Many businesses have jumped into the podcasting scene to create meaningful connections with their audience. They build their brand and market trust one episode at a time, pushing their venture to the next level. Tracy Hazzard, Scott Kelly, and Erik Huberman join forces in this webinar episode to discuss how to utilize podcasts for this purpose. They explain how it can give you higher ROI, gain positive feedback, and secure tremendous business success when done the right way. They also talk about the best strategies to avoid pod fading, what to learn from the success of celebrity podcasters, and initial strategies for starting your own podcast.
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Building Market Trust: How Podcasting Helps Brands Accelerate
We’ve got two phenomenal guests joining us. First of all, I want to introduce Erik Huberman, Founder and CEO of Hawke Media, a highly successful marketing agency known as Your Outsourced CMO. He’s helped 3,000 brands worldwide and that has been in all kinds of honors and awards, including Forbes 30 Under 30, CSQ is 40 under 40, Inc. Magazine’s Top 25 Marketing Influencers and many others. He is a well-known writer, thought leader and has been featured in all kinds of publications like Rolling Stone, Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur and the author of the Hawke Method, which I’m hoping he is going to share a bit about.
We also have Tracy Hazzard, Brandcasters. She is a seasoned media expert with over 2,600 interviews from articles in Authority Magazine, Buzzfeed and Inc. Magazine column and a top-ranked video podcast and video host of podcasts such as The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand and One of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the Founder and CEO of Podetize, an all-in-one podcast production, hosting and valuation company known for its podcaster-centric technology and service solution, focused on getting hosts and their guests seen, found, heard and rewarded in this noisy digital world.
Brand marketing must do a lot of heavy lifting nowadays, moving through awareness to nurture trust and engagement at warp speed. Clients, buyers and investors look to your brand’s digital footprint to gather numerous points of information quickly to access trustworthiness. My first question to both of you is you both chose to represent your brands through podcasting as your media of choice. I’d like to ask Erik and Tracy, what are your reasons for choosing podcasting? Tell us about your experiences as a podcaster. I’ll let ladies go first. Tracy, why don’t you start then, Erik, we’d love to get your feedback.
Thank you, Scott. I love being here and am so glad to be here with Erik and hear his thoughts on this as well. I think podcasting was an easier choice for me. It was years ago that I started my first show, a geeky little show on 3D printing called WTFFF?!. I started it because we wanted to create a connection point to our readers, audience and our list of people. What we wanted to do is tap express our brand and thought leadership model.
It was this authority-building method that we thought of and we looked at it and said, “This is going to be a long tail content creation process.” At that time, livestream wasn’t big. Now we do video, but we didn’t back then. It wasn’t the thing. Podcasting seemed like a little bit easier media method to be able to utilize and do what we wanted to do. For me, it worked out well. It’s how I got my Inc. column, writing on innovation and disruptive technology.
It’s how I got speaking engagements. Without even thinking about it, we built an audience of 100,000 listeners per month in five months from starting that show. Everyone came to us and said, “What are you doing? How are you doing this? Will you do this for me?” It became the next logical question. That’s how I ended up in the podcasting business. For us, the whole approach to podcasting was looking at it as how do I create this deep connection point? Voice is such a good way to do that. It touches into people’s emotions, builds trust faster and that’s why we chose it.
Erik, I’d love to hear your experience in why you chose podcasting and your experience as a podcaster.
To me, when it comes to media in general, meet people where they are. You said, “Chose as the medium.” I wouldn’t call it the medium. We pretty much leveraged every medium. One of the mediums we were missing when we decided to this was podcasting, but the real motivation for it was, thankfully, over the years of being in the tech space and entrepreneurial space, I’ve met a lot of cool people. Not all of them have anything to do with my business, but a lot of them are great connections and great people to know, celebrities, high achievers in their different categories, etc. I was always fascinated by how do you become the top person in your field in this or that?
It might not have anything to do with marketing or the stuff we do, but the impetus of it was I have all these cool connections. I want to sit down and talk to them about where they came from. On a selfish level, I want to learn about it. I want to understand what it takes to achieve in any category. If I asked one of these people on my podcast, “Do you want a grab coffee so I can talk to you for an hour about where you came from?” Most people would be like, “No.” You throw in the word podcast and they’re very willing to do it.
You put an audience behind it and then realize pretty quickly the selfish reasons that I started at were also reasons why people want to listen. They want to know these same stories I do. It kept perpetuating and I’ve been doing it for years. Interviewing some of the great people I come across in my travels and my business and anywhere from the guy that was the first person to walk by himself across Antarctica to NBA All-Stars and NFL All-Stars and celebrities, Gary Vaynerchuk, top entrepreneurs, etc.
I’ve tried to keep it pretty diverse and it turned into understanding what it takes to be successful. What I’ve learned after doing almost 100 of these is there’s no clear path, which I thought there was going to be some consistency across them and the answer was or wasn’t. It started as a selfish reason. It turned into another medium. We talked about this a little bit offline. I realized it also became a great brand alignment where like our job as a business is to grow businesses to help people achieve their dreams, to get people to a certain goal. Basically, my entire show is about people achieving their goals and dreams.
We titled this Building Trust. Erik and Tracy, may you give your perspective on what ways you feel that podcasting can build or accelerate that trust? Tracy?
To me, there are lots of people who talk about know, like and trust. I like to look at podcasting as the opposite of that. It starts out in trust. I trust my app that I listen to that there are going to be great podcasts in there. I already trust the portal, the access to those podcasts because it’s a listing. It’s a directory. I already have a bottle there. I also understand that no one’s going to be accessing me individually. There can’t be marketing to me. There are no emails that go out. Podcasting is a blind thing.
As a listener, I get to choose what I’m doing. I already have a high level of trust in where the content exists. That is a real benefit. When we look at wanting to market ourselves and get ourselves out there, we need to be where our audience is. If our audience is reading and they’re doing it in this passive way. That’s okay. We want to be there.
That’s why we choose to promote on social media, go to TikTok, go wherever we need to to make sure that we’re reaching those audiences. In the case of podcasting, it’s a pull. They’re pulling into you. I’m not pushing out to you. It’s there and it exists. It’s ready for them. There’s a higher level of trust automatically and they don’t feel sold to or marketed to from the beginning. That’s why I love podcasting so much.
Over time, the reality is that our voice has a different connection point with people. When we connect with voice, we get into their head faster. We get into their hearts faster. They hear the emotion in our voices. There’s a lot more connection than it is reading captions, which a lot of people do on video. We are seeing that expressed in the numbers, so 70% play-through is the average of a podcast.
In the video, every single minute that you go, you lose about 70% of your audience. There is very different model of consumption in there. With they’re getting your whole message, they’re building trust faster as well. That’s why podcasting, to me, is such a richer, trust-building media. The main thing is trust doesn’t come if I don’t show care. If I don’t show that I care about you or about this topic or I care about making sure that the world’s a better place, that we’re creating independent entrepreneurs who make more money or whatever it is that our goal and our mission is.
I’m demonstrating care because I am putting out this podcast and it is costing me time, energy and money to do it. I’m instantly showing that I care for you. The second thing that I’m showing is my integrity because I show up week after week producing this podcast for you. Those are ways to accelerate trust faster. We go through that know, like and trust extremely quickly.
Erik, you’ve worked with literally thousands of brands on an annual basis and I’d love to get your feedback on how those brands have used podcasts to build their brand and their business. At the same time, maybe share a little bit about your new book, the Hawke Method and maybe how those principles might apply to podcasting.
Basically, the book is about what we’ve done for a decade in terms of marketing and how we build brands and our way of looking at marketing. It’s about three principles of marketing, awareness, nurturing and trust. That’s where that trust is 1 of the 3 pillars. We talk about it as a tripod. Awareness is basically what you do to introduce your company to a new potential customer. Nurturing is what do you do to take that from awareness to a customer?
Things you do to nurture them as well as post customer, how do we get them coming back? Trust, 75% of people won’t buy from a company they don’t inherently trust. Early on, that trust comes third from third-party validation because I don’t know who you are. You can do all you want to tell me how great you are. I don’t know who you are. It’s coming from other people, other sources, PR, influencers, etc., with testimonials reviews.
With podcasting, the way it builds trust is twofold. It builds trust because you’re having other people on the podcast and by nature, they validate you. It’s something that we’ve talked about with our own podcasts. Look at all these celebrities and all these people that are coming on and talking to us. It’s like Gary Vaynerchuk sitting there talking on our podcast about how we’re basically the same and we do the same things. We’re one of the same things. That’s a validator to people that didn’t know we exist. We have a decent brand in our space at this point.
If we were getting started and I got that comment, I would have probably run ads behind that little clip. That kind of validation is huge. The other piece it does, and Tracy alluded to this in a lot of ways, is they hear you and what you’re about. They hear your inflections, what you’re passionate about, how you comment on certain things and the questions you ask. I was trying to be delicate about it, but I had Jordan Belfort on my podcast. I had to ask if there was any remorse on screwing a bunch of people over.
When someone hears that, they go, “You don’t view Jordan Belfort as I want to be him and I want to screw everyone over to make a bunch of money too.” You wanted to question that. It’s things like that, depending on the audience, they’re going to start to understand who you are. Trust, to me, is not necessarily always a positive thing. I think that’s important to say.
Trust can also be negative. Meaning I see trust as synonymous with your brand. It’s what people trust they’re going to get from you. That can include the negative, meaning if I held Jordan Belfort in this amazing light, they can probably trust that I will probably try to screw them over if I can make some money. Those kinds of things, that’s still trust. By being on a podcast, being consistent, talking about the things that are important to you, you end up attracting the people that fits with. There are other people that don’t care.
They want a grinder that’s going to go make money, hand over fist and don’t care if they have to watch their back about it. There are other people that care about that integrity. They see, “This guy cares about integrity. This aligns with my values. I feel more confident working with this person.” It’s all those little things about what you talk about how you present yourself.
I don’t know what the average length of a podcast is but let’s say it’s 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour. Whatever it is, it’s a lot longer than the two-second ad you get on Facebook or even a blog post you get someone to read. You get a lot of someone’s attention. As Tracy mentioned, hearing someone’s voice goes a lot further than reading something they wrote.
It’s interesting. You touched on celebrities. I was going to ask this question. We hear a lot about celebrity podcasts. There’s Joe Rogan, Reed Brown and other celebrities. You mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk and Mr. Belfort, who I did a deal with him many years ago, regretfully.
Did you get paid?
That will be another podcast story. I guarantee you.
He worked with us. He did pay us.
Obviously, celebrities get a lot of buzz when it comes to podcasting, but we don’t hear a lot about businesses and brands being successful in podcasts. Tracy and Erik, why do you think that is?
It’s interesting. It’s also a problem. When I wrote my column for Inc. Magazine, they wanted me to write about Elon Musk and Steve Jobs. I was like, “I can’t interview them. I can’t ask them questions.” Your readers are the nitty-gritty, in the trenches founders who are trying to grind out a start-up or trying to move it to the next page, trying to get to that eight-figure business. It’s not the right audience for them to follow the advice of Elon Musk. They don’t have his billions. It’s never going to work for them.
I go against that and say, “I want to find the podcasters, the ones that are grinding it out, are doing the work, who are making money for their businesses, for their brands and doing that.” That’s part of why I have the show, The Binge Factor, so that I can interview them, and ask them all these questions about how they’re being successful. I’ve done now over 150 interviews on The Binge Factor. It’s probably my third podcast.
I’ve done thousands of interviews now, but 150 on that show. What I’ve gotten from them is that they are not looking at download numbers. The industry, the PR, the thing that’s out there, that’s what they use as a metric to say, “If you’re not getting 11 million downloads like Joe Rogan, then we don’t want to write about you. We’re not interested in you.” The reality is that I find businesses that are making millions of dollars. I find investment podcasts that are getting investors in hundreds of thousands of dollars investment from listening to the show and deciding to invest in a company.
All of those things are working and that is all happening, but we can’t look at it in this traditional media ad monetization model that says, “If you’re not making ad dollars and you don’t have millions of downloads, it’s not working. It’s not successful.” Redefining what I call alternative monetization success is going to be the need going forward. I look at it as we need to split the industry in its view.
The media broadcasting model is one thing. Brand awareness still goes into that model. You do need to do some of that. Have a great show, have a great message like Erik is talking about. Make that happen but if we’re using this for business purposes, let’s have a different definition of success over time. I think that’s going to make the difference. I could name podcasts that maybe have 1,000 listeners a month that make millions of dollars.
Erik, maybe touch on that because, obviously, we’ve all mentioned some celebrity podcasters. Erik, do you have any stories specifically for some founders, maybe even investors you’ve worked with over the years and how podcasting has been successful for them?
I’ve seen it used in a few different ways. In terms of like being the driver of success, there are people like Joe Rogan. That is what drives the success. His success is his podcast. There are people like that. For most people that are building another business, it’s a piece of the puzzle. That’s important. I haven’t seen a lot of people that their podcast is what built their success. There are people that have successful podcasts. That is true, but they’re usually a podcaster first. It’s not usually they’re building a business and podcasts becomes the thing that drives that business. It’s a thing. That’s an important distinction. I’ve seen it used in different ways and Tracy’s alluding to this.
There’s a media outlet like the way we’re using it, frankly. It’s important to know that most media doesn’t create that much awareness these days. It’s more middle of the funnel. It’s not like you get a piece of press or you get on a big podcast and you get all that. You get a flood. The Oprah effect is virtually dead, so to speak. I was on Adam Carolla’s podcast. I was on The Drew Barrymore Show. I was literally on live TV was Drew Barrymore.
I can tell you, it basically did nothing for me from an awareness perspective, but I posted about it. I talked about it and now all the people in the funnel go, “That’s legit.” It’s back to trust. “He must be legitimate if Drew Barrymore’s having him on her show and Adam Carolla and all these people are validating him.” That’s interesting. That’s where we come in. That’s one way of doing it. When we’re talking about another way that I’ve seen at work, you have to be really careful on this because it can feel like bait and switch to your audience.
A lot of people are using podcasts to be like, “Come on my podcast.” They open the door with that person and then they use it as a way to now have a relationship and start talking to them about business and things like that. If done right, that can work well. I had someone do it very wrong and it was frustrating. They interviewed me for fifteen minutes. You could tell they didn’t care about the podcast at all and then he started pitching me.
I was like, “Send me an email. You asked me for an hour of my time to be on a podcast. I said yes because part of my job and my company is to spread awareness for it. I came on, but now I can tell this isn’t going anywhere.” It was a bait and switch. I’ve had that a few times because I frankly say yes a lot. That you have to be careful of how you leverage that, but that’s a pretty commonly used tool.
We see that a lot with like FINRA regulated, so they can’t have a podcast about investment advice, but they could meet CPAs who are their best referral partners. We do see that guests. We call it the guest model where you’re using your guests to leverage it. If you don’t do it in relationship building, Erik is completely right. It totally backfires. It’s a funnel. It’s very obvious to people. It’s obvious to me in the form that you fill out when you’re guesting because I’ve done this so much. If you’re filling out a form and it’s asking you all these questions about your business and other stuff like that, be aware. This is probably a funnel.
A good example of this we’re talking about now. A little inside baseball. We have a venture fund. We raised our second fund. We’ve raised $25 million to $50 million. It turns out I know tons of CEOs and operators, but I don’t know a lot of money managers. It’s not been my network. It’s not been my built-in. Raising a fund has been a grind. The second one raised half of it in a week because we built some relationships. Now, I go to the second half and I go, “I don’t know who to call. This is not what I’m doing all day.”
We talked about my partner who runs the fund, watching a podcast, interviewing family offices on how they’re managing money, how they’re allocating, etc., figuring that out. That is an option. We’re not going to go in and be like, “By the way, do you want to invest?” That’s not the strategy. The strategy is to create content around this, build some relationships. Maybe over time, build a network in that. It’s a long tail thing.
Speaking to what Erik was saying before, when you have that strategy and you’re utilizing that content in a repurpose model. In this case, I would highly recommend blogs. It would be the case of what I would do if I were helping them with their strategy. If you’re adding those blogs and interviewing those family offices, all those names associated with you are going to show up as being a part of your social proof at that point. Whether you’re going to get any mileage from the family offices you’ve interviewed or those who say, “I want to be like that family office. If they have a relationship with a Hawke venture fund, then I better join that.” That’s how it’s going to happen.
That’s interesting you bring that point up because, in my career, I’ve raised billions of dollars. I’ve worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and I’m constantly telling them, “If you ask for money, you’ll get advice. If you ask for advice, you may get money. Act accordingly.” I appreciate that feedback. Tracy, we’ve had some conversations in the past about podcasts that fail. There’s an industry term that’s called podfading. Maybe you can share a little bit more about what podfading is for everybody reading.
Podfading is when you quit your show without telling your audience. This is what happens. It’s like all of a sudden, you stop recording because most podcasts record in advance. I might be recording up through September, but then, all of a sudden, I get busy in August and I don’t record. I don’t have anything to fill the pipeline then all of a sudden, I can’t get back to it. We call that podfading when you basically forgot to tell your audience you were done podcasting.
Some people do tell them in that process, but podfading is about 73% of the market. If you want to think about it, it’s like attrition. It’s quitting your show. The points that they quit is three. They didn’t get started at all. That’s a false start, as far as I’m concerned. Eleven, which is usually a short season, that typically ends up being the entertainment-style podcast that end up only at eleven shows and then 23. Those are the numbers where the most drop-off happens on shows.
Are you saying I made it?
You made it. To me, if you make it past 25 and if you make it past 100, then you have a right to stop your show whenever you want. You’ve given enough catalog of information that you have certainly given it out to people. Podfading is a huge part of it. We have about 2.5 million podcasts out there and only about 385,000 of them are actively posting new episodes every single week. When we look at those numbers, podcasting is a small pond.
Only 20,000 new ones are joining each month, so we get 20,000 new ones launching each month as we go through the year, which is low. It’s three times lower than it’s ever been. That’s significant. You’re building a marketing method, a tactic you’re utilizing in a space that has more listeners than ever and yet not more people launching shows. This is a great time to start podcasting because that podfading is happening.
Erik and Tracy, but let’s start with Erik. Obviously, you’ve got a wildly successful business and you’re extremely busy. How do you avoid podfade? This is for both of you. How would you recommend a podcast should be more successful and avoid that podfade?If your podcast, business, and goals are not aligned, a mismatch happens. You need to make a switch on the content you are putting out. - @hazzdesign Click To Tweet
It’s a huge pain in the ass if I’m being blunt. To be honest, it’s work like anything else. You have to be dedicated to it. Doing the hour podcast a week is not the work that’s hard. It’s getting people scheduled, finding the right people. We took a few months’ break because our producer dropped the ball. I was trying to chase it down and was like, “I don’t have time to do what I’m already doing and chase down our production company.” We had to find a new one, etc. We’re relaunching.
I think I have like ten in the can ready to go, so we’ll be relaunching soon while I start to build it. Part of it is I have to be out and about meeting people and building that network and finding people. We tried to do cold outreach and it’s so hard. That’s a full-time job in and of itself. Frankly, it’s not that lucrative. Podcasts don’t make that much money until you get to huge scale. We get tens of thousands of downloads a month. We now have a sponsor, but it’s more because they want to be a part of Hawke Media not because they care about the podcast.
You have to be disciplined about it and know why you’re doing it. The other thing is I think a lot of people do it and it’s not utilized. You are burning time. If you’re grinding to do something that doesn’t benefit your career or benefit you that you don’t enjoy, then don’t do it. There should be very solid clear reasons why you’re spending the time on it.
Let’s touch on that, the ROI because, obviously, we’ve talked about podcasting as a supplement or as a branding tool. Tracy, you work with podcasters all the time. Maybe give us some feedback on how a brand company or how much more can get the most ROI from a podcast. I’d love to get your feedback also, Erik, from the marketing standpoint.
If we look at ROI as the return on investment on our time, that’s as important here because of how time-intensive podcasting can be. We look at it from the time, not just the money, but both things go hand in hand here. For us, we did a research when we realized how high the industry podfade rate was. At 73%, to me, that’s ridiculous. It’s like 7 out of 10 consumer products fail. It’s a number that’s out there. We have 8 out of 10 and lots of venture funds fail.
To me, those odds are terrible. Why do I want to do something? I want to flip the odds whenever I can. Lucky for us, on our platform, we have less than 7% podfade rate. We said, “Why is that that we have something very unique that’s opposite of the industry? What are we doing that’s different?” There were three things that came about. The number one thing is the strategy. If I’m incorporating and I have a strategy behind my podcast, the strategy of who’s going to be a guest on my show, I know exactly who they are. They’re dialed in. There’s a list always being generated.
Maybe because it’s the same list that my business development person in my company needs to utilize, we segregate that list. For us, it’s podcasters with 100 episodes or more who have a business-style podcast, so meaning they’re building a brand or a business from podcasting. It’s very simple. We can go through the list that they generate and pull out the people we think will never have a phone call with us.
My team will send that to me and I will reach out personally, through direct chat and LinkedIn or I’ll have my assistant do it. It’s a part of the business process. It’s all lined up to function. It is a part of my job as the CEO of this company and the representative of it to make this happen. While I’m interviewing, I’m getting new ideas. It’s research for me. It’s input and relationship building. All of it ends up working. What we found over time is that we have, out of the four interviews I do a month and I only do four, we were getting half of them becoming clients.
These were people who would then bring many people that they influence. That was translating into the podcast. Its return on investment is extremely high because it was strategically based. The second big part is that we have support built into our system. You will need support. When you’re launching a podcast, it’s very different support that you need than when you’re 100 episodes in and you need to think about, “Is this still working for me? Do I need to dial this in? Do I need to make a pivot, a refinement?”
The fact that we provide support all along the way, no matter how much money you spend with us, we provide that, it makes a big difference. Those are the two critical factors. The third one is alignment. A lot of times, if your podcast and your business or your goals are not aligned, that’s where the mismatch happens. It’s time to make a switch. It may not be podcasting that’s the problem. It’s the content, the message that you’ve decided to put out. It’s a mismatch.
Erik, on ROI, I constantly watch your success stories on social media. There seems to be a general theme about marketing ROI. Maybe you could share maybe in generalities marketing ROI and maybe if you have an example of podcasting.
This has been a big topic, especially with the Apple-Facebook war going on. It’s been highlighted as something. It’s funny. In my book, which I wrote basically years ago before iOS 14 changed, there’s a section called ROAS is BS. Return On Ad Spend. It’s a BS metric and I’m trying to square. We’re going to be putting out an article about this. We’re trying to spread the word on this a little more. Why I say that is because the way people measure the efficacy of marketing is completely broken and generally ignores one key principle.
There’s one factor that nobody talks about and it’s obvious. Everyone here is like, “Yes, of course,” but when you go look at your way you’re measuring your marketing, I guarantee it, it doesn’t have any place on any one of your dashboards. The idea of that is a purchase cycle. It’s a simple metric. It takes time from when someone knows you exist to when they buy. That’s why nurturing is 1 of the 3 pillars. Except for when you’re measuring your ROAS, your return on ad spend. You’re probably measuring how much did I spend this week and how much did I make?
By the way, that’s literally how Facebook reports it. Except we know because we have data on tens of thousands of companies marketing that the average purchase cycle on the internet is somewhere between 3 weeks and 3 months. If I’m measuring a week, but the average is, let’s say, four weeks, by nature, it’s under-reporting massively. This is when you can directly track it, let alone when you can’t like the efficacy of a podcast.
When you can directly track it, everything’s broken already. We have that. We’ve launched a new software platform called Hawk.AI that’s trying to solve a lot of this and plugging this in. There are two other factors to this. It’s a benchmarking, knowing how I am doing against the industry is something people completely missed. You might think you’re doing poorly on your conversion rate on your site. It turns out you are outpacing 95% of the market, but you think it’s bad. That is another issue.
The third issue, marketing is not always a science. It’s an art too. What we talk about all the benefits of a podcast, my way of trying to figure out the ROI of a podcast is can I get to a baseline where I can assume it’s paying for itself? Everything else is gravy. That’s a lot of how I do marketing. Based on anecdotes and touchy-feely sides of marketing, do I think this is where I should spend my time based on the feedback I’m getting?
It is as simple, honestly, as we signed a client. They say they love your podcast. Perfect. I now know that money came in partially because of the podcast. That’s one thing. It’s the little anecdotes that help drive this stuff but what I try to do is baseline it as, does it pay for itself? Is it worth the time? Can I think about it and go, “I’ve done this podcast for years, spent an hour a week plus booking on average, has that been worth it?”
“I’ve made these relationships. I’ve closed this business. I have this many readers. Probably. What should I ever replace that hour with? No, that’s probably worth it.” It’s not a science. I think that’s super important. Everybody wants a cut and dry yes or no answer based on data. Most of the time, that ends up screwing you because you end up ignoring, let’s say, 90% of the benefit, like Facebook is doing now.
They are literally telling you to ignore 90% of the benefit of your Facebook ads so that they can at least report against it. What it’s telling everyone is this is failing, so now Facebook’s revenues are down for the first time. Shopify sites, on average, are down 15% because everyone thinks their lifeblood is broken and it’s a reporting problem.
When you’re looking at marketing in ROI in general, you have to be more nuanced. You have to treat it like both science and art. Inform yourself as close as you can. Is it working? Is it worth it? When we talk about the value of going to events, the big part of our business, we are acceptable cost to a customer is about $2,500 for us to acquire a customer.
I tell my team, “If we’re going to spend $2,500 sending you an event, the ticket, the travel, all that, get one customer. Anything above that’s gravy, just get one. It paid for itself. You’re fine. Now go do whatever you want to do.” It’s the same thing with a lot of how we look at it. Can we baseline at acceptable and know that there are other benefits?When looking at marketing and ROI in general, you have to be more nuanced. You need to treat them both as science and art. - @ErikHuberman Click To Tweet
For everybody, the full title of Erik’s book, the Hawke Method and obviously, I encourage you to pick it up at your favorite independent bookstore available or online. Erik, is there a direct link to purchase the book through you?
That’s on Amazon. That’s fine.
Tracy, we’ve got some folks on this call and people are going to be reading in later on. They’re new to podcasting. They don’t have a clue. They’re probably like me. How do they get started and be on the right path to be successful with their brand and successful in their business through podcasting?
The idea of starting podcasts, people get a little caught up in like, “What microphone should I have?” They’re like, “The tech.” That’s always the first question and I always cringe. It’s like, “I don’t know. I want you to ask the question, ‘Should I podcast,’ before we go, ‘What does it take to podcast?’” The what does it take is easy, to be honest with you. I know it seems daunting to those people out there, but there are courses, microphones, books on this and videos on it. I have a free course.
We have a free bootcamp we put in because we didn’t want people to have to worry about this part of it. It’s so simple. Should I podcast? What is that strategy for me? Do I need to achieve a lot of things with my company? Do I need blogs? Do I need social posts? Do I need video clips? Do I need these things? Can I get them out of doing podcasting as the only content production so that I don’t have to pay more money to have somebody write them, create them, do them? It’s coming in my voice. That authenticity is coming through.
That can be done if we have that mission and that method that we’re going to utilize. That’s what I like to look at. I think getting advice, getting strategy, bringing someone into look at that as this critical piece of marketing, using it as the vehicle to get all your marketing out there and using it as a part of that strategy. Making those dovetail together is going to make this smooth for you from the beginning, all the way through. If you’ve already gotten started, the thing that I love most about podcasting is it’s flexible. I can change my feed. I can change my brand. I can change the name of the show. I can change everything. We’ll be in the apps everywhere recreated.
If you got started, but it felt like a false start, don’t give up. Don’t podfade. Come and talk to someone. Please message us. We’ll be happy to talk to you. Talk to someone about the strategy behind it because you can leverage the audience that you built and not lose all of that time and energy that you put into it. If you’ve quit already, there’s still value there.
Erik and Tracy, I’d like to get any final thoughts, piece of advice and inspiration on podcasts that you can share. Erik, go ahead.
I would say like everything in marketing, you don’t have to do everything. Don’t take this as a pressure like, “I have to start a podcast.” I get that a lot, where it’s like, “What else do you do? Do I have to do this and do I have to do that?” Everybody has a different path to success. It’s what I’ve learned from my podcast. Don’t do it unless you are going to enjoy it too. There’s got to be a part of this that it’s like, “I want to do that.” I hear it all the time because I have a decent personal brand. Do I have to build a personal brand to be successful? No. There are tons of successes that never put their name out there that you’d never know that are way more successful than me and a lot of other people.
It’s more like, what are you going to do to drive? That’s one way to do it. When you’re thinking about a podcast, there are two parts of it. One, is it something you want to do? Two, do you have an offering that’s unique and different? Are people going to want to hear this podcast? If that’s why you’re doing it. If you’re doing it the biz dev version, that’s different. If you’re doing it for the media reason, are you creating value in your podcast? Are people going to get something from this? Is it something you think is missing in the market?
Don’t go copy someone else’s podcast and start another one. Frankly, I’m seeing this a lot with a lot of comedians now. They’re all trying to do podcasting and some of them are not that great. They’re funny, but these are great comedians that now they’re shooting the crap. You’re like, “Why am I listening to this?” Even Joe Rogan, I got to be honest. Sometimes, I can listen to it for like 30 minutes. I’m like, “This is a three-hour episode? Who is doing this?” Anyways, the point being make sure you’re creating value in everything you do. Don’t do it for the sake of doing it.
Tracy, final thoughts?
I agree with that. I love the idea of dovetailing those two things, making sure that you’ve got a great entertaining and I like to call it edutaining if that’s what you’re educating about your business or about your industry. Make that happen and make that also work with your business strategy, your marketing strategy. Make them go hand in hand because it’s going to be easier for you to do this long-term. As far as my final thoughts on the podcasting industry and where things are going, Erik touched on this.
The numbers are junk. They’re terrible. The IAB statistics and what they’ve forced. IAB is the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The way that they force the play numbers are dumbing down our statistics on it. Even our downloads and our plays aren’t good in terms of being accurate to what’s happening because a play is a play. I can see it on my backend. When my client gets a play, they’re getting a play. It’s happening and you can see the play through, but they’re making these numbers generalized and fitting the ad model of impressions and other things.
The industry’s not working in favor of the independent podcaster. We have to look at the statistics differently. We have to look on that return on investment in the valuation. Part of why we built our platform PodLister is because we wanted to look at the art and science of the numbers here and look at what’s going into that. Scott dropped the audits that we do. The audit that we do is the same thing that we do it now in a manual way that is going to be coming out in our valuation platform PodLister.
You’ll be able to see how your show is doing compared to your neighborhood. We call it the Zillow of podcasts so that it’s looking at it as, “Here’s what I did. I upgraded my bathroom and I upgraded my backyard. I have a pool.” I’m in this neighborhood of financial management podcast or real estate podcasts. I’m being compared against them instead of constantly compared to Joe Rogan or constantly compared to a show that has nothing to do with the type of listeners that are going to come to business podcasts.
We’re comparing them that way. I think that’s going to change the view of podcasting. Do I want to be a guest on the show? Do I want to advertise on the show? There’s going to be more what we would call topic and keyword alignment than ever before. It’s going to be obvious. That’s the big change that has to happen. The split in the market between old-style media broadcasting and digital marketing version of podcasting, they’re two different distinct things.
Thanks for that feedback. Let’s have a couple of questions. Christian had a question. He wants to get feedback of both Tracy and Erik. They’re interested in both of your takes on podcast host read ads versus dynamic automated ad insertion. Erik, I want you jump on that first and Tracy, you jump in.
Read ads are going to have higher efficacy because, basically, this goes to more of an advertising thesis. The idea is you have an ad coming from the trusted source that they’re listening to. My podcast listeners are listening to me. They’re coming to listen to me and my guests. If I then put my brand on someone else’s product or service, by nature, that’s going to be more compelling because they’re there to listen to me. They trust me. It’s a trust thing versus like an inserted ad. It’s effective as any other ads. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t but having me read an ad, it’s way more effective. It’s basically influencer marketing needs advertising versus just advertising.
Most often, what they’re referring to as dynamic automated ad insertion is like what Spotify and Anchor does, which is basically streaming ads on the front and back of your show. When they stream on the front, that means there are sometimes two-minutes worth of ads that might have nothing to do with your audience and your show before they ever hear the introduction of your episode. That’s why we built our systems so that you don’t have to do it that way because I think that’s awful.Always create value in everything you do. Don't just do something for the sake of doing it. - @ErikHuberman Click To Tweet
It’s awful customer service. You’re going to take ads which are going to give you whether they pay $10 to $20 per 1,000 listeners you have. It’s nothing. You’ll be paid pennies for those listeners and you’re going to lose listeners in the process because they’re so frustrated because they can’t skip them. They can’t get through to your show yet. That’s why I’m not a fan of those dynamic ad insertions. Ad insertion is a fantastic method but let’s not make it this automated streaming thing. It’s not serving the audience well. It’s not serving the hosts well and at the end of the day, it’s not serving the advertising brands either.
Jim, give us your question.
Bottom line, podcasts talk a lot about building audience and the rewards of doing the podcast business, but as a business, I want to market my business, how would podcasts affect my bottom line for preaching my customer base. Scott knows I’m trying to secure funding for my business. How would that help me achieve that objective? Once I have the funding that I want, how does podcasting going to affect my bottom line as far as getting more customers and getting more net profit out of my business?
What’s your business?
I’m in FinTech. Basically, payments and eCommerce.
Let’s not speak in generalities. What’s the business? I want to be specific. By the way, if you’re raising money and everything, be specific. If you say FinTech, you got every preconceived notion about what they think of FinTech.
There are four key areas that my business involves. One is a new monetary system whereby we have a stable coin that’s 100% guaranteed by gold. The second part of it is an eCommerce platform so that our users can use that eCommerce platform. The third way, an enterprise system that allows the end user to manage and connect everything on the enterprise functions backboard. Right now, all your different enterprise functions alerts the small business user or the consumer. You have to have multiple apps to achieve all your main functions. We’re tying all the management functions together into one.
I can tell you. I can answer this easily. The crypto world, the coin world is so full of snake oil and BS. Your challenge is going to be showing why this is trustworthy. That is in a nutshell. Whether it’s investors, customers, users, whatever you want to call it. All of it is going to take people going, “This is the real deal.” One way to do that, if you’re asking how to leverage podcast, it’s not a bottom line thing. It’s a middle of the funnel thing where you need to show credibility.
One great way to show credibility is go start a podcast, get credible people to come talk to you about why you’re building this and what you’re building. Get people from the Fed. Get people from all walks of finance life. Don’t get crypto people. They love to hype this stuff but get people that are going to validate this from a place where people will go, “That person’s talking to this guy. This is interesting. This guy has an interesting network. This could be trustworthy.” You get minutiae or something to interview like that.
Those kinds of people. Go get credibility. If you can get them talking about what you’re building and acknowledging that it’s a good idea. That will raise you money, get you customers. You use all that as assets to show like, “We have some of the biggest financial minds in the world talking about what we’re trying to build here.” I don’t know enough about your business. I’m assuming you’re building something great.
If that’s the case, go put it in front of the people that are going to be the biggest critics. Have them go, “No, this is great.” That’s what I did early with Hawke. I tried to get the biggest marketers out there to try working with us and going, “No, they do good work.” That was my goal both for myself to know that I was servicing something but also for credibility.
I can point to Red Bull, Verizon and HP as three of our first clients. The CMOs there thought we were great. Are we going to be able to help your business? Probably. It’s that same idea here. If you can go communicate and have a discourse about your company with those types of people, that can create a lot of trust. That would be how I would look at it.
In Web3 world, there’s a lot of fraud. Being associated with things like continuum market and other third-party validators who are looking at your process and everything can be critically important. That’s where they look at credibility, trust and adoption. They want to see that over time and because you have a podcast, you can do that in a more accelerated way. You’re building it over time, but when you come in and get an investor, you can say, “I have this episode, this episode and this episode you might want to listen to that’s going to answer your questions where I can’t do that in a quick way when I’m doing a fast pitch or something like that.” It gives you the ability to have that longevity.
The other thing is that I personally have a podcast that is a private podcast for my investors only. I do that on a weekly basis. I’m giving them updates. I’m giving them access to me. The investors know how to log in and get that podcast. It’s not publicly available to my competitors, but it’s giving them the data that they need and the information that they need. When I say it, instead of sending them an email that says, “Here’s the financials for this month or here’s what we just did,” they’re hearing it with my excitement, with building trust in the fact that I’m a great communicator. I’m going to tell it like it is. I’m going to share that with them each week. It’s also a great follow up model for you as well.
You may find you want to do a spinoff, but the most important thing, especially in your industry when there’s so much fraud going on, is creating that digital footprint for you and making sure that you’re blogging these things. You’re putting them out on social so that everywhere you go, if I Google you and your company, I’m going to find out that you are everywhere. That makes you much more trustworthy than the next person I might want to put my investment dollars in.
We’re going to take two more questions. Erik, you mentioned a long podcast for comedians. I’d like to get both of your feedback on this question. What is the ideal length of the podcast? How long is too long and how short is too short?
My opinion is as long as it takes to deliver a good product. It can be three hours because it’s great. He has the biggest audience in podcasting. It’s hard for me to say, “He’s an idiot.” I’m sure Rogan’s doing great, but I can’t listen to a three-hour podcast. Apparently, I’m not his audience. I don’t know if the assumption is some people listen to some or they listen to it over time or whatever. I don’t work with him, so I don’t know the actual assumption.
Personally, give me something twenty minutes and I love it. I try to keep mine 20 to 40 minutes, but if someone’s got a great story and is going on, I let it go. I always block out an hour, but I try not to go over an hour because, as an audience member, I wouldn’t want it. That’s too much of a commitment. That’s my own view. That’s for my audience, but I have a busy audience. Some people are doing this more for long-term or want a longer period of entertainment. It depends on the goals of the two.
That’s a good point. It’s audience related. Marketers, in general, if you were like sending a podcast for digital marketers, the company Buffer app, lots of people use that for social posting, has a podcast. They originally did it with the advice of an hour-long podcast and it was not growing like they thought it was. They switched it to ten minutes because they felt that their audience were marketers who needed one thing. Get it in, get it out. I say sometimes digital marketers have the attention span of a gnat. You got to play to your audience, but they switched to ten minutes and it took off. You need to play with that.
On average, we find on over our platform when we’ve launched over 1,000 shows, so we have data on what works and what doesn’t. We see anyone who goes over an hour tends to have lower statistics in terms of listen-through and actual download numbers across our entire platform of hundreds of thousands of episodes we produced through the years. When we look at that, we say, “An hour’s a tipping point. We want to stay under an hour.”One great way to show credibility is to start a podcast. Get credible people to join and ask why you're building your brand. - @ErikHuberman Click To Tweet
We recommend to our clients 20 to 30 minutes if it’s a solo show or you and a cohost or chatting about a topic. If it’s interview, about 40 to 55 minutes. Somewhere in there is the perfect amount of time to make sure that you get 30 good minutes of your interview and maybe ten minutes of you giving a post and a discussion and an introduction and an introduction. That’s the sweet spot that we found.
First of all, I want to thank both Tracy and Erik of being a part of this show. As I always end these things, if you didn’t like it, tell me. If you love it, tell everybody else. Tracy, Erik, thanks for your time. Thank you all for being involved. I wish you the very best of luck.
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About Scott Kelly
Scott Kelly, Founder and CEO of Black Dog Venture Partners is a 30-year fundraising, marketing, sales, training and publicity veteran. Scott has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in capital for disruptive companies, garnered national media coverage for hundreds of regional and national brands and generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues for the companies he has represented.
He has also trained over 1,000 sales people and has taught marketing at the university level in the United States and Europe. Scott is currently an Adjunct Professor in the College of Business at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. When not making his clients famous, Scott spends his time in countless sporting events with his wife and two boys. He loves a good craft beer and playing with his “Black Dog” Melvin.
About Erik Huberman
Erik is the founder and CEO of Hawke Media, the highly successful marketing agency known as Your Outsourced CMO® that’s helped grow over 3,000 brands worldwide, and is valued at more than $150 million. Erik is a lauded recipient of a number of honors and awards, including: Forbes 30 Under 30, CSQ’s 40 Under 40, Inc. Magazine’s Top 25 Marketing Influencers, The International Business Awards’ Entrepreneur of the Year, and a Telly Award. As a well-known writer and thought leader in the marketing and e-commerce spaces, Erik’s work appears across top-tier publications like Rolling Stone, Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Inc., and more as well as on Hawke Media’s Insights blog.
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