1st Anniversary Episode

BUSINESS AND MARKETING 1st ANNIVERSARY EPISODE 

1st Anniversary EpisodeThank you for joining us today for episode 25 of the Select Business Team podcast.  I’m so exicted about this episode because it marks the 1st year of creating this podcast.  Select Business Team brings business professionals together to discuss options for growing and expanding business with a focus on marketing, leadership and revenue and our podcast provides conversations with business owners on similar topics.

Since today is our 1st anniversary, we are celebrating and this episode is packed full of information to help you, the business professional. The overall theme is lessons I’ve learned from this first year of production, but there are several valuable ideas that I share as I’m talking. The first few minutes you’ll hear me thank a few people that stepped up to the plate to really help this podcast get started, then the real nuggets begin.  

In addition to thanking a few people, I also share with your my personal insights about this journey.  If you are looking for marketing ideas, keep listening, because you’ll hear several.  Here’s a little bit of what you can expect:

  • Challenges people have being interviewed on an podcast
  • Time management issues of creating a podcast
  • What’s in the analytics – can you guess what country gets more listens than my own state?
  • The bigger vision for podcasts

At the very end I’ll mention a new program I’m launching called Next Level Referrals.  If you want to build a solid referral business, it’s worth listening to the end and getting the details!

Lets get this 1st anniversary episode started.

It’s  hard to believe that it has been 12 months since we launched the podcast for Select Business Team. Today I want to share my appreciation for those that have made this journey possible and talk about a few lessons learned along the way.

It has been such an interesting experience, but in reality, this might not have ever started if it wasn’t for two very special people. You see, I had been thinking about a podcast for a long time.  I tried to recruit my son to help me but he wasn’t interested.  Then one day I was talking to Ben Piper,  who is the owner of Commonwealth Consulting Group and an SBT member. Somehow we got on the subject of podcasts and he said he had one. Truly I was in awe and he could see my excitement.

He volunteered to show me how to get started. Otherwise, I might still be talking about it and not taken action! Initially, I was intimidated, but after hours of research, it wasn’t as hard as I thought. The hardest part is making time, which I’ll talk about shortly.

Shortly after showing me the equipment, Ben told me about a meetup group for podcasters and encouraged me to attend. That’s where I met Charlie Birney of Podcast Village who has been a true inspiration for me. He’s got a heart of gold and is always sharing his knowledge and offers his studio at a discount to members of meetup.

I’ve done a lot of recordings at his studio and we share ideas regularly. You’ll hear him on an upcoming episode. Again, a big thanks to Ben and Charlie for helping me get started and bringing this podcast vision to life.

THANK YOU

One other person that I’d like to thank is Rick Becker. He’s someone I went to high school with and while we didn’t really know each other then, we reconnected through a mutual friend and he’s become my running partner. He’s got a great voice and after a lot of convincing, he agreed to do the intro for my podcast.  When we recorded the intro, I truly didn’t have any idea what I was doing. I didn’t know about voice levels and how to set the microphone on the recording software. We did several ‘takes’ and thanks to my amazing editor Evan, we have an intro that I love! So thanks Rick, and to his wife Susie for putting up with me and Evan for all of your hard work.

When I first launched the podcast, the plan was to interview members of Select Business Team and use the podcast as a member benefit to help promote them. After all, who wouldn’t want to be interviewed about their business and share their wisdom! There are so many benefits to a podcast that I assumed everyone would be as excited as I am.

One of the first things I quickly learned is that not all members want to be interviewed. I must admit that I was quite surprised at this. After all, who wouldn’t want free promotion? I’ve sent emails out to members to sign up to be interviewed and sometimes there were crickets!

A few of the members that jumped on it quickly were:

•  Andrew Blate owner of Beautiful Home services (episode #9 titled It’s a Numbers Game)

•  Nicole Orisme owner of NLH Contracting  (podcast #3 titled Keep Your Company Out of Hot Water)

•  Adam Solomon owner of DC Tech Search (#12 Selling The Sizzle).

•  Gideon Culman, the owner of KStreet Coaching (episode #4 – get out of the House)  was quick to be interviewed and is also one of my fellow podcasters with a show titled Where Genius Grows. It’s funny but shortly after we did the interview, he moved his office out of his home into a co-working space. I’m not sure the our conversation in the show is what prompted him, but in reflecting back, it’s kind of interesting that his show was titled Get Out of The House!

Most of the time I record with my guest in the same room but Gideon and I recorded online. Since he’s a pro at this, he had the equipment and helped me work through being nervous about not knowing what I was doing! He made it such a simple process!

WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE WANT TO BE INTERVIEWED?

There are still some members that roll their eyes when I bring up being interviewed for the podcast. My guess is that there are a few reasons why people might not want to be interviewed. One is industry regulations for certain members, which would make complete sense. Those that work in banking and financial services can’t say anything in public without compliance approving! So being on a podcast and talking about what they do might be more of a hassle than it is worth.

Another reason that members might not want to be interviewed is that they are focused on their own work and marketing isn’t top of mind. I actually heard a member say today at a meeting that if he could focus on helping clients and not have to market his business, he’s be perfectly happy! Fortunately he understands that he does have to market, hence he shows up at the meeting every week, but it is a good insight into why some people don’t volunteer to be interviewed!

There is a good possibility that many people find the thought of being interviewed as something extremely intimidating so they shy away from signing up. I can certainly understand that as there was definitely a point in my life when talking in public was something I would never do! Most people would not think that of me today, but yes, there is a very shy side to me!

The last reason why members might not want to be interviewed is that they don’t understand the value of the podcast and how it can position them as a leader. This also means that I might need to do a better job of explaining what a podcast is and talk more about the benefits to them! Maybe next year when I do a year 2 recap, I’ll be saying that I have a waiting list of members that want to be interviewed!  How cool would that be?

TIME MANAGEMENT

Something else I’ve learned from podcasting is that like with other aspects of running a business you either need to block out time for developing the podcast or outsource the work. Shortly after launching the podcast, something happened in my personal life (episode # 16 The Business of Overwhelm) that set me back in a way that I never dreamed.

11 months later, I keep thinking I’m recovered, but I’m not 100% sure. I’m committed to continuing the podcast and getting the production back to at least two a month, although ideally, I’d like to have one per week. To accomplish this goal, I need to tighten up my interviews so that the editing doesn’t take as long and tweak my processes a little bit so that I can get the episodes out quicker. Or, outsource the editing! I had a wonderful editor in the beginning but he’s since moved on, so I’ve been doing my own editing and as a result, things are a little slower because I haven’t replaced him, yet!

In addition to using the podcast to promote members of Select, I really believe that podcasting is the ideal marketing tool for small businesses. It’s an opportunity to create digital content, share it to a broader reach than social media channels to platforms such as iTunes, google play and Stitcher, iHeart Radio and TuneIn.

Plus if the episodes are generic enough, their content will be evergreen which means that you can constantly promote on different social media channels without being redundant.

Think about twitter.

Unless you live on the platform or put people into groups, you will miss a large percentage of the posts made by others. So if I post something today and 9:00 am, and post the same thing three days later at 3:00 pm, it’s likely that not many people would see it twice! Same with FB with only 2% of the business posts being seen if they aren’t promoted! I really think it is best if what I say with the link is changed up a bit, but I can still promote the episode and hopefully gain a few more listeners.

When I can get my guests to promote their podcast interview on their website and their social media channels, it’s additional exposure as well as the potential that their network will listen to past and future episodes, expanding our listener base overall.

PODCAST MARKETING

For example, I was recently interviewed on a podcast called More Than A Few Words. I’ve promoted this on my website and on different social media channels. Heck, I even did a podcast episode about it and here I am talking about it again. Clearly, I’m promoting myself but by doing so, I’m also promoting them! I’m happy to do so because this is a topic that I’m extremely passionate about!

People that I interview on this podcast show can do the same thing and get more mileage out of the interview. Plus, when you link to other shows, you begin to help your SEO, which is a huge benefit, but that conversation is for another episode!

So far in this 1st anniversary episode, I’ve talked about how this show was created as a member benefit for my business groups, I’ve talked about how essential it is to block time for the development and production of the show and how having a podcast is a great marketing tool.

WHAT IS IN THE DATA?

But Something else I have discovered is where people listen from. I host this podcast on a platform called blubrry which is like a website hosting company only it is specific for podcasts. The platform tracks how many downloads each episode received as well as where people listen and what types of devices they are listening on. What I can’t see who is actually listening and how long they listen for.

After the first 12 months, most of my listeners are on their desktops. Considering many other podcasters are pushing their listeners to iTunes, (which I think is important from a ratings/review perspective) I would have assumed many of my listeners would originate there as well. but they don’t. I’m also amazed at how many people are listening from foreign countries.

I would expect the majority of listeners to be in MD, which they are, but I have more listeners in Japan than I do in Maryland. Germany ranks second with almost as many listeners as we have in VA in the US.  So to those of you in foreign countries, thank you. I’d love to hear from you and learn more about you.

PODCAST FORMAT

Lastly, while I started the podcast as a tool for interviewing members of Select Business Team, I have interjected a few episodes where I’ve done the talking, somewhat like a training. This started as a way to get episodes out when I couldn’t get members to be interviewed, and lately, there has been a blend of the two.

When I’m not facilitating our business meetings, I do a lot of workshops, webinars and break out sessions at conferences on various business and marketing topics, so there is plenty of material to share on this podcast for those of you that haven’t attended any of my training sessions. For me, it has become interesting to see how the format is evolving with each episode.

THOUGHTS ABOUT OTHER PODCASTS

I must say that while I didn’t see a bigger vision for podcasting when I started this podcast, I feel like I am ‘all about podcasts’ today. I feel like a podcast junkie.

Earlier this year, I started a second podcast that has nothing to do with business called Divorce Exposed. This is a podcast that talks about insights for staying married and inspiration for surviving divorce. It’s a passion project for me since I consider myself a product of divorce. If you are interested, listen to episode one of this podcast and you’ll learn more about me than you probably need to know!

I’ve also been recording another podcast, although it isn’t released yet called The Business of Insurance. Another thing that you might not know about me is that I’m a licensed insurance agent, although I don’t sell, only consult these days. I initially thought this podcast could be a way to give back to that industry which I so love by interviewing professionals about what they do and why it is a great career path for recent graduates.

The end goal, hoping to convince the younger generation to consider insurance as a career. I’ve interviewed a few people and those interviews have inspired a few other ideas, so I’m still noodling what I will actually do with this podcast before launching.

BIGGEST AHA

The biggest aha that has evolved in the past few months that I want to mention in this 1st anniversary episode of the podcast is the value of using a podcast as a sales tool. I’m building out the platform for this and working with someone else on this idea, but I think there is a podcasting sales tool business in my future.  Podcast for Prospects is the name. Keep watching!

So, those are my insights from my first year of podcasting. I would not trade this for anything and am looking forward to many years to come with this marketing medium. I never thought of myself as a radio host, a performer or a creative, but when it comes to podcasting, it’s a combination of all three. If my voice is dull and boring or if the content isn’t interesting, you won’t listen….and you won’t tell your friends about the show. But if you find value, you’ll keep coming back for more and you’ll talk about the show with people your know and encourage them to listen as well. I hope you are doing a lot of the latter!

NEXT LEVEL REFERRALS

With that, I want to wrap up this episode and remind you about the new program I’ve created called, Next Level Referrals. It’s ideal for sales and business development professionals and I think if you are an attorney, cpa/accountant, insurance or financial advisor, this program is ideal for you.

I’ve been training people how to create referral opportunities for over 20 years but it’s always been through weekly meetings. I know that a lot of people listening to this podcast have no desire to attend a weekly meeting and even if you did, we might not have a Team in your area yet. So this is a way that I can share my knowledge with you and you don’t have to leave your desk to learn!

I’m creating a 4 week class, I’ll teach you how to build your network of referral partners, how to contact them, build the relationship and stay in touch with them in a way that feels natural and comfortable. The first program is a pilot program where I will be on every session, answering questions and offering feedback.

AT THE END OF THE PROGRAM, YOU WILL:

  • Have a clear plan of people to contact, how to contact and what to say when you meet them
  • Create a plan for following up with your strategic partners and a system for adding value to the new business relationship
  • Understand  your opportunity to grow your business with a minimal financial investment using one of the most effective forms of marketing.

I’ll also be offering 2 follow up sessions for this pilot group to make sure everyone is still on track and their network is growing. Since this is a pilot program, I’m reducing the cost even though you’ll probably get more value from it since I’ll be actively involved. The only thing I ask for the reduced cost is your honest feedback on how the program is working for you and what else you need to make your referral marketing program more successful.

If this is something you think you can benefit from or if you know someone that can, check out nextlevelreferrals.com and learn more. The pilot program will launch in July but if you are listening to this after we’ve launched, don’t stress, we’ll have another program that might not have me facilitating, but will incorporate all of the feedback from the pilot program participants.

Thanks for being part of this podcasting journey and for being part of Select Business Team.

Until next time, keep Creating Opportunities!

RESOURCES

In this episode I mentioned several people that stepped up to the plate to be interviewed in the first months.  Their episode link is above, but here you will find a link to their website and LinkedIn profile.

Gideon Culman – K Street Coaching.

Andrew Blate – Beautiful Home Services

Nicole Orisme – NLH Contracting

Adam Soloman – DC Tech Search

Next Level Referrals

Divorce Exposed

 

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