Start a Podcast as Content Marketing for Your Consulting Biz

I’ll tell you exactly why I’m so bullish on podcasting, and the 6 major ways I use it in my business.


Full Episode Transcription:

Is a podcast a gigantic waste of time and should you consider doing one? How is this going to help with your sales, your marketing, your lead gen? What the heck is the point anyway? Well, there may not be one, but I’m going to tell you what I think it is, and whether or not you should do one on today’s episode of the Liston.IO Show. Let’s get into it.

Welcome to the Liston.IO Show.

Hello and welcome to yet another episode of the Liston.IO Show. I, of course, am Liston Witherill. I am here to help you build a better consulting business. Now, as I always do, I’m going to say something at the top of this, and I mean it sincerely. Thank you for being here. I really appreciate that you’re giving some of your time, and allowing me the opportunity to help you along in your consulting journey to help build your own business. I don’t take that lightly, so thank you kindly. I really appreciate your time, and I’m going to make it worth your while.

As I said at the top of the show, it’s a little format tweak that I’m experimenting with here. I will be talking about how I use my podcast, and whether or not you should use one in order to grow your business, get more leads, connect with potential sales leads, and opportunities. I’ll talk all about that a little bit later. But, I did want to ask you for a favor; if you’re getting something out of this podcast, and if you know someone else who is a consultant, a coach, a service provider, a marketer, basically a solo person or the owner of a small company providing services to other people, tell them about this podcast. Share it with them. Send them to my website, Liston.IO/podcast. Let them know about it. Let them know what you like about it. I would really appreciate it, and you would help me get the word out, which would be amazing. So, once again, thank you for being here. Please do tell someone if you think that they would get something out of this.

I also wanted to make you aware of a brand new resource I have, and I’ve created to help you get more leads for your business. And, it’s called 34 ways to get more leads for your consulting business, and develop a waiting list of clients. All you have to do is go to Liston.IO/getmoreleads. It’s going to give you a list of things that you could be doing in order to win new business for yourself, and for your company. It’s a really short PDF and, I think it’s going to help you tremendously. Again, totally free. All you have to do is go to Liston.IO/getmoreleads.

Now, I talked last week about how I’m going to be doubling down on my podcast and have it be kind of the center of all of the marketing that I do. Now, there are various reasons for why I’m doing that, and I want to convey those to you today. You may also be wondering, should you start a podcast? How would you do that? What kinds of things do you need to think about? I’m obviously not going to have time to get into the particular how to of how I record, how I edit, any of that stuff. But, if you do have a question about that feel free to go to Liston.IO/podcast, ask away. You can leave a question there as a voicemail about anything that I didn’t cover in this particular episode.

But, what I want to do is give you an overview of the strategic value that I see in the podcast, why I’m so bullish on it, and how you can make a decision about whether or not you should be podcasting. I also wanted to give you a quick note that I interviewed Simon Thompson that runs a company called Content Kite, who does podcasting for you, and for digital agencies and service providers. If that’s something you’re interested in you can go back and listen to that episode with Simon.

But, what I want to do is cover here why I’m so big on podcasting, and why I think it’s going to be the central part of my marketing for my business. So, let’s start with the first big question, which is why a podcast? Well, I am very big on audio, and maybe it’s because I like audio content so much. I walk my dog every morning for about a mile and a half. That may change now that it’s becoming winter here in Portland, and it’s pouring rain today.

However, I walk my dog for about 30 minutes every morning, and while I’m walking my dog I’m listening to podcasts. I’m listening to audio books. I’m listening to the news on NPR. I’m doing lots of audio consumption, and A, number one, I believe is that audio can be consumed while doing other things. It can really easily be rolled into a routine that someone already as, whereas in the beginning of the year I was doing a lot of video. The problem that I find with video is it requires undivided attention from people. So, they’re having to look at a screen.

Now, of course, they may be doing things in the background, but what’s true of most people who watch video is they’re probably not both consuming the audio and the video simultaneously in many cases, particularly with business content. So, for instance, on LinkedIn something like 85% of people who watch video do it with the sound off. The reason for that is they’re probably at work. They probably don’t want their boss to know or, the people around them to know, or even in a coworking space, they don’t want to be disruptive about it. So, they’re watching the video with the sound off, which is why closed captioning is so important on LinkedIn.

I think the other problem that I see with video is the production requirements are so high. Now, I find it to be expensive. I find it to be very time consuming. And, honestly for me and my personality, I’m just not as attuned to visuals as I am to audio. I make music. Like I said, I’m always listening to podcasts, and books. Of course, I watch my fair share of TV and other media and content, however I find that compared to video, for me, audio is just much easier to produce. So, those two things are really big. Audio can be consumed while doing other things and fit into a routine. Two, production requirements are relatively low.

Now, video and audio aren’t the only two types of content that you can create and provide. If you prefer to write go for it. What I find for me is I can produce one of these podcasts, and also outsource some of the production, some of the promotion, some of the publishing. I can outsource that relatively easily, whereas writing is a little bit more difficult. Same with video. My team is remote. People are scattered everywhere. And, I like it that way. Audio is a big advantage there.

The other thing I want to mention is audio comes with a longer format expectation. So, sure I can record a long video, and maybe you’ll watch it, right? Maybe you’ll watch an hour long video from me. However, what I find is in most cases people prefer much shorter videos and, I’m more of a long form guy. I like making larger arguments. I like spending more time with you, and what audio allows me to do is spend a lot more time with the people in my audience, with the people who are interested in what I have to say. So, the format for me works a lot better.

The podcast is also a big opportunity for me to start building my own audience. So, as I think about how I want my business to evolve over time, I know that having my own audience is very critical. I think that podcasting is growing substantially. I don’t want to go in and quote stats, but just trust me on this. More and more people are listening to podcasts. It’s still relatively a little bit less competitive in that way, but also because I think I’m better at this, that this is probably where I shine the most. I really want to focus here, and build my audience here. So, I don’t want to miss that opportunity.

Now, you may have noticed that the Liston.IO Show is a mixed format podcast. So, some episodes are like this, where it’s just me talking to you. In other episodes I’m shooting the shit with people who I respect or, think would bring you a lot of value based on you delivering consulting services, or professional services. So, in those instances, I’m able to network with interesting people who otherwise maybe I wouldn’t have a good reason to talk to, who otherwise may be a little bit too busy, or whatever, right? We all have our own things going on, but this podcast, when I’m interviewing other people, gives me a great opportunity to go network with interesting and influential people in the industry, which obviously is really valuable because from your perspective, you hear me interviewing someone once on the air. But, what’s really happening behind the scenes is I’m reaching out to them. We have an email exchange. They actually come on. We talk a little bit before the podcast, and after the podcast recording.

I may follow up with them for whatever reasons we uncover while we’re talking. Then, I’m going to follow up with them three times after they’re on the podcast at a minimum. It actually creates a pretty good relationship with someone. Right off the bat there’s something in it for them. It’s really clear. They see the results of it. They get promotion. I pay for traffic and promotion to this podcast, so there’s a lot of great things that come out of it for them. So, really it’s a great networking tool. And, I’m a pretty avid networker, so if you don’t like to network maybe you just want to do solo episodes. Maybe you want to do some other kind of format, I don’t know, but for me, the networking opportunities are pretty amazing.

And, like I said, related to that networking opportunity is any time I do want to talk to someone I have an excuse to get in touch with them, and I have something to offer them, and that’s potentially being on this podcast if they’re a fit for it. I think that’s really, really valuable. So, highly recommend it for that reason.

Similarly, I can also reach out to sales prospects, and have them on the show. So, I help solo consultants, professional service providers, small consulting companies or service companies. And, I can reach out to someone and say, “Hey, I’d love to have you on. I have a segment on my show where I interview consultants who share a little bit about their business. What’s working, what’s not, and what they’ve learned over the course of their journey.” Right?

So, during that conversation I’m going to find out a lot about them, and a lot about their business without having to talk about me whatsoever. And, chances are they’re going to ask me, “So what do you do? What is this all about? Why are you doing this?” And we can have that conversation. Now, I’m creating relationships with sales prospects as well.

So, this is a possibility for you, especially if you’re in high ticket sales. So, in the multiple thousands, particularly 10,000 or more dollars. I really recommend using your podcast for the purpose of interviewing your sales prospects and getting to know them. If for no other reason than just to gather market research. It’s really, really valuable way to do that. You can start to package together all of the things that you’re figuring out about say, their challenges, about say, what their advice is to other companies. You can ask them for referrals. There’s all kinds of things that you can do in order to extend the life of your relationship.

Just as I said before, you always have an excuse to get in touch with new people. So, they have a reason to come on, and you would then need a process to follow up with them, in kind of non scummy or salesy way. However, if you can actually help them I think there’s nothing wrong with that, right? I mean, they would get something out of continuing the conversation. I believe the biggest, biggest, biggest barrier to overcome in all of selling is just developing that trust in the first place.

I talk to a lot of consultants who say that, “I don’t have a sales problem. I just have a lead problem. As soon as I get on the phone with people who are referred to me, I just knock it out of the park.” I’m sure you’ve thought that before. I’m sure you’ve heard other people say that, and one of the reasons are not having more leads is because you’re not overcoming that trust. And, my next episode on this podcast, next Monday, will be all about whether or not you have a sales or leads problem. I’ll foreshadow a little bit. You probably have both, but I’ll get to that next week. But, one thing that the podcast will help you address is having more conversations with sales prospects if you intend to do an interview format.

Next up, I find the podcast to be a really, really great way to build a long term asset that I can repackage. So, this is episode 21. I’ve recorded about half of my episodes or, solo episodes. I also have all of these different interviews. By the end of the year, let’s say I’m going to have something like 40 or 50 episodes, around that number. And, every month, given my upcoming cadence that you’re going to see, I’ll be producing something like 12 to 15 episodes, depending on how many weeks there are in a month. So, I can repackage that in different ways. Right?

I can offer a package of lead generation podcast as a download. I can offer my best sales advice as a download. I can even sell that. I can sell a locker of my podcast episodes. I can go to other sites, importantly, and now I’m moving on to the next point; I can leverage this content in other formats.

So, one thing that podcast do is they provide search traffic potentially, right? So, if you’re doing key word research and you’re treating your podcast just as you would any other content marketing channel, if you’re looking for search traffic. iTunes provides search traffic. There’s a variety of other sites where you can list your podcast, and you can get people looking for the types of content and, problems that you talk about.

So, this is a way to get search traffic to audio. Now, in addition to that I also have someone writing articles for me based on the content of these podcast episodes. Those articles get published on my website. They link within my page. Those articles can be promoted to other people who want that content for their audiences, and to refer to it. I can create social media posts, and have a reason to talk to people on social media as a result of these podcast. So, really, I’m using my podcast, again, as the center of my content marketing universe, and really pouring all my time and energy into making this podcast a really, really wonderful asset.

Now, so that is how I’m using my podcast. If you have any questions about that, again, all you have to do is go to Liston.IO/podcast. You can ask me a question there. I know I didn’t cover everything top to bottom, but let me just recap the main reasons I’m doing this.

So, number one, why audio? Why podcasting? I really believe that audio can be consumed while doing other things. It’s the least tied to a screen. The production requirements are relatively low. Obviously, I recommend that you get a good mic and have some know how with your audio production skills, but overall, it’s relatively easy, relatively inexpensive. It allows you to build an audience. It allows you to network with interesting people who could be influencers, points of referral, or even your sales prospects. Also, this allows you to build a long term content marketing asset that can be repackaged in a variety of ways.

Now, you may be wondering whether or not you should be podcasting. The answer to that, as with all business questions and you’re going to hear me say this a lot on the podcast, is it depends. So, if you are comfortable getting behind the mic, if you are comfortable interviewing people, if you are comfortable maybe not hearing your recorded voice because no one is comfortable with that right off the bat. But, if you’re at least comfortable with it conceptually, podcasting could be a fit for you. I like to talk one … in case you didn’t notice, I do like to talk.

One thing that I find, and my wife will confirm this for you if you ever meet her and ask her, is I use spoken word as a way to sort through the things that are in my head. So, it’s something that I’m doing always anyways, and so this is a great medium for me naturally. No, you don’t have to be an extrovert to run a podcast. No, you don’t have to be the most articulate person in the world, but if people have told you before that they like the sound of your voice, that you have interesting things to share, that you’re good at presenting things verbally, if you’re a good speaker, if you can effectively convey what’s on your mind, and be persuasive to people and they listen to you. Those would all be really great signs that a podcast could be for you.

Now, I’m not saying that these are prerequisites. What I am saying though is if anything I just said rings true for you, you should definitely think about using a podcast for your business. Now, the more complicated you make it, the more need there are for systems in the background. So, what you’re hearing today was outlined before I recorded this. And, I’m looking at an outline in Asana right now, which is my project management tool. So, it’s not by the seat of your pants. You are going to have to be organized.

So, if that also sounds like you that may be helpful. Some people can just sit down and rift. I prefer not to do that. However, this isn’t word for word scripted, as you may have been able to tell given my occasional stumbling. I also think that if you want to become known publicly for your expertise, you’re in a competitive niche, you think that there’s a reason to have a personality brand, or personal branding is important to you, either personally or to your business. I think a podcast is a great way to do that quickly, right?

If I have someone subscribe to my podcast, and they listen to 10 episodes, they’ve spent five hours with me. And, five hours with people who I brought to them in the interview episodes. That’s a long time to be around someone, to be with someone, and if you do a podcast I think what you’ll find is occasionally you’ll talk to people who say, “Wow, it feels like I know you already. This is weird that we’re talking right now.” That is a great quality lead whenever that happens. So, I recommend it for those reasons.

Again, if you have any questions go to Liston.IO/podcast. You can leave me a question there. And, speaking of which, I want to answer a question right now. It came from Tristan Bailey and here is Tristan’s question.

You’ve spoken before on making friends with people before asking them for a sale. How do you recommend making contact, and conversation with people that you’ve never met at new companies that could lead to turn into sales, without sounding like a sales call?

So, that is a great question. Thank you so much Tristan. I’m not necessarily advocating that you become great friends with everyone. I want to inject a little bit of nuance here. I do recommend that there is a good relationship, that there’s trust built, that there’s credibility, and there’s a shared belief in each other, right? I think that that’s kind of a minimum baseline requirement, to have some sort of relationship.

Whether or not you’re friends in that you’re going to go to the ballgame together, do whatever else that you like to do with your friends; that’s not necessarily a requirement. So, we need to do enough to develop some degree of liking with our clients. In order to do that, a couple things I’d say.

One is, you have the opportunity to go out and do outbound selling, where you’re hitting people up, obviously in an interesting or creative way. But, you’re basically telling them right away, “Hey, I have something to offer. Here’s why I think it would be perfect for you. Here’s how I can help.” Obviously, you’re not going to start with your offer. You’re going to start with what’s in it for them, which brings me to the biggest point.

So, Tristan what I would tell you is the question you need to ask yourself is what value can you bring them? Asked another way, what’s in it for them? Why should they talk to you? If you don’t have an answer to that you really aren’t able to start quite yet. So, in this episode I talked all about the use of a podcast, and why I’m so bullish on it. If you started an interview podcast where you interview your clients, or people who could be your clients, that would be a way for you to reach out without selling to them directly, and sort of having it turn weird right off the bat, right?

You don’t have to do that, but I would always ask you to think about from their perspective, who are they choosing to spend time with and why? And, you’re going to have to give that to them.

I’ll give you an example. I recently was emailed by a guy named, Jerrod Gold. He’ll be on the podcast shortly. His episode will be published shortly. When he reached out he asked to be a guest on the podcast. In asking to be a guest, he also mentioned how he is in contact with people in a couple other places who I should know because they would be perfect for my audience, or I should say, they have an audience that I would want to reach. He offered to introduce me to those people.

So, he did a couple things there, right? He told me who he was, what he wanted from me. He wanted to be on the podcast. He also told me why he was a good guest, and he offered me something above and beyond him being a guest on the podcast. All of those things I found valuable.

Now, in your case, Tristan, I’ll give you a different example. A lot of companies have “research departments” or they do these industry studies where they’ll put out a research document or a survey where they interviewed, let’s say, 500 companies in their industry. And, what it looks like is this great marketing asset, which it is, right? A lot of people will opt into their email address in order to read all about the state of industry X, Y, or Z.

What we often don’t think about is if they’re conducting those interviews over the phone, they’ve hired someone to sit down and ask people probative questions about their business, and document them in a survey. Through that research process people in their “research department”, AKA the sales department, have also figured out what’s going on with these companies and who are the best leads, right?

So, on the one hand, from the perspective of the person being interviewed for the survey, they think, “Oh, you know, I’m paying it forward. I’m giving back to my industry.” Maybe you also promised them early access to the report, or maybe some of the raw data, who knows? Whatever it is that you promise them in order to get them on the phone. And, you get a chance to demonstrate your expertise and all the cool things your company is doing without any sales pressure whatsoever. Meanwhile, you’re also getting really, really rich data. So, you’re offering them something. You’re getting something in return. Now, you’re set up to have a conversation.

So, what I would ask you Tristan, is what value can you bring your potential clients or the people you want to talk to? And, it really shouldn’t just be, “Hey, I like to get to know people in my industry. Maybe we should talk.” I’ll tell you my reaction to that message because I get it all the time. My reaction is, “I already have plenty of friends, and actually I really like a lot of people in my life so much so that I can’t even spend time with everybody who I want to spend time with. So, the last thing I need is more friends. So, tell me what it is that you want, and what it is that’s in it for me before I make a commitment to talk to you.”

So, Tristan, I just wanted to say thank you. I hope this was helpful, and if you, dear listener, want to ask a question, all you have to do is go to Liston.IO/podcast. We have come to the end of the show. Thanks for hanging out with me. And, if you know anybody else that would benefit from hearing this, please do recommend it to them. Tell them. Thank you so much for being here. I’ll see you in the next episode, or I guess I’ll be in your ear in the next episode. I hope you have a fantastic day. Bye.