Podcasting is one of the fastest growing media opportunities, with over 57 million repeat listeners in the Unites States per month. On today’s show, Tom Hazzard, co-founder of Podcast Start Point and co-host of WTFFF?! a 3D printing podcast, discusses how to tap into podcasting as a way to build your personal brand and establish yourself as an industry expert.
Listen to the Podcast here:
How to Build your Entrepreneur and CEO Brand with Podcasting
The following is an edited transcript of this podcast. Since how we talk and how write is often very different, this transcript may contain uses of the English language (including grammar) that are not 100% correct. We are counting on your understanding in advance.
Karen Leland Branding Expert: Tom, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you so much for having me. I am happy to be here.
I am really thrilled you’re here. I met Tom and his wife Tracy, when we were at a conference a year ago. I was talking to one of my clients and and saying I am really interested in podcasting. My client said, “You have got to meet Tom and Tracy Hazzard. They’ve got this podcasting thing down.”
Thank you so much. We enjoyed meeting you at the conference. Podcasting is a wonderful thing. We did it for ourselves and now we’re hoping that others can do it.
For the people who are listening that aren’t familiar with it, What is the actual definition of podcasting?
Well, it is a modern on demand radio. You, as a listener, no longer have to go to a particular station, listen at a particular time. If you’re not there then you will miss it. Radios are not like DVRs, you can’t just rewind and play. In podcasting, you can. The great thing about podcasting, there are many subjects that you can listen to. Whatever your area of interest is, there’s probably a podcast for that. If not entirely, there’s been an episode about it done by somebody. You can just search and find it. Download the ones that you want to your smartphone or just listen to it over your computer’s speaker when you want to and where you want to.
It is also nice because it’s a great equalizer. When I go on long car trips, I will download Terry Gross on Fresh Air. But at the same time I will download an entrepreneur I want to listen to. Once you’re on iTunes then people can download you and find you by that topic, correct? You don’t have to be a Terry Gross, who is famous and well-known.
That’s absolutely true. You don’t have to be famous. It’s the democratized radio, and broadcasting to a large extent. There are a hundred and fifteen thousand English-speaking podcasts out there. There’s many to choose from, and most of those are not very well-known people.
We’ve designed and developed retail products for our whole careers. Then we got more involved in 3D printing. I really enjoyed that aspect of the product design and development process. We thought “there’s a real opening here and nobody’s doing a good podcast on how to use 3D printing in business.” It was an opportunity for us to establish ourselves as experts in that particular niche area of the field. We researched how to start a podcast and eventually started our own.
How did you make that leap from starting your own podcast and wanting to teach, and work with other people, on how to podcast?
We read over a dozen books and listened to fifty different podcasts and watched many YouTube videos. The reality is, they were all giving you the basic steps on how you do it but no one’s telling all the details. Once we realized what those missing pieces were, we put our plan together. We realized that there are so many people, entrepreneurs, start up founders, and small businesses out there that could use this information to build their business and personal brands. But they needed to know how to do it. We put together systems, and put procedures in place to actually produce our own podcast. Most people don’t want to spend all their time doing all the tech themselves, editing, dealing with voice over artists, etc. So we set-up systems to do that. We started another spin-off business for that.
That’s great. It is part of what we talked about. I know how to brand but basically I am not good at the technical stuff. I think a lot of people don’t podcast because of the technical piece. How easy is it to turn over the technical part to someone, so you can just focus on what you do well?
If you don’t have a system in place to do that, there are services that will produce it for you. All you have to do is record and upload your content. You just have to decide what your content might be. Either you want to interview somebody or you will just record your own stories from your experiences, or talk about whatever your subject matter is. Once you do the prep work, it is fairly easy with a little technical knowledge. If you use a laptop or desktop, it won’t be too difficult.
The investment in the basic equipment is a couple of hundred dollars, is that correct?
Yes, almost. There’s very good equipment now for about a hundred and fifty dollars or two hundred at most. Along with using your computer, you can produce a fine quality podcast. If you really want to produce high quality because you have a bigger audience, it may be an eight hundred dollar piece of equipment to produce a DJ quality or radio quality podcast.
It is amazing when you think about the world in terms of people making their own media. That’s an extremely low amount of money to produce that high a quality of podcast.
You’re right. People used to go to book a recording time in a studio with very high rates per hour to get that kind of quality. You don’t have to do that anymore.
Podcasting, just like how blogging, speaking, writing articles, or video blogging, isn’t for everyone. Who’s an ideal audience for podcasting?
You need to have something to say. You need to have some experiences, history, and area of interest. You also need to be very comfortable in speaking. You can’t be shy about it. As long as you have an area of interest and you have something to say. As a person in business, you have to decide how that will benefit you. It takes some time even if you just record and upload. There’s preparation that is involved. If you have the time and interest, there’s so many benefits for you, as you establish and grow a podcast.
What are some of those benefits from your experience?
For entrepreneurs and people who are in business for themselves, let’s talk about people that don’t have a known name already or have a high-profile position. For them, they get to establish themselves as an expert, because if they interview others, people will listen to your podcast in order to listen to those guests. You then become well-known and famous for delivering that good content and get credibility, as an expert in that field.
It can also give you access to dream clients. Say, for example, I am in physical fitness and I do a podcast about that. I have that ideal dream client that I want to get who is high a profile leader in the field. I go and make them a guest on my podcast. I get to know them. I build a trust relationship with the guest that I interview.
This is also true for marketing and branding today. It’s about relationships and trust. In my point of view, if I invite someone to be a guest on my podcast, I have two things that I am interested in. First, I want to make sure that I provide high quality content for my listeners. Second, I want to make sure that I’m doing a good job of promoting my guest’s business and personal brand.
If it happens to turn out that I have something I can do that can help them in their business, I want them to know about that but for me personally, I don’t want to interview people to get business from them. I think that you’re saying that this can be a side benefit of podcasting. You should be interviewing people in my opinion who have something to contribute and that you actually want to support. F
No question about that. It is a side benefit but there are a couple of very well-known stories that have been published on other podcasts that you can get access to. People you couldn’t get before because of your credibility there.
I always teach my clients that they need leverage for credibility, whether it’s on a website, a podcast or on a blog. Anytime that you are associated with someone who’s top of your field, you end up with leveraged credibility. The world today runs on credibility. Trust and credibility.
I do a lot of CEO branding and executive branding. These are busy people. They are running companies and a lot of them will say to me, “I don’t have the time to podcast and what would I talk about?” My experience is that a lot of them really do have thought leadership to contribute. Whether it is on entrepreneurship or running a particular type of business or certain topic. What do you think the benefit for a CEO brand or a C-suite executive brand is in doing a podcast?
Those executives and CEO’s have the advantage of already being very high-profile. They are well-known, and to build a podcast audience when you’re already in that high-profile is relatively easy. It does not take very long to do it. But what they can gain is to establish themselves as a thought leader to a wider audience. It could also be used as proving ground for launching a book they are considering writing. There are a lot of advantages for executives like that. They may want to be a keynote speakers at events around the country or around the world. Having that podcast helps establish some credibility on subjects they might speak on or write about. When they do launch a book, there is a bigger audience for it.
If your personal brand as a CEO or as an executive gets expanded via a podcast, it can help promote your business. I have clients that are fabulous at talking – but horrible at writing. For those people, I always tell them that podcasting is a great way to go because you can get a podcast and turn the transcriptions into blog posts. Can you talk about how that works?
This is one of the best benefits of podcasting that we discovered last year. Every episode that we do is transcribed, but not just transcribed word for word. The old way in podcasting was that you would transcribe a podcast and produce a PDF and make that downloadable from your website. Today we transcribe the podcast into a readable format, but it still has the essence of the spoken words in the podcast. Once your established, Google checks on your website every day, and new blog posts get indexed. Those with keywords can get on the first page of Google.
That’s an important point. Does what you name your podcast make a difference?
It makes a difference when listeners are searching on iTunes. Let’s say people find your podcast because you have interviewed someone that has a big social media following. Your guest will post on their social media when they are on your podcast and some of their followers will become yours.
That’s a really important point. How do your grow a podcast? If I start doing a podcast, how will anybody find it?
In this modern world, social media is your friend. If you have a big social media following, it would be easier. If you don’t, that’s okay. We would recommend a new podcast do interviews with people who have a big audience or social media following. We find LinkedIn to be extremely valuable, to push out podcasts to a larger audience. Certainly put it out on Facebook. Twitter, You can post it on Instagram. There are many ways.
How often should you podcast and when?
It depends on the podcast. We do five podcasts from Monday to Friday on WTFFF!? On Mondays, we do business subjects for people with 3D printers about building a business involved in 3D printing. We do one interview per week. Here’s a little secret about podcasting that no one told you that we want everyone to know to succeed in podcasting. It is cooperative, not competitive.
If you have the time to record the content in advance, you will build up a lot of episodes – faster. When people are searching for podcasts on iTunes, one thing they are looking for is credibility, including how many episodes you have. One aspect about that is when you have many episodes, you can actually have more plays. One thing in podcasting that gives credibility, is how many plays and downloads you have. Your stats will go up faster the more podcasts you have.
Being in a car and listening to a podcast will actually change how I feel because I am getting educated, interested and engaged. Are podcasts like blogs, where you can record a whole bunch of them at once and put them on hold until you’re ready to roll them out?
We will have an editorial meeting and lay out our calendar of what we’re going to talk about a month in advance. Then every Monday we record as many podcasts as we can. We usually record one or two weeks worth of content in one session. We publish one interview in a week.
How long should a podcast be?
That’s probably the most frequently asked question I get from new podcasters. There are several schools of thought on it. There is no absolute right or wrong answer. Initially, we had the length of our podcast around the average length of the American commute which was 25 or 30 minutes long. Every episode was under 30 minutes. Within three months, we had our audience communicating with us and telling us they wish our podcast was longer. We listened to that and we lengthened our podcast, especially the interviews making them 45 to 50 minutes long. I am not saying that is right for everybody. I think you should look at your subject matter, how long does it take to communicate about it? Sensing your audience, are they bored or wanting more?
Ok, but let’s say I’m not doing an interview style podcast, but rather, I am talking solo for 15 minutes about a particular subject, does it bore people?
I don’t think it is boring for the listeners if the content is interesting for them. Also, if the podcaster is a good speaker. If you understand the subject, you know your stuff and you can talk about it well, it will be interesting. It was easier for us, as co-hosts, because we can have a dialogue back and forth. We like these kind of interviews that are just discussions. It should be real. It shouldn’t be rehearsed. When you’re speaking alone in a monologue, you need to have a plan. You need to talk about things that are going to be easy for you. Sometimes in our Tuesday episode, 3D printing subjects, it would be very technical and it bores my co-host. So I will do that episode myself. Personally, I like conversations and interactions.
I think enthusiasm goes a long way as well. You should sound enthusiastic and interested in your own topic. I think that comes across. When I interview people and they have a natural enthusiasm, even if they are not saying every word perfectly, that feeling and energy comes across. Is that an important piece of podcasting?
It really is. Our podcast didn’t start quite that way. As time went on, we listened to ourselves and got feedback from others. I highly recommend that as you start to do it, you listen to your recordings and let others give you feedback. You should be willing to accept constructive criticism. We as a society, have interest in the reality of people. Being genuine and real is the most important thing.
When you go into a studio and record, you might use a script. I am thinking that having a script is not the best way to go on a podcast?
I agree. I don’t do scripts. I do have a plan for what I will be talking about. I have a few questions jotted down especially when it is an interview, but I will let the conversation go where it goes. Sometimes I will ask someone about their business’ experiences. Based on what they talk about, I’ll pick up on something. and go that way.
Exactly. I find joy in interviewing people because they will say something that sparks a question that ends up in wonderful information I didn’t plan on discussing.
Right. I think you can’t plan everything when it comes to podcasting. Just like in radio interviews. It is really fun and exciting, that’s why I enjoy doing it.
How has podcasting grown? Can you give me some statistics on where we are with it?
In the English language, there are about a 15o,000 podcasts. That’s not episodes, that’s actual shows that are available. That’s growing all the time. There are several studies that were published expecting that in 2016, podcasting will experience ten times growth. There was a point where podcasting was still new in early 2005, it seemed to be leveling off. But there seems to be a level up in the last two to three years. Part of that is generational, with the younger generation being a huge adapter of online content in podcasts.
How will they sort the good from the bad?
There are many ways that people can evaluate podcasts. They actually have a popularity indicator. A measurement of popularity of how many people downloaded a particular episode. You can also think of the length of the podcast. It surprises me sometimes that popular podcasts are very long. It works for people in that area of interest. The way that you get a word through social media and with your transcribed content that will help people find you in when searching in iTunes or in Google.
What makes a good podcast? What are the two or three things that make a podcast excellentt?
I think it is about knowing your audience and what you’re going to talk about. The content should be educating or controversial. That’s the thing that makes for good podcasting. We don’t always agree with the opinions of the people we interview on our podcast. We have our opinions and we express them, but we always have a respectful dialogue. We can agree and disagree. That controversial subject might be entertaining and informative. You’re either helping them learn something or you’re getting them to think.
If you can make them laugh and inform them at the same time, you really have a winning combination.
What information do you want to give your podcast audience about your business?
I don’t give my home address and my cell phone number. We have a designated email address for our podcast. We’re connected to our audiences in a disciplined manner. We do provide an email address. We provide our social media address and web addresses for our website where they can find our blog posts. We encourage them to go to our blog post because there are things that we talk about that need visuals. We also provide links located in our show notes.
Can you please explain what an editorial calendar is and how it works for podcasts?
Depending on how many episodes you have on a week, an editorial calendar is just a way to try to lay out what subjects you’ll talk about for a period of time. Last week was Earth Day, we did the entire weeks’ worth of episodes. We called it Earth Week. We have an educational podcast about 3D printing. We do establish some themes.
We also have a different theme daily. We started doing this a few months ago. Every week we have a new format where, Mondays are business related topics. Tuesdays are tech topics. Wednesdays are wildcard. Thursdays are our interview episodes. Fridays are design inspiration day. We have a format. We established these weekly themes. It takes a little planning and a little work, so we have an assistant now that is helping us to do it.
How similar is this to a contact marketing strategy based on a written or video blog?
It is very similar. It’s just the medium that is different.
I find an editorial calendar very useful. For example at the holidays, I like to talk about gratitude. When it is 4th of July, it is about freedom. In the summer, it is about vacationing and traveling. And then you can look at what’s happening in the world at that time. In addition to the evergreen content do you want your podcast to be relevant and timely?
Yes. But we try to be careful so that the podcast is still relevant 9 month later. Most podcasts, especially those podcasts that have the biggest following and get more downloads, have good content that’s related to something useful over the long term.
That’s a really important point. In terms of executive and CEO branding, you want to talk about topics that are evergreen, so if someone downloads a podcast that you recorded a year ago, it would still have relevant information.
That doesn’t mean that the podcast has to fall out of relevance because you can do an update episode and reference to an earlier podcast. We can actually recap. The blog post can be updated too. There are ways where you can even get content that otherwise would become less relevant and update it and keep it relevant.
How easy is it to edit a podcast when you first do it, then in the future if you want to change something?
Well, we save everything that we record, and we encourage other podcasters to do that. You can have your computer and have your editing staff back it up. It can be done. It is not that hard but one key factor that podcasters need to know is that when you go back and edit something in the podcast, you need to make sure that you really resave that podcast and with the exact same file name. It is slightly technical. Every podcast has a statistic to associate with as it lives over time, how many downloads it has, was it all downloaded by people on iTunes, mobile phone, or computers? Those are the stats that you’re going to see about your podcast. You don’t want to lose these stats. If you change the file name all the stats will go away. You will need to replace the existing file with the new one, using the exact same name.
That’s a good technical tip. What do you think is the future of podcasting?
I just see it continuing to grow. I think it will continue to be relevant. If you look how television has changed, we use to have the core three channels. Now we have a thousand stations on Direct TV or however you get your cable through. Podcasting is growing as a medium. The audiences can split to so many fine subjects. There are so many demands for this content. I don’t want to predict the future entirely, but I think that if you need to establish, or you desire to establish a personal brand, ceo brand, etc. credibility for yourself or for your business, it will be very hard to do that without adapting a comprehensive social media and content strategy plan. Every website has to be involved in podcasting. There are great benefits for that.
If your podcast gets big enough, is sponsorship possible?
Absolutely. In fact, we are rolling out our first sponsor. It is a year later after starting podcasting, our audience has grown enough that people are actually paying us. I think it will be more profitable as a podcast.
Are there podcasts out there that are profitable and actually make money in podcast?
Absolutely. In fact, there are podcasts that openly publish what they make like Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn. He publishes how much he makes from his podcast every month; the advertising, the affiliate marketing. There are many ways he makes money. People are seeing value in reaching our audience to promote their brand, it is really what they are doing, not advertising a particular sale on an item or anything. They are doing brand awareness building for their company.
I would assume that if you do podcasting well, it fills your funnel of potential clients who go to your website to find out about your services and your products and then buy.
No question. It is our goal to establish ourselves as thought leaders and experts in our field of 3D printing. We know we would market something to that audience at some time, but we didn’t know what it was or when it would be. Sponsorship and advertising has been one of the things that have happened along the way.
It is interesting because I’ve always believed that whether you’re giving a speech, or writing a blog post, if you focus on providing content and value, business will naturally come out of that. Podcasting seems to be the same. the same thing. If you really put your focus on providing useful information, connecting with people and contributing, naturally those opportunities will happen.
I agree. That’s the best way to look at it. When you think about how many people can be reached with your podcast just in terms of networking. You reach people whom you will never reach otherwise. The opportunities increase significantly when you provide value.
I think that’s really the ultimate point. You are able to reach a ton of people that you haven’t reached before.
The great thing is how you let people know. You have to market and advertise. Right now you can do that for a small amount, or no money, just by usingsocial media promotion. The organic nature of interviewing people who will then introduce your podcast to their audience. It is very inexpensive.
For those people who want to go to your website and learn more, where should they go?
It is podcaststartpoint.com or they can also go to our Facebook group and join.
I just want to say that if people are looking for product design and development they can also go to www.hazzdesign.com.
You can find us anywhere in social media @hazzdesign and also for those who are interested in 3D printing subjects, our podcast is WTFFF?! 3D Printing podcast at 3Dstartpoint.com
About Tom Hazzard – Co-Founder of Podcast Start Point
Tom Hazzard is the co-founder of Podcast Startpoint and the host of WTFFF?!3D Printing Podcast, the 3D start point for the next industrial revolution. Tom is also Co-Founder and COO of design firm Hazz Design, has over 20 years of experience in product design and development, and is a faculty mentor for CEO Space International. Tom holds 37 utility and design patents with an 86% commercialization rate and co-designed of 253+ consumer products bought everyday generating over $950 million for his clients. His upcoming book, IP Battle Scars, Lessons and Evasive Tactics, chronicles his experience and intentional invention process.
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This article is copyrighted by Karen Leland and cannot be reprinted in any form, electronic or otherwise, without the express written permission of Karen Leland.
Karen Leland is President of Sterling Marketing Group, a branding and marketing strategy and implementation firm. She works with individuals, businesses and teams to enhance their business and personal brands. Her clients include LinkedIn, American Express, Apple, Marriott Hotels and others. Her ninth book, The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build and Accelerate Your Brand, (Entrepreneur Press, 2016) is available online at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and in bookstores now.