Welcome to Not Another Marketing Podcast where I’m talking to Alban Brooke, Head of Marketing at podcast host Buzzsprout. It’s a chat full of insight & tips for any business, freelancer or entrepreneur wanting to start a podcast.

Episode 77

A podcast can really help a small business, freelancer, solopreneur or startup build trust, authority and connect better with clients or customers. Being able to improve trust usually leads to better sales, leads and happier clients.

In this episode of Not Another Marketing I talk to Alban Brooke from podcast host Buzzsprout and he shares a huge amount of insight and knowledge.

Alban has also written an amazing guide on how to start a podcast that’s been read over a million times and there’s complementary videos and a podcast to go with it. You can read the guide in full here and it’s a must read!

Can I quickly mention is that Not Another Marketing Podcast is totally ad free and I’d love it if you could give the pod a quick shout on social media and subscribe via your podcast app.  You can find more podcasts on the website.

Transcript (Edited for clarity)

What is a podcast?

I mean, podcasting is a way for people to listen to audio files in a really simple format. That’s really what it goes back. Now I think I could imagine two dozen different people that would be taking issue with that definition.

Podcasting is a way that you can just listen to conversations and what it really does is it allows people to talk and be a little bit more honest and a little bit less polished and it’s not like written content where it feels like every word is so weighty and important and it’s not like video where it has to have this high level of polish because you catch every jump cut.

It’s a little bit more authentic, and to me, that is like the essence of podcasting. It’s this authentic real medium where people can just share their stories.

Would you say it’s on demand? Like talk radio? Would that be right, or do you think it’s a little bit more than that?

I think that it is because it’s also lowering the barrier entry quite a bit. It’s a bigger deal to be on talk radio than maybe to be on an individual podcast. A lot of people maybe just grab a friend and have a conversation and I think in lowering the barrier, we do get some shows that, you know, maybe aren’t the best.

But you also get lots of interesting conversations that could never really happen on the radio. But that is a good way to think about it, coming from the radio world, that it’s on demand and there’s so much more variety.

Should we video and podcast? Should we stick them on YouTube? Is it still a podcast?

You definitely should be putting it on YouTube but there’s quite a few caveats I’d put in with this.

If you’re going to put something on YouTube, you need to make sure that the content you’re putting matches the way that YouTube presents information.

People are watching stuff on YouTube and what I’ve seen a lot of podcast host and podcasters do is they just take an audio feed and they put the artwork on top and they make that the video and that I’m somebody who spends quite a bit of my time now working on YouTube videos and working and that is just killing their channels because YouTube does not like that content and I can give you case study after case study of channels that do really well but when they start publishing those videos there, reach actually shrinks.

And it’s because when people are expecting to see video and all they see is a piece of artwork, they get bored.

So what you need to be doing when you’re putting content on YouTube is there needs to be a visual component, and that visual component often is just the people talking.

So I think Joe Rogan is one of the best at this. He’s filming these entire podcast interviews and then putting the whole thing on YouTube and then when he really kind of hit his next stride was when he had somebody on the team start cutting each of those interviews into kind of bite size segments and he was matching his content with the medium of YouTube.

YouTube is all about eight minute clips and below so they started finding these interesting clips from his episodes in uploading those separately and now every interview became five or six different videos.

That was when you really could see Joe Rogan starting to hit a new audience because those videos would go viral pretty regularly, reach a large audience, and then somebody would say, Oh, I’ll listen to just to the entire episode now and then they go listen to whole episode on YouTube and then they would subscribe to the show.

So if you want to get onto YouTube, which I think you should that is the way to do it.

So do you think it’s important to kind of like create some sort of a setting? I mean, I don’t whether it’s just that I’m old now and we’re just sitting there watching somebody talking for 40 minutes is like, Okay, I can listen to them talking for 40 minutes.Do you know what I mean?

Well, I think you’re completely right, and I totally agree with you.

I think you need to think of YouTube is being the gateway drug for the podcast. You know, it’s the lead in. It’s not where you hope people will be long term and by putting the clips out, most people are finding YouTube shows by that recommended section on the right side of the page and you want something that someone clicks on.

You know, I’m a solopreneur and I’m trying to learn how to figure out marketing and then they see a two or three clips from your show and then you say, I have a podcast and it may be someone who’s never listened to a podcast before, and now they do so I can just click over and subscribe in.

This happened this already on my phone and now I can listen to this all the time because podcasts are very hard to market so it’s really important to leverage all these other networks, like YouTube and social Media, to market your podcast and bring people in.

So you would recommend kind of chopping your podcast up into little pieces and put it on YouTube instead off, say, just pre recording the whole thing and just showing all 40, 50 minutes of it?

One of the lessons that I’ve learned from spending more time on YouTube and doing more videos ourselves has been actually do both with YouTube.

YouTube is much better than even Google, in my opinion, at sifting through a lot of different types of content and different formats and figuring out which one will work for individual people.

So give them the five small clips but also give them that long clip and they’ll probably start serving up the small clips to people but then when someone listens to a couple of small clips that may say would you like to watch the full video?

Yeah, I think we way underestimate the value of that recommended section, don’t we? I was watching somebody on the train before the lock down and they had YouTube on the laptop on it was kind of like recommended that watch. Two minutes, three minutes of video recommended another one. Another one, Another one and It was like you end up going down a rabbit hole.

Yeah, there’s a podcast called Rabbit Hole from New York Times they just put out, and it’s incredible and they’ve got a story very similar to that. People can just keep watching and watching YouTube.

I mean, from our analytics that we see for our channel most of our views come through either us sending someone directly to the videos,so somebody who’s the Buzzsprout user already or on that recommended side, the recommended are very, very powerful.

Okay, so why should a small business, freelancer or an entrepreneur have a podcast?

It’s really valuable to have a podcast if you’re in an industry where you need to have a lot of trust.

So you know, you’re kind of on a spectrum from very heavy sales, you know, one on one connection making $100,000 sales all the way down to you know, somebody selling me a $2 toothbrush that’s just kind of on a whim. I just pick it up and the further you get towards the very large sales that really require a lot of trust the more that I would recommend a podcast.

You have to kind of have more genuine, honest conversations and the engagement you get from your listeners is kind of incredible.

We have the same content on YouTube and in podcast format for our business and one thing I keep seeing is we’re lucky to get four minutes of listen time or watch time on YouTube, and it’s pretty regular to get 30 minutes plus on our podcasts.

Sure. Do you think that it’s the something to do with the voice just being a voice that leads to this trust

Absolutely, it’s the voice. I mean, you hear it in your head as you walk around and you’re doing yard work or you’re washing dishes or something, you’re driving in the car.

It’s like you’re having a conversation with this person for hours and often if you have a conversation with someone for hours you do build quite a bit of trust in connection to them.

It was something which scared me a little bit when I was working in radio many, many years ago, and I remember I was doing a show, did a show for a couple of years, and then I left and I got forwarded 350 letters from people saying, Sorry to see you go. It was that kind of connection that you made with people and you had no idea you were making that type of a connection and I think the same goes for podcasting. When people hear your voice, they get an image of the type of person you are. I think more so than in video, because in video, you’re kind of presenting it. Does that make sense?

Yeah, I know when I have a camera on me. I’m very conscious of how it feels. I’m very conscious of that. There’s someone who’s going to be watching it from the other end and I’m trying to think about how I look, how I’m presenting.

I don’t feel the same behind a microphone. It just right now feels like you and I are having a conversation and so it’s just a very different the personality that comes through.

And your story about everyone sending you the letters totally rings true.We have a series where I’ve repurposed content. That is the Blog format that’s been red over a million times, a video format that’s probably been watched in total close to half a million times, and then a podcast that we’re downloaded 100,000 more.

And so with those numbers, you’d think I’d regularly run into people who read the blog or watched the videos but at least half of the time that anyone references that content, it’s I listen to the podcast.

I listened to it twice. It was super valuable. Thank you for doing that.

And I’m always surprised because one of these formats has 10 times as many reads and yet it’s not the one that is building the connection.

The blog post is great and it’s probably brought us a lot of customers, but it’s never built a connection between me and one of our customers. Where the podcast really seems to do that very well.

Yeah, And I suppose if you’re in an industry that needs quite a lot of trust before you buy a product, it’s an ideal format, really, isn’t it? Podcasting?

Yeah, we have a customer who what he does is he sets up call centres for big companies and so for him every contract is over 100,000, you know, it’s a massive contract and so what he did was he started a podcast, and he just talking.

He’s just doing content marketing. He’s talking through the issues you might be facing if you’re setting up a call centre yourself and he answers all the questions and he’s only getting somewhere around a couple hundred plays per episode, so he doesn’t know how successful it is.

And then when we talked to him, he said, you know, this is actually the most successful marketing I’ve ever done because the 200 people that are listening every episode are actually the 200 decision makers at companies who are trying to set up call centres right now and they’re all listening, learning about the process and building trust for me and the minute that they realize this is gonna be too painful, they call him and say, Hey, I’ve learned so much from you. You obviously know what you’re doing. Would you ever consider setting one up for us?

And so he was getting paid speaking gigs. He was getting customers he chased for years, and he was just kind of blown away by the response because the numbers were so small but it was the exact right people that he was talking to.

Yeah, when I check the analytics on my own website of people landing on one of my training pages, for example, and then they head over to a podcast and listen to a podcast. I reckon 80/90% of those fill in the lead form.

Yeah, that totally jives with the data that I’ve seen because you just get a totally different feel from listening to a conversation than just reading a piece of marketing material

Of course, it’s non disruptive marketing. You can listen to a podcast whilst you’re doing the house work at home whilst your type emails, whilst you’re driving the car You can’t watch YouTube when driving the car, well, you shouldn’t be so we’ve got this non disruptive marketing. You could be talking about your brand, your product or service. You could be educating, informing people at the same time as they are doing something else. You’re not stopping them from doing something.

I don’t know about you, but I have listened to so many audio books that I probably would have struggled to read, and I’ve listened to tonnes of Podcast that I would maybe have struggled to read not because they weren’t high quality, but just because there’s moments where it got a little dry.

But I power through it because I’m out mowing the lawn and when I’m out mowing the lawn, I’m not thinking, Hey, I better make the the most of this next one minute. I’m just perfectly happy to listen, and if the conversation veers off for a little bit, I’m not frustrated.

But when you’re on YouTube, you gotta think the average person on YouTube is filling their day because they’re kind of bored and they’re just clicking through videos and so if you’re not satisfying something every 10 seconds there’s like seven more options right there.

Click and they flip away.

If we create a podcast for our business, does it have to be on on Apple podcast on Spotify and Google? Can we have a private podcast, which we say just give to our clients?

Sure, it just depends on the goals that you have for the podcast.

So a lot of businesses I see do this with internal podcasts, you know, maybe they want to have the opportunity for the CEO to get a message out to the team and it not got to be super formal and so they just get everybody on. Everybody has it subscribed to their phones and then the CEO just hops on and kind of talks for 10 15 minutes once a week.

if there was content that you kind of wanted to keep private, especially for clients, that might be the right way to do it but often you want people to have the opportunity to opt in to your podcast like you were saying, make it less disruptive so that any potential client, it’s at their control, whether or not they listen to your show.

To get on apple podcasts, Spotify all of that. It doesn’t cost money, does it?

No. You need to have some way to host the files and then to distribute it.

So that’s what we do at Buzzsprout. Sure, but you definitely want to be in every one of the directories.

You do need some proper podcast hosting, don’t you? For a podcast, you can’t just stick it on your website?

I mean, technically, you can put it on your own website, but there it’s just the Web.

Most Web hosting is not built for audio files so once you start doing pretty well, you might start crashing your own site, which is counterproductive.

So even if you don’t go with us, I would recommend that you find a podcast host that works for you.

Okay, so what types of podcast do you think a small business should be creating? Should we be creating, say episodic type podcasts where there’s 10 episodes of serious one and then we have a break and we do another, or just have a regular podcast every single week, every fortnight, every month, whatever it is. What do you think works best?

Well, you want to create something that you can stick to, and that is not gonna overwhelm you.

I know for a lot of small businesses, as soon as you start to think about marketing, you get sold this bill of goods you have to be doing on YouTube and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn and everywhere and eventually burn out and you stop doing marketing altogether.

So That’s why I really like the doing a podcast because people know we’re gonna kind of take a week, and we’re really going to dive into this podcasting thing qnd we’re going to do seven episodes in seven days and we’ll put that out and then maybe we’ll come back in six months.

You should always be talking about your business and think about the information that you would want to give to a potential client and, uh, you know, the normal content marketing process.

Give away all of the information that you often sell, make it so that people are listening to this podcast are blown away by how much of this business information you’re willing to give away for free?

There’s always a little bit of a bite back by a lot of companies I found, but you’re right. It does work incredibly well, but I can’t tell them how to do it because they’ll do it for themselves they won’t hire me, but it doesn’t work like that does it?

Well, if you’re in a business that you’re actually afraid that if you tell people what to do that they will go do it themselves rather than hire you that’s a bad sign already. You know that if you think the only reason that you have a job is because you kind of kept a secret from everybody. That’s not the kind of business you want to be and the longer they listen to you, the more they build trust for you or they build appreciation for the work that you’re doing and so very quickly, they’re going to go, okay, this is a lot of work. I think I should just let the experts handle it, and then they will ask you to do it for them and hire you and you’ve got to remember, we’re talking to potentially Million’s of podcast, listeners.

And if you’re talking to all these people, well, maybe 50% of them will be able to do this themselves but all the rest have now built this incredible trust for you, and they’re going to reach out to you for help.

So that’s how I think about all content marketing. Try to teach people to use your product in our content marketing. I often say, if you want to do this, here’s how you do it with us and here’s how you do with all of our competitors and people may think lbut couldn’t someone click that and go to a competitors?

The answer is, of course they could. But what’s happening is I’m now the one ranking in Google for that result, and I’m the most helpful on the Web with this and so I probably am sending a few people to competitors b ut overall, we’re controlling the messaging, and more people are seeing that we’re willing to provide that value and you’re building more trust for your brand on not the others.

Exactly. So When we If we decide we’re gonna do a podcast for our small business should we script something or should we be conversational.

I lean towards the conversational side because you don’t want to put too much weight on everything that you’re doing.

You want to be able to be conversational, be a little bit more free, take a little bit of the burden off yourself but you’ve got to have some bullet points.

So every one of our shows, when we record it, we mostly sit down for about an hour or so and just talk through, what we’re gonna talk about in this show, we kind of build an outline.

Some of us have already kind of hinted at some of the key points we want to make, and then we just work through the outline and the goal is not to make it scripted. The goal is to help keep the podcast on track because there’s a lot of shows.

You know, the topic might be a marketing podcast.

You’re here listening about marketing and then there’s a 15 minute segment about some new beer brand, and you’re you’re like, okay, you know, that’s kind of interesting, but that’s not what I signed up for and so just doing those outlines really helped keep things on point.

But do you think even though it’s conversational, you need to keep it as tight assed possible? I must admit, one of the big bug bears I have of modern podcasting is the self congratulatory one, which I try and stay away from where the first 10 minutes of the podcast is “Oh, you’re so amazing. Oh, you’re you’re just awesome”. Its 10 minutes of basically just congratulating each other on how amazing they are on it’s like, just get to the point.

There’s the podcast I Start them, you know, a certain distance into the episode. And I’ve got quite a few that I know. Just go ahead and skip the first five minutes because there’s not gonna be a lot of value there.

You know, it’s nice to say a kind word about the guest when you first come on to the show but yeah, it doesn’t need to be more than you know 15 seconds before you start getting into the meat of the conversation.

So it’s kind of like controlled conversation, I suppose. Which is that which is what we want to try and do.

Yeah. I mean, that’s what a really good interviewer is doing. A good interviewer is having done research before so you know when there’s some interesting nuggets in your guests, you know that they could talk about so you’re kind of leading them into these conversations naturally, by asking questions and you know when to be quiet when something is interesting and when to interrupt when they’re rambling.

How do we find the best person in our company to present a podcast? Is it always like the most outgoing, the loudest in the office sort of thing, or would you tend to pick somebody who’s a little bit more controlled?

What I would probably the depend on the industry and what we’re trying to do with a show.

So my background is that I’m an attorney, and if I was trying to do a podcast now for a law firm I would want it to be the senior partner. I would want it to be as high up as I could, and I’d want it to be their personality as honest as well.

They’re kind of dry and very legally minded. Then let’s go with that, you know, format for the show but if you’re a social media agency, then you need to be exciting. Kind of bouncy and bubbly and show, hey, if you hire us, this is kind of the personality you’re going to get on social media, and I bet it will perform really well.

It’s fascinating chatting to you about this. Any final tips for companies and organizations setting up their their podcasts for the first time.

Well, like everything, you really want to find a few marketing channels that work for you, and then you want to just keep getting better and better and better.

I know there are some really valuable spaces in podcasting, but if it doesn’t work for your industry and you don’t find that people are interested in it then It’s is okay to focus on the other channels that work really well because it’s better to have one or two platforms that you’re doing well on than maybe 10 where you’re kind of just going through the motions.

I mean, you see it all the time where somebody gets into 10 different social media networks, and then it’s always the same reposted content that nobody engages with because they’re just publishing the same thing everywhere.