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Executive Podcasting Power – How Podcasts Uniquely Amplify Your Brand and Message with Tom Hazzard
My guest is Tom Hazzard, who has produced more than 500 episodes of podcasts. He is the co-host of Forbes-featured fast growth, WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast and Feed Your Brand Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher and lots of other places where people listen to podcasts. He is an industrial designer. The reason why I invited him to the show is that of the impact of podcasts in the social media world. Welcome, Tom.
Thanks for having me. It’s a pleasure to be here.
A delight to have you on the show. Executives, the reason why I invited Tom on the show is to talk with you, to share with you insights around why you need a podcast right now.
The reality of podcasting is it is the modern media. It is the modern way to build a community, build an audience, to get your message out to the world. I’m always shocked by finding people who don’t listen to podcasts because it’s growing so tremendously fast. Especially in the younger generations but even in the older generations, podcast listenership is increasing month-over-month and year-over-year.
It’s out stripping traditional broadcast. Part of the reason why is that we get to create our own channel. We will listen to and consume information that serves us.
Traditional terrestrial radio, you put out a show and you’re broadcasting it out there to whatever geographic area it will reach and it’s going out to everybody. Those people didn’t opt in to listen to you other than they turned their dial to or they programmed in the digital frequency. In podcasting, people are looking for things to listen to, content to engage them and they’re choosing to listen to you. It’s such a focused audience.
The other aspect is with the new generational trend of binge-watching TV shows where the entire season is released at one time, so people sit down and watch it for all day. People do the same thing with podcasts. I have listeners that tell me, “Mark, I binge listened to your podcasts and the reason why is because it has great information. I like the way you talk to your guest. I love the information from the guest.” It’s a different way of consuming information than the past.
I’ve experienced that on my podcast. On one of my podcasts, I’ve got 500 and some odd episodes, you stopped counting after awhile. People who find it new now, will email in and say, “Tom and Tracy, I’m at episode number 156. Working my way through them. This is great content.” They will be talking to me about things as if I remember what episode 156 had in it. It’s evergreen to them, it’s new to them. These people that binge, there’s actually a more modern term, I don’t know if you’ve heard it but they called it podfasters. That’s the modern term. Binge listening is still an absolutely perfect way to describe it. We use that term all the time, but there’s been a phrase coined for these people, podfasters. They listen to so many episodes in a week and they’re usually listening on two or three times speed.
I listen to most of my podcast at least 2x.
It’s because you want to get through more content. People who haven’t listened, they don’t realize that it doesn’t sound like the chipmunks. It’s marginally faster. It didn’t change the pitch of your voice. Unless you speak at the ridiculous number of words per minute you don’t miss anything.
It’s all there. Your brain can take it in. I find that my audience, which are business executives, people who run companies and organizations consume information by listening when they drive, when they’re flying on airplanes, when they’re working out, when they’re doing mindless tasks, when they’re wandering through the grocery store or Home Depot. They’ve got their earbuds in and they’re listening to the show. We provide show notes as part of the show, they don’t have to take notes. They can go back afterwards and clip off of the show site, exactly what they want to forward to their team. This is such a great way of getting information into the brains of people who are busy.
In fact, not only do they not have to, but there are many ways in which people are doing activities while they’re consuming podcasts where they can’t possibly write down anything that you mentioned. Those blog posts become so valuable and so important. My business partner and she’s also my wife, Tracy, who is also a co-host on these different podcasts with me that she’s very often exercising. She is walking on the treadmill that she doesn’t have to deal with the outside elements. Some people love to walk in nature and that’s great. When you’re so busy on the go, treadmill is sometimes necessary. Otherwise, that would be lost time. Not that exercising is necessarily a bad thing. It’s good. You’re losing time. She’s making good use of that time learning things. She was telling me about one of the podcasters we produced who runs a podcast about webinars and she was like, “I learned so much about a webinar and we’re going to implement this in ours,” just continuing to feed her mind.
One of the reasons why podcasts are so critical for executives is it is part of the executive brand strategy. Share with me the experiences you’ve had with helping executives create a public persona that’s easy to do, easy to maintain and has a massive impact.
We have seen it be tremendously effective and it is so important. If you think about most executives, while we are getting more and more maybe millennial and even younger generation executives who’ve started their own viral companies that are doing amazing things, most executives in the United States now, at least are in the older generations.
For at least another decade.
I would think so. There may be more used to terrestrial radio and they may not even be podcast listeners, although I do see many who are. In general, most of them are not. They don’t understand the medium, they maybe don’t consume it. They don’t realize how tremendously valuable it is for establishing your personal brand, for establishing credibility. Especially if executives are not on the speaking circuit but want to be. Establishing credibility and your own authority in your field does tremendous things for that. It is organic marketing for your personal brand, building a podcast audience.
People listening to this show are already listening to podcasts, it’s probably not a surprise to them. It bears mentioning that podcast listeners get to know you as the host personally. Before you’ve ever met them, if you ever do meet any of your listeners, your listeners already believe they know you as long as like you and me here we’re being authentically us. This is not a stage performance, we’re not acting. I’m telling you my real personal thoughts and you’re asking me the questions that are genuinely the ones you want to know the answers to. We’re being real and those listeners get to know you and like you, and trust you even though you’ve never met in person.
One of the most powerful aspects of the podcast is that people get a repetitive taste of your personality. They learn that you’re not a jerk because you’re bouncing off of this variety of personalities, that you’re a thought leader. You’re bringing on other thought leaders and you’re extracting from them new twists to their ideas and bringing your own to bear. There’s this continuous flow of goodness that is presented to your listener and it creates this wonderful halo effect. Tom, I started podcasting a little over a year ago. We’re coming up on our two-year anniversary for this show and it is the best thing I have done for my business. There is nothing better that I have done. Not blogs, not webinars, not creating videos, all of those pales in the impact of this show.
We have found that because people are opting in to listen to you, they’re choosing you. People are going to choose podcast and try them out for a couple of episodes. If they don’t like it, they will move onto another one. When you then have a listener who comes back again and again, they are waiting for your next episode wanting to consume your content and that is a tremendously powerful thing. It is why podcast listeners respond to calls to action that you mention in a podcast at such a much higher rate than any other medium. We have experienced this and have some data to support it. I’m not just talking about sponsors or advertisers. Certainly, you can do that with the podcast if you want to. I’m talking about things you might recommend or an offer you might make them, something that’s free. They will respond to those offers and calls to actions we find at rates of north of 30% and we’ve seen it 37% to 40%.
It’s impressive how responsive that podcaster audience is. For so many different reasons, we can dive into the psychology, but we won’t. What I want to talk about next is now that we’ve covered the why you want a podcast as an executive. Let’s talk about what your show might be like, and then we’ll get into how you produce your show.
Here’s the great thing about a podcast. It’s yours and you can make it what you want. I am going to take it for granted that an executive, any C-Suite executive has enough experience in their career that they have tremendous nuggets of wisdom to share in some subject area that has been a part of their career their whole lives. Those nuggets of wisdom are locked inside of you and you get to share those with an audience even if you weren’t going to interview any other experts, which is a whole another strategy that we can touch on. With your own experiences, the wisdom that you have to share with others, the impact you can have on other people’s lives, careers are tremendous. You can structure your show any way you want to share that. You can think of a theme for what your episodes might be and maybe you’re going to do one a week.
The theme and what you’re trying to communicate is the same and it’s a different nugget you’re sharing each week or maybe you’re going to do it three days a week. Mondays, it’s a certain area of business that you want to share. On Wednesdays, it’s another area. On Fridays, it’s another. Interviewing people, as a C-Suite executive, certainly you have a certain credibility. I’m sure you have tremendous things to share, but you probably also have unique access to other people in your circles of business that you could invite and be guests and share that with your audience. You also get their expertise to rub off on you and enhance your authority and credibility. There’s so much value to it and so many different ways you can take a show.
It’s a great way for an executive to essentially establish a legacy from a thought leadership standpoint. All these shows are easy to record, they’re easy to transcribe. A lot of people turn their podcast episodes into articles, which then get compiled into books. It’s the fastest way to write a book without a doubt. To have thought leadership and you can either wing it, which is you start off with the fundamental idea and two or three points you want to make, then tell stories around it like you would as a leader or you can script it or you can use an outline. I find that this kind of conversation, radio talk show style conversation works best for me.
Even when I have this conversation, I do usually have an outline. I’m a big fan of the outline. I don’t want to script what I’m going to talk about because I want it to be authentic and I want to deliver what is coming straight from my mind without being too sanitized or polished. Having a good outline is very helpful as to what you want to talk about, what subjects you want to cover, maybe a few questions you want to ask a guest. I will let the conversation take a tangent turn if it seems interesting. I’ll usually think of other things along the way that that tangent makes me think of and it becomes more interesting than if it was scripted.
That said, we do have a goal in mind here for this particular show. It’s for an executive to consider whether a podcast is right for them or not and how they might go into launching their podcast and making it a success. We have an objective here. There’s another thing that’s important as you put together your podcast and that’s having a clear vision of your audience.
It’s very important to have an idea of who you want to speak to because that will help frame the subjects that you decide to speak on in your episodes. I also have seen podcasters be surprised by the audience they intended to seek and the audience that ends up finding them. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It depends. If you had your heart is set on reaching a certain audience and you maybe missed the mark, maybe then you need to pivot your show theme subject matter somewhat. I also find that there’s something wonderful that happens where even though you intended to and maybe you are actually reaching this target market you intended to, but there’s a whole other market that finds you. I’ve found that in business a couple of different times. It’s a wonderful organic thing that happens and it still can serve you regardless. We’re talking about executives, establishing expertise and establishing authority and credibility.
For C-Suite executives who are looking to establish credibility, authority and move on to other wonderful things in their career, like getting more stages to speak on, getting paid to speak on stages. Podcasting is a wonderful way to establish that credibility for event planners to listen to how well you speak, what command you have of your subject and the rapport you have with the guest. All those things are tremendous indicators that can help an event planner across the world, in Singapore or Hong Kong decide, “I’d like to get this person on my stage.” One example of that, my co-host Tracy, she speaks on stage more than I do. We both do but she’s made it a goal of hers to get to speak on stages and has gotten her first paid speaking gig in Hong Kong. That’s been a goal of hers to be an international speaker and now she’s getting to do that in no small part because of her being a host of podcasts.
It’s an audition. You can also use podcasts a number of different ways. It could be an internal only podcast for your company where it’s the president’s message. It can be a five-minute podcast of insights from the C-Suite. It could be a rotating thing where you bring in your team on a regular basis and you interview from the bottom to the top. It could be a customer facing podcast. It could be five minutes, it could be 30 minutes. This show is targeting a 30-minute show. You get to make it anything you want. You could also make it about your hobbies. If you love trains, why don’t you do a train podcast as the CEO of the company. You talk about trains and it doesn’t matter. It matters not, it’s your show.
That’s the wonderful thing about it and there are going to be more and more podcasts now. In the English speaking market, there are north of 250,000 now. There are more than 500,000 podcasts total worldwide. A lot of those are inactive or maybe older ones that have stopped, about 250,000. There are often several podcasts in about any niche subject area for people to consider and consume. At the same time, there’s still tremendous opportunity for a lot of new niches that have not even scratched the surface yet of different subject areas. I am personally very excited every day that I get to see and be a part of new podcasts being created in areas that provide real value to listeners, but also tremendous value to the business or personal goals of the host.
We’ve talked about what they might talk about, some the formatting, let’s move a little deeper into the how this happens. How does a podcast go from, “I’d like to do a podcast,” to showing up on iTunes? We will spare some of the nitty-gritty details because there’s a lot of guidance to making that happen. Actually, Tom does this for you if you want. He takes care of my podcasts. I’ve got to tell you, for up through about episode 72 of this part of the show, I used to do all the editing myself. I love it. I’ve been editing audio since 1976. It started off the razor blade and tape. It’s one of the things I love to do on airplanes, but I’ve gotten so busy that I don’t have time, so I turned it over to Tom and his team. He does everything for me for a very reasonable price. Given what he does, it’s extremely cost-effective. It is less than taking out your colleague to dinner. That’s how cost effective that Tom and his team are. Let’s walk them briefly through this process, giving them some hope that they don’t have to freak out, that there’s actually a way of handling this.
There are a lot of people out there who for whatever reason, whether they’re are a techie and they like doing it or are into the learning how to do it or perhaps, they’re constrained by budgetary limitations. You certainly can do it all yourself. I’m very transparent about everything we do. I openly share that. If you want to do it yourself, more power to you. My market tends to be people that value spending money to save time or literally do not have the time to do it themselves. I would think it’s not a stretch to say that if you’re a C-Suite executive and considering using podcasting to grow your personal brand or further your career, the last thing you should be doing is getting into the nitty-gritty of the tech of, “How do I edit this and produce it?” You don’t want to get involved in that.
That’s the last thing you want to do. To make it simple for you, it’s very easy. You need to figure out how to set up a simple recording strategy. There are a lot of ways of doing that. You can do it with your cell phone if you want to get the quality that you’re hearing from. Tom and I are using studio quality microphones and a very simple web interface that connects the two of us. It sounds like we’re sitting in the same studio. We’re about 250 miles apart.
The audio quality is tremendous. I’m using a good quality mic and you are too. We have environments that are conducive to sound absorption, which bouncing an echo is a bad thing when you do this. It doesn’t take much. That’s another myth that sometimes people who maybe were used to ever going into a radio studio and recording a segment think, “I’m going to record a podcast. I need to go into a professional recording studio.” The reality is you can but those days have passed. Technology and the equipment have improved so much that it is not necessary. Just to get into one tiny tech thing, the reality is the medium we communicate with through podcasting are MP3 files. There is a limit to the quality of an MP3 file that even recording in a much more professional environment is not going to benefit you that much more because it all gets reduced down to MP3 quality at the end of the day.
It’s working with a high-quality microphone and budget a couple of hundred bucks for that. It’s straightforward. Tom’s team can help you get all that set up if you need to. You record it, you send it to Tom’s team and the rest of the magic happens. The way a podcast usually gets posted is through a blog page on a website.
There are a couple of different ways, but that’s one of the most common. Eventually, you need to publish the audio file and syndicate it to the world. Meaning, you’re going to publish it in one place and it then automatically gets sent out to iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and maybe you don’t know all the different places. Believe me there are more places these podcasts are available than you realize. It can go out to all of them automatically. That’s pretty simple and we take care of that for our clients. You don’t need to know any of that.
Bottom line is if you want to start a podcast, certainly you could do it yourself but that would require a lot of research and a lot of task mastering on your own. We do have a podcast setup program where you make the decision to do it and within 30 days you will be a podcaster live on iTunes. Then on an ongoing basis, we want you to concentrate on what only you can do. Record this wonderful rich content. I can’t do that for you but then all you do is record, upload your file to us and you’re done. We take it from there to create the audio show, syndicate it and create a blog post on your website for you because your listeners need a destination to go to, to get all the links and information that you talk about, to see things that are visual that you referred to. Maybe it’s a video clip of something so your podcast becomes the destination for your listeners and this is part of how you build a community.
If you can use Dropbox, you can upload the sound file to Tom’s team.
It’s not that hard. We do have a customer dashboard that has all your analytics for your podcast and your website. It’s a hub for what you’re going to do with us, but still it is not complicated.
If you’ve got an executive assistant, they can do all that for you.
Many of our clients do that.
It’s a very straightforward thing to do.
One of the things about the process that’s unique to us is we have an automated system for communicating with your guests. If you’ve interviewed a guest on your show, when it publishes, we’re going to send an email to your guest on your behalf. You get to customize the copy so it’s in your voice. We send them all the links and graphics, everything they needed to share it, including an image that’s all about them, usually something the host said about the guests that make them look good and because of that, the guest always shares it. You get your guests to help promote your show.
The way that you’ve put together the blog page, which is the transcription of the show, which I used to have to do and was about half the cost of doing the show and you do it as part of your overall feed, it’s stunning what you can do, Tom. You blow me away with the value you deliver. That blog does so much good for attracting the right listeners. Let’s talk about the power of the search engine.
For the service we provide and that’s why we call the service, Brandcasting. It is podcasting. We’re using audio or you can start from video if video is your thing. We pull the audio from the video and go from there. We call it brandcasting because it is about marketing and promoting, growing your brand, whether that’s personal or business. Much of the value is in the blog post. Don’t get me wrong. We’re talking about podcasting in iTunes and podcast audiences are wonderful.
I love it as you do but you don’t get the full value of the time you’re investing in creating this podcast unless you convert it into a long form written blog post. We can all agree that when someone goes to their smartphone or their computer and they want to look up information about an area of interest or a pain point they’re having, they’re going to go to Google first. Here’s the thing about Google though, they do not index into their search engine what is said within an MP3 file, nor do they pay attention to what is said within a video. In order to get Google to pay attention to any content you create, you’ve got to convert it into a written form.
Since 2009, Google has recognized written posts that come from human speech as different from the post you thought and typed. They can tell the difference because the imperfect grammar and the word order is a little different than if you’re an author writing a novel or an article. They know that they’re original and Google gives them higher weight. It ranks them higher. In a 30-minute podcast, maybe it’s going to be 2,500, 3,000, 3,500 words depending on how fast we all talk. Within that are going to be hundreds and hundreds of keyword phrases that people type into Google search bar every day. If you don’t have these converted to the written form, then in your posts nothing will ever show up for you when people search on those things. When it’s written, you put it on the website, Google every week. If you’re putting out enough content every day, it is searching your website for new content.
When it finds it, it scans it, analyzes it and cross references it with so many different search terms and that’s how your post comes up. We have found and we have case studies where we’ve done this where even within eleven hours, that’s the earliest we’ve ever seen it. Although I don’t know it may have probably happened quicker than that. We publish an episode which includes the podcast and the blog post simultaneously. Google indexes the post pretty quickly if you’re doing it on a regular basis. We’ve seen it happen within eleven hours that a post we create was ranking on the first page of Google search for three different search terms. It is the record here in the office, but it usually happens for any number of different search terms within a couple of days at the latest. People searching, your post comes up, they click on the link, they end up on your website. Now, you’ve got way more traffic.
This is way more potent and powerful than almost any other marketing you can do because of the freshness, the way the search engines operate and prefer this content, and how fast and easy it is for you to do this. Since working with Tom, the number of listens that I get from my podcast have doubled. It freaked me out. I thought I was doing a great job connected with Tom. He said, “I can make it a little better.” He’s done way more than made it a little better. I want to share with you a one more thing and that is how long does it take to do a show? My shows tend to run about a half an hour long. I do about a seven to ten-minute warm up with the guest. We talk about the specifics, we don’t do any meetings prior to that other than, “Here are the fundamental topics,” so we lay out the show flow.
I do have a guest guide that I send out pre-show, which sets things up and lets people know what to expect. We record the show and then it takes me about five minutes to do the cleanup afterwards to take care of the files and to get it into Tom’s system for their team to take care of. I have about a six-week lead with a show, which means Tom’s team has six weeks’ worth of episodes already edited, queued up to automatically drop in the future. For example, this week I’ve recorded five shows. This is the fifth show, Tom, thank you very much. I’m good for a little better than a month.
That’s one of the misconceptions that people sometimes fear about getting into podcasting, “Do I have to do this every week? Am I going to have enough time in my schedule to do it?” You don’t. Honestly, I’m a co-host on three different podcasts and we record easily two dozen, sometimes north of 30 episodes a month, but we do that in two days a month. If we’re recording one a week, you can do that in an afternoon. You have to schedule it properly and plan it properly.
I do two shows. I host this show and I host another show on thought leadership. I’ve got to tell you, it is one of the most fun things I do because I get to hang out with smart people. People are way smarter than I am on certain topics like Tom Hazzard, podcast producer extraordinaire. Tom, how do people get a hold of you? How do they find out more about Brandcasting? I cannot endorse more than I do. I tell everybody, it’s magical.
Thank you so much. What is becoming the dominant brand is called Podetize.com. You can find everything there. We do have BrandcastingYou.com. The Podetize is our podcast hosting platform brand and Brandcasting is the process we do produce the episodes. We have two brands but it seems to all be shifting to Podetize. You can find us there with ease and reach out to us. We also have our own podcast called Feed Your Brand that you can find anywhere on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, etc. We also have a Facebook page, @FeedYourBrand. If you want to be a part of our community and learn more about what this is that we do, these are all the things we talk about on Feed Your Brand. We’d love to have you be a part of our community.
Thank you so much, Tom, for sharing your insight, your wisdom and for making my show so much better.
It was my great pleasure to be here. Thank you so much.
- Tom Hazzard
- WTFFF?! 3D Printing Podcast
- Feed Your Brand
- Tracy Hazzard
- @FeedYourBrand on Facebook
About Tom Hazzard
An inventor with 37 patents and an unprecedented 86% success rate for consumer product designs, Tom Hazzard has been rethinking brand innovation to design in success for over 25 years. Tom Hazzard is co-host of the Forbes-featured fast growth WTFFF?! 3D Printing podcast as well as host of two new podcasts, Feed Your Brand & Product Launch Hazzardsborne out of his core business, Hazz Design, where he has designed and developed over 250 products that generate $2 Billion in revenue for retail and e-commerce clients.
Tom’s podcast recently reached 500 episodes and 100,000 plays/month but was monetized within one year of launch in conjunction with his authority site 3D Start Point. By applying his proven launch process & patent-pending ad mixing system Tom achieves a 37% conversion rate on advertisements with his focused active audience. This year, he spun off the venture into its own entity, Brandcasters, to bring done-for-you services to speakers, authors, experts, major publications, sports stars, and entrepreneurial influencers so they can broadcast their original brand message quickly.
Tom has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Wired, and Fast Company, been a guest on numerous podcasts, and speaks at conferences across the country on Content Conversion, Brandcasting and 3D Print Design.
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