something for them to say, “Yes, that would help me. I want to buy that. I want to work with you on that.” And then the final part is the machine.

You’ve got to have your online machine that builds the trust. And for any agency, this is a given, they’ve already got this. They’ve got the website that builds trust. They’ve got a social media peasants that builds trust. They’ve got a system to take people from being visitors to leads and nurturing them. I would say from an agency standpoint, if they figured out what niche, what market they can really serve, that’s a great way to go after this, and especially if they’re more a digital where they can get customers any place and not just focusing in their local market.

Drew McLellan:

Well, or that they serve a niche, right? They’re an ag agency or a automotive agency, where again geography is a non-issue.

Tom Schwab:

Exactly.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, yeah. I suspect that some people are better podcast guests than others. How can our agency listeners prepare their clients to be better guests?

Tom Schwab:

Well, I always say that you can either learn from your own mistakes or learn from somebody else’s mistakes, and it’s a whole lot easier to learn from somebody else’s mistakes and…

Drew McLellan:

And a little less painful, that’s for sure. Yeah.

Tom Schwab:

It’s less painful, and they say checklists are written in blood.

Drew McLellan:

Right.

Tom Schwab:

We’ve got a checklist, and I’ll share it with everybody here. We’ll put a page together with everything we’re talking about here, but we’ve got a checklist that you can go through. And I think giving people the confidence in front of the podcast really helps them. So showing them how to do a quick sound check on their microphone, so they know they sound good. Little things like turning off the Dropbox download, the automatic syncing, trust me. I was on a podcast one time and somebody on my team sent me a video that I’d been waiting for. And all of a sudden, the connection went really bad as all the bandwidth went to the video.

Drew McLellan:

Oh, yeah.

Tom Schwab:

So, just going through there, so preparing them with that. And I think the other thing is making sure they know what audience they’re talking to. Content is a wonderful thing, but if you don’t have the context of who you’re talking to, it can be completely wasted. I think preparing them with that of giving them a checklist of here’s what you can do beforehand to get ready, telling them here’s who you’re talking to, here’s what the podcast is about, here are the questions that they typically would ask you. Because if you don’t do that, you’re almost asking the client to listen to two or the three podcast beforehand. There’s nothing that ruins credibility more than getting on the podcast, and they ask the guest the same question that every guest gets asked.

And they pause and they’re like, “Huh, I’ve never thought of that before.”

Drew McLellan:

Right, ouch, right, right. Yeah.

Tom Schwab:

Yeah. All they’re saying is I’ve never listened to this podcast before, so I think that preparation those. In the Navy, we used to say only kids and clowns like to be surprised, which one did I look like?

Drew McLellan:

Right, right.

Tom Schwab:

I think it’s the same way with our clients. Prepare them, so that they go into it confident.

Drew McLellan:

Do you recommend doing some dry runs, or some rehearsals with clients to get them comfortable with trying to deliver sound bites and all that sort of thing?

Tom Schwab:

We do and sometimes, we’ll even do practice interviews with our clients, a couple of those so they can get comfortable with it. And also if they’ve never been on a podcast, you can use those practice podcast interviews to help pitch the guests to potential hosts because Drew, your biggest fear as a host is bringing on somebody that is an awful guest.

Drew McLellan:

Oh, their sound, right.

Tom Schwab:

Their doesn’t sound good because like how do you…

Drew McLellan:

Or all they do is sell.

Tom Schwab:

Exactly. How do you politely tell them that? And what happens a lot of times is if you’re a bad guest, “Oh sorry, that recording got lost and it never sees air.” With that, coaching them through that and most people are very coachable about that if they understand what they’re trying to do, that your goal on being on a podcast is not to sell anything.

Drew McLellan:

Right.

Tom Schwab:

It’s an awful medium to do that. It’s almost an affront to that. I always say to our clients, your goal on being on the podcast is to make the host look like a genius for having you on there, that you’re sharing so much value because what that happens is now the host is going to help promote you. He or she’s going to help you look like at the expert, and it just helps everybody with that. I think most people if they understand what they’re trying to do, they can perform that very well.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, I agree. For example, do you suggest that you’re the podcast guest that you book, that they have some sort of a give or an offer like an eBook or a checklist or something like that drives the listener to that podcast back to their website, or is that too blatant?

Tom Schwab:

Hopefully, I’m not too blatant on this one, but that’s basically what I just was doing there, saying that we’ve got a checklist there. You’ve got to give people a reason…

Drew McLellan:

You’re so sneaky the way you did that, Tom. Yeah.

Tom Schwab:

It’s behind the curtain, right?

Drew McLellan:

Right, that’s right.

Tom Schwab:

What you do and what you’re hearing here is giving people a reason to go from being a listener to a visitor to a lead. Like I talked about that checklist, I’m not going to list all the things on the checklist here. You’d never remember it. So, I say just go back to the website, we put a special page together. It’s interviewvalet.com, just interviewvalet.com/betteragency. And everything Drew and I talked about will be there. So, what we’re doing is trying to move people there and there’s so many things that you can do with that. You can do checklists, you can do personal assessments, you can do online trainees. There’s another one I’ll put there, there’s a 30-minute webinar.

It’s an online training that talks about how to use this strategy to build your business as a podcast guest, that’ll be on there too. And it’s interesting because some of our best clients have been ones that have things that are uniquely visual. We worked with one client, and she made these quilts that you cut up different things make quilts out of it. Well, if she was on a sports show, especially if it was one with guys, she would talk about, “Yeah, we made a quilt for Wayne Gretzky and cut up his old jerseys. And oh, if you want to see it, just come back to the website.” And she’d give this address. Well, what red-blooded American man or can or Canadian doesn’t want to see Wayne Gretzky’s quilt?

But then on the flip side, if she’s on like a mommy podcast, she would say, “We just made this wonderful quilt, and this mother had sent this box of her child’s clothes. And we cut them up and made them in a quilt. And she’s going to give it to her daughter when she’s expecting her first child. Now if you want to see it, oh just come back to the website.” Well, every woman’s going, “Ah, I want to see that.”

Drew McLellan:

Right, right.

Tom Schwab:

And it’s not like you’re holding things back. It’s not like a bait and switch. It’s really there’s certain things that can’t be shown on a podcast. If it’s a video clip, if it’s a picture that goes along with the story, you can give them reasons. And a lot of times we think of we talk about lead bait. On podcasts, we have to think about visitor bait also. What reasons are you giving them to go back there? If it’s just signing up for a newsletter, they’re not going to do it. But if it’s a checklist, a personal assessment, a training, a picture, something that adds to the story, that’s the natural way to move them.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. Well, and I think your point is it’s not bait when it’s value. It’s really about look, I’m going to give you everything I’ve got in this interview, but I have some stuff that is even bigger or broader than that, that I’m also going to give you. So, it’s a fair value trade basically.

Tom Schwab:

Very much so, and it’s really giving even more than you can on audio. It’s you’re serving more.

Drew McLellan:

Yep, yep. Tom, to your point of you learn from mistakes either yours or somebody else’s, I’m sure you have seen some horror story podcast guest mistakes that our listeners could avoid perhaps if you tell us a story or two.

Tom Schwab:

Well, I’ll start with my stories. I said checklists are written in blood, and some of that blood is my type. Little things that getting prepared for an interview and all of a sudden, forgetting the host name or the podcast name. You’ve got a different screen open, somebody walks by the door, and that’s one of the things we always tell people. Just make sure that person’s LinkedIn profile is up on your monitor, so that it’s almost like talking to a person. The other thing is that we always tell them to turn off all the notifications and everybody knows that, but there’s always those notifications that you forgot about, the Dropbox folder, doing a microphone check. The number one thing you’re judged by is your audio quality.

And I would ask people, “Would you go for a video shoot in your bathrobe?” And they’re like, “No, I wouldn’t want to be seen that way. I wouldn’t want that to be the first impression.” Well, don’t go on a podcast interview with your little microphone that’s built into your laptop.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, yeah.

Tom Schwab:

It sounds like you’re calling in from a bathroom stall.

Drew McLellan:

Or don’t be in a Starbucks, or don’t be someplace that’s noisy, like an office.

Tom Schwab:

Yeah, and it’s disrespectful to the host, it’s also disrespectful to the guests. And I would even throw in there too is that you need to check it beforehand, and this is a story that I tell to all of our clients, because it was probably one of the worst days of my life. I had this great opportunity to be on this podcast and had prepared for it. I had gone through. I restarted my computer. I had checked everything and just like we did here, five 10 minutes before the podcast, I Skyped him that I’m all set for the interview. And the truth is, is I was lying on that because I hadn’t checked my microphone. Here I am talking into a $300 Heil microphone. And when my computer restarted, it picked the wrong microphone. I was being picked up by the microphone in the computer.

Drew McLellan:

Oh, no.

Tom Schwab:

And I didn’t catch it till the end and by that time, it was too late and I was very apologetic. But as I listened to that interview afterwards, it sounded like I was calling it from a bathroom stall. So, those are all things that you can do in order to five or 10 minutes before the podcast, just to make sure that everything is perfect.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, I think of it from the host perspective, but also when I guessed on somebody else’s podcast, I think of it as the pilot doing the check. I may have already been in this plane for 12 hours today, but I’ve landed and I’m taking off again. I’m going to go back through the exact same check, the sound check and all of that because you never know. It’s technology, so you never know when something wonky’s going to happen, but I think you’re right. I think speaking as a host, sound is one of the biggest challenges. I’m astonished at some of the guests that I’ve had on who are our big popular successful names in the business who were thinking that they were going to do it off of as you said the laptop mic or whatever.

And I just think you could sound so much better. Yes, we could do it this way, but you the guests are not putting your best foot forward.

Tom Schwab:

Well, as anybody’s listening to this podcast right now, think of yourself, if the audio quality is awful, are you going to listen to it? And you don’t want to put too much burden on the host. Yeah, you can fix up a lot of things with editing, but it’s a whole lot easier at the very beginning if you sound good. In fact, there’s one of the big podcast host that was telling me that he cancels 20% of his interviews within the first two minutes.

Drew McLellan:

Wow.

Tom Schwab:

And I’m like, “How do you do that?” And he’s like, “Well, they show up and they don’t sound good.” And he says, “I’m not going to waste my time with that nor am I going to waste insult my audience’s time to listen to that.” And he says, “I’ve already told them beforehand. They probably booked this two months out to be on the show, and I told them you need this kind of equipment. And if they don’t show up sounding great,” he says, “I’m not going to waste my time.” And he says, “And if they didn’t listen the first time, there’s no way that I will reschedule them.” And the thing is, is that you don’t have to have a Heil microphone that costs $400, boom and everything like that.

There’s some great microphones out there that you could probably get for $80 that would make you sound good. And the same thing, headphones so that when the podcast host speaks, it’s not being picked up by the microphone. And those are all things that you can go through that are within your control. So, those are the horror stories I have. And I think most people if they understand the audience can speak to them. But if they don’t know who they’re talking to, boy, it’s hard to do. And I think the more that you can focus down on who you want to talk to, the more success you have. I think of one client that we had and he was promoting a book. And he knew that podcasts were the way to go.

So, he decided that he was going to get on podcasts and he targeted it down that anybody with $20 to buy a book was a good fit for him. And he went on probably two dozen podcasts and was so frustrated, because it didn’t work.

Drew McLellan:

Right, there was no uptick in the book sales, right?

Tom Schwab:

Right. And when we started looking at it and putting the pieces together, that’s how we found out no, that it doesn’t work. And the other thing is that we’ve even had other people we’ve worked with, where they’ve been on podcasts, but they didn’t have the system built behind it. So, they didn’t have a welcome page to send people to. They didn’t have an offer, or something to get them to go from being a listener to a visitor. With that, I can think of he was a franchisor. So, he was selling franchises the total in on it was about $30,000. And he did about 20 podcasts and got five leads out of it before he had the system. And then after he started using the system, he got 50 leads within the first 30 days.

Drew McLellan:

Wow.

Tom Schwab:

And the analogy that I used for it is like he had a great engine to the car, but he had no transmission. So, it doesn’t matter how much fuel you put in it…

Drew McLellan:

We’re not going anywhere, right.

Tom Schwab:

Right, so you need to work on every piece of it. And I always say that it’s not magic, it’s not any anything that you can’t figure out, but it is a system and you need to do every part in the system if you’re going to get this predictable results.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, so a couple quick things. Listeners, I’ve got a great one-page PDF that encourages my guests in terms of the sound equipment that they use, the headphone and the microphone and all of that. We’ll make sure that along with Tom’s link to the site that he told us about, we include that PDF for you as well, so that may be something you can share with clients to help them get the right equipment. And again as Tom says, it doesn’t have to be billions of dollars, but it is worth spending a little bit of money to get the right stuff. So, a question I have for you Tom is it’s interesting, I’ve never had anyone do this to me, but is it appropriate for a podcast guest to suggest questions, or topics to the host in advance? Is that bad advocate?

Tom Schwab:

Yes and no. The way I look at it is that our job as a guest is to make it easy on the host. So, one of the things that we do with all of our clients is basically a one page pitch sheet. Here again, behind the curtain, that bio that started out at the beginning, that’s on my one-page pitch sheet.

Drew McLellan:

Sure.

Tom Schwab:

Different questions or different topics we talk about, that’s on there. All of the contact information and a lot of times, hosts will want to know what questions can I ask you, at least as a starting point for it. I find the best interviews are the ones where they start asking questions that their listeners are already asking. If they ask you for questions, I always put those out there. Not so much questions as speaking topics, and they can change it into the form of a question then.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah. For example, when you filled out my pre-interview form, you gave me four or five bullet points of topics that you thought would be interesting to my listeners, which was helpful for me and my prep.

Tom Schwab:

Yeah, and some podcasts hosts, I will be honest with you, they will say, “Can you give me the questions you want me to ask?” And I always encourage people, and we take a lot of care in this of not just going to giving the five questions that come to mind, but really going into the podcast and saying, “What questions do their audience want answered?”

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, yeah. So, tell us a little bit about how your business works and how you work with agencies for listeners who are thinking this might be a dandy plan.

Tom Schwab:

Sure. Really, we work with agencies to make them look good. There’s certain things that we do, and that we just focus on, on getting clients on podcasts and that’s all that we want to do. We don’t want to ever be seen as anything, but complementary to the agency. You have the relationship with them. We just want to serve you and the client. And we’re really focused on this white glove concierge service, because we realize that people just want to be make it easy. With that, we’ll work with the agency to prep the guest in any way they want. We’ll work with the agency on notifications to the guests and the prep work, and everything like that. So, we’re very flexible with that, and some of our best clients are our agencies because they can fill in that missing piece for the client.

Ultimately, we want all of our clients not just to be customers, but raving fans. And they need that back end part to it also, and that’s something that we’ve intentionally said, “No, we’re not going to set up your sales funnels for you. To manage all of that, we’re not going to manage the CRM for you, but there are great agencies out there that can do that.” So, I just look at this as another arrow in their quiver that they can use to really get traffic. And I think from a client standpoint, it’s something new, it’s something innovative and it’s something that they can see immediate results with. Now by immediate, I don’t mean that you book it and the show airs the next day.

But at least when that show airs, you can see the uptick in traffic. You can show that to them. You can show them what traffic and what leads came from that effort. And sometimes, that’s hard to do on other content that may take longer to do that.

Drew McLellan:

And are you transparent to the end client? Do they know that you’re a different company? How does that all work?

Tom Schwab:

Yeah, we try to be transparent in everything that we are supporting the agency. We don’t want to white label it such that there’s any misrepresentation of who we are and who we work with, but we work for the agency, the client. The agency works for the client, and we work for the agency. We’re very clear up front that non competes and that it’s your client, we’re just helping you with them.

Drew McLellan:

And you build the agency directly, right? You don’t deal with the client on the money side either, right?

Tom Schwab:

That’s correct, we build the agency on that and it’s always build at a lower rate than the list price. If they come to our site, our pricing up there is transparent. So they would see that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the price that the agency is paying.

Drew McLellan:

So, you’re giving the agency room to make a margin is what you’re saying?

Tom Schwab:

Exactly.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, yeah. Okay. Are there certain topics or subject matter that I don’t care how interesting the person is, there is no podcast for them, or is it really no matter who your client is and what they do, there are podcasts out there that they could be guests on?

Tom Schwab:

With 200,000 podcasts, I think there’s podcasts for everything out there. Now that being said, we don’t focus on all of those. We’ve just made the decision to focus on three main verticals. And our biggest vertical is business and that can go everywhere from here; marketing, entrepreneurship, solopreneurship, leadership, marketing sales, all of those things in the business vertical. Our second vertical is health, wellness, and fitness, and then the third vertical we focus in is faith in Christianity. So, we’ve had some great potential clients come to us. And we just have to be honest with them and say, “That’s not a vertical that we currently focus on, and we want to make sure that we’ve got the solid relationships there and also, these solid clientele.”

Because so often, if you get one guest in, it’s easy to get that next guest in.”

Drew McLellan:

Sure.

Tom Schwab:

I would just say that if you are trying to do this in a very, very weird niche. If it’s macrame or something like that, in order to get any scale and build the relationships with the podcasters, you’re going to need to focus on that niche.

Drew McLellan:

Well, and I think it makes sense that both for the agency owners if they want to be the guests or for their clients, it makes no sense to expend the energy talking to an audience who’s never going to buy from you.

Tom Schwab:

Correct, and the downside I would say if you’ve got a geographically limited business. So, I was talking to a gentleman the other day, great guy, great company here in Kalamazoo Michigan, but he installs high-end television sets and audio systems. And I had to be honest with him. I’m like, “You could get on podcasts become known as the expert and get a lot of leads. But if you’re not going to go outside 25 miles outside of your geography, now chances are you’re not going to be able to do that. Now, there’s certain ways that you could do that if you wanted to get creative and share those leads with other partners in other areas-

Drew McLellan:

Sure sure.

Tom Schwab:

… do something like that, do an online product that teaches people how to do it or anything like that, but I think you almost have to have more of a national reach in your business if you’re going to fully leverage podcasts.”

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, absolutely. If the listeners have been listening to all of this and they’re saying, “You know what, this is something I want to either bring to my agency for myself, you know what, this whole idea of being a guest on podcasts,” short of hiring you guys, are there a couple things either for themselves or for their clients that they can do on their own to begin to walk down this path?

Tom Schwab:

Very much so, and I would encourage them that if you’ve got a great client that you think would be a great test for this, that would be great. Another way is for you to do it yourself because that way, you could see it from your client’s perspective and really understand the process. And if you go back, we got a lot of resources there. So, definitely use the checklist each and every time. And if you make a mistake that isn’t on the checklist, all I ask is please email me. I won’t laugh… [crosstalk 00:41:27].

Drew McLellan:

So, there their blood can be added to the list, right?

Tom Schwab:

I will not laugh at you, but I will add it to the checklist. So, use that checklist. There’s another resource there the nine secrets to get booked on your first podcast. Often, the first podcast is the toughest one and then you can start leveraging it from there. And you can also get on podcasts and at the end of the podcast, just ask the host, “Hey, do you know any other shows that I might be a good guest for?” Podcasters know other podcasters and think about it if you could just get two introductions from every podcast, you’d have more leads in three months than you would know what to do with.

And finally, if you just go back there to interviewvalet.com/betteragency, there’s a 30-minute webinar that we did there that talks about the process that we’ve put in place in order to… It’s basically inbound marketing of how to take people from being a listener to a visitor to a lead, and that’s a great place to start there too.

Drew McLellan:

And are most podcasters do you find are open to people reaching out to them and saying, “Hey, I’d like you to consider me as a guest on your podcast”?

Tom Schwab:

Yes and no from the standpoint put yourself in the podcaster’s shoes. Most of them aren’t doing it for a full-time business. If you send them a long, long email, it’s probably not going to get read or responded to. And you can’t go there of what’s in it for me, but reaching out to them and saying, “Hey, I’ve got this that I think would be great benefit to your audience, and this is what I would like to present,” that’s what will get their attention. And putting that one sheet attaching to that, so that they can look really quick and say, “Yeah, this person knows what they’re doing, they’re professional. I’ll spend my time on this.” And the other thing is that nobody likes a cold email or a cold one, a cold contact.

So, take your time and I say don’t focus on a thousand podcasts, focus on five podcasts. Listen to them, leave a rating and review on iTunes.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely, yep.

Tom Schwab:

I guarantee every podcast host reads those, and they will know your name. Follow them, so share their stuff on social media. Do that for a few weeks and then reach out to them and say, “Drew, I love the Build a Better Agency Podcast. I think this would be of value to your clients or to your listeners. What do you think?” And you start that discussion there, and you’ll get there. You’ll get results a lot faster than doing a blind email to a thousand podcasts.

Drew McLellan:

Yeah, it’s a little like building a relationship with a reporter before you ask them to write a story about you, same sort of thing. Yep.

Tom Schwab:

Perfect analogy.

Drew McLellan:

Yep, yep. Well, this has been awesome Tom. I knew you were going to deliver a lot of great content, and you certainly did not disappoint in that. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise so generously and your time. I am very grateful.

Tom Schwab:

I am passionate about this Drew and I love sharing this message. And I know that your audience will actually appreciate this and be able to see how it’ll work for their clients. There’s one thing that I always say is that going forward, people are going to be listening to podcasts.

Drew McLellan:

Oh, yeah, yep.

Tom Schwab:

Twenty percent right now, but it’s the fastest growing medium out there. So, the only question is, is who they going to be listening to? Are they going to be listening to you and your clients, or are they going to be listening to your competition? And really the choice is yours.

Drew McLellan:

Any last thoughts you want to leave the listeners as we wrap up?

Tom Schwab:

One of my favorite quote quotes comes from Derek Sivers. He started a company called CD Baby, which is the precursor to iTunes. And one of the things he said is that what’s ordinary to you is amazing to others, and I think a lot of people struggle with that on podcasts. They’re like, “Well, what do I have to share?” And what you know, you are an expert in something. You’re an expert about your business about, your market, and you really need to share that with people because it blesses them, it’ll bless you, and that’s what people resonate with. So, what you have to say other people need to hear and the easiest way to do that is being on a podcast as a podcast guest.

Drew McLellan:

That is such a great point. I think so often, we diminish our own knowledge and we think everybody must know what I know. And the reality is that anybody who has been in business for a while successfully has knowledge and expertise that most people do not have or know, and they’re hungry for it.

Tom Schwab:

And sometimes, we always say there’s three types of experts. There’s the professor with the PhD, there’s the veteran that’s got 40 years’ experience and the war stories, and then there’s that traveler, that person that’s going through it and is making the same mistakes and learning as they go. And it’s amazing that on podcasts, we found that veteran or the traveler is the one that actually converts best, just because people can relate to them. So, everybody’s got something to share and I just encourage you the scariest podcast you ever do and the worst podcast you ever do will be your first one. So, get your first one done and move on to number two.

Drew McLellan:

Absolutely. Tom, if folks want to track you down, what are the best ways for them to reach you?

Tom Schwab:

Sure. You can connect with me at Interview Valet. We’ve got that page set up at interviewvalet.com/better agency. My email is [email protected], and I love LinkedIn. I’m the only Tom Schwab in all of Kalamazoo. I really do mean that, that’s what’s ordinary to you is amazing to me. Please if you got any questions, if you want to talk about this, please just reach out to me.

Drew McLellan:

Awesome, awesome. Thank you again so much for your time, I appreciate it.

Tom Schwab:

Thank you Drew.

Drew McLellan:

All right guys, this wraps up another episode of Build a Better Agency. I hope that this inspired you to think a little differently about some offerings you can bring to clients, but also be thinking about it for you, especially if you are a niche agency or you have some areas of expertise or specialty that allows you to not be bound by geography. This is a great tactic for you to employ in your new business efforts as well. Come on back next week, where I will have another guest who will help you build a bigger, better, stronger, more profitable agency. As always, I’m hoping that this is of great value to. You can reach me anytime at [email protected] and as Tom alluded, nothing would make me happier than if you would go to iTunes or Stitcher and leave a rating and review.

That’s how other folks find us, and I would be eternally grateful and I do go look. So, I’ll know that you’re there. Also, subscribe you don’t miss an episode and I will see you next week, talk to you soon.

Speaker 1:

That’s all for this episode of Build a Better Agency. Be sure to visit agencymanagementinstitute.com to learn more about our workshops and other ways we serve small to mid-sized agencies. While you’re there, sign up for our e-newsletter, grab our free eBook, and check out the blog. Growing a bigger, better agency that makes more money, attracts bigger clients, and doesn’t consume your life as possible here on Build a Better Agency.