Podcasting is a great way to develop relationships and to uplift one’s business. In this episode, digital marketing consultant Shane Barker talks about the Marketing Madness Podcast and how converts his content into podcasts. Shane specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. On today’s show, he shares creative strategies to make a successful podcast and increase your listeners. He also talks about personal branding and reveals some of the helpful lessons that he learned throughout his podcasting journey. Don’t miss this episode to learn more about launching a successful podcast and content that converts.
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FYB COI: Marketing Madness Podcast With Shane Barker
I have Shane Barker on the show. He’s a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He’s consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products and a number of A-list celebrities. He’s the Founder of Shane Barker Consulting and the Cofounder and CEO of Content Solutions. We’re going to talk a bit about content marketing. With over many years of experience in the field of SEO and digital marketing, he is one of the foremost thought leaders in the industry. His podcast is called Shane Barker’s Marketing Madness Podcast. Welcome, Shane.
Tracy, thank you so much for having me. The Marketing Madness Podcast, originally we called it Content That Converts. It was super dry. I’ll bring on people that will talk about how you convert your content, whether it’s a video or whatever that is. I started interviewing people and I realize some of the interviews talked about marketing, but there was madness involved. One lady was in a cult. This was out of the left field. She was like, “I was in a cult for nineteen years.” I’m like, “What? Why are we talking about marketing?” We changed the name and my team was like, “We’re changing?” We’ve had ten episodes before we had launched. I’m like, “We’re going to change it to Shane Barker’s Marketing Madness Podcast.” They’re like, “You literally do have a problem. You are mad.” I’m like, “No.” It took a little while to launch, but the name fits better because of how that interviews go. It’s always fun, always a marketing base but we always have a little bit of madness overall for sure.
It’s a great strategy to have changed your name from the beginning. There isn’t any problem with shifting your name over time. Your subscribers aren’t going to go anywhere. New people who are maybe more interested in it because it doesn’t sound like a dry marketing episode of any kind. Why not?
I wanted to spice it up because, at the end of the day, I would like to think of myself as somewhat of an entertaining individual. The questions aren’t too crazy or too out of hand most of the time. The whole idea is to have fun with it. I want a spicy podcast so people enjoy listening to it. We can learn and that’s always fun. It needs to be fun. You need to have a little bit of spice to it. I enjoy that side of it. I realized through my personality and through doing the podcasts that madness is definitely a keyword to the podcast. It’s probably one of the most important words that we have in there.
What I tell all my clients all the time is let’s be edutaining about it. You want to learn something, but they also need to have some fun and need to break the mold. How long have you been in podcasting now?
My podcast went live in mid-July. I literally am a newbie. We started recording podcast interviews in October. We started doing the interviews and getting the cadence down. We’ve done maybe eighteen, nineteen episodes and I have another seventeen that have already been prerecorded. We’ve got a good cadence there. We’ve had some amazing guests, some phenomenal guests. Each one of them is in the marketing space, but it comes down to digital marketing and SEO. Some of them are influencers and some of them are entrepreneurs. We had some cool guests. I tell them ahead of time like, “I’m a little bit of a smart aleck,” not in a way to make people look bad or anything. I want to have some fun. If you’re into having some fun and listen to my podcast, you go, “I like that style, that fast-paced, let’s see where this takes us down these tunnels of learning and education.” It’s fun. We definitely have a good time.
That’s a big span but it’s not unheard of. It’s very common to have to go from October to July before you launch and starting recording and starting all the planning, what hang you the most up on getting launched?
It came down to other projects that we were working on. It’s like everybody’s problem, the failure to launch. You were doing this and changing this. When I decided to change the name literally halfway through, I can’t probably tell you exactly what my team probably said behind my back. It was one of those like, “Here we go.” At the end of the day, we wanted to make sure the process was perfect, not perfect but at least to a point where we felt like the launch was going to be good. A lot of people podcast and they do crowdfunding and all this stuff where they go late launch and they go, “What do we need to do to market it?”
We wanted to make sure that we had all that in place and most of the work, the crowdfunding or even podcast is something that is done before you go live. It’s like that pre-work. I wanted to make sure I had all the networks up. I wanted to make sure that we had the guests onboard and make sure the guests, they get certain emails. They would get included with all the collateral to be able to share on social. We wanted to make sure we had the machine. It didn’t need to be perfect, but we want to make sure we had that machine going. We can go ahead and get the people in there. Once again start getting the exposure.
The charts have been phenomenal in regards to how many downloads and stuff. We’ve already had some potential sponsorship opportunities. I feel blessed about that. We haven’t closed anybody yet so it’s not a dollar yet. The intention of the podcast was to get the word out. I enjoy talking to people. It’s a win-win for me. I got to interview great people, awesome people and talk about the synergies that we have. I’ve developed a lot of great relationships with the podcast. It’s one of those like anything you think, “God, if I’d done this five years ago.” It’s like, “I’ve thought about real estate years ago.” Now I’m out there, we’re doing it and we’re having a good time.
That’s the number one thing I hear, “Why didn’t I start this sooner?”
If you think about it like anybody else, if you started, in five years somebody else that didn’t start is going like, “I wish I’d done this five years ago.” We all start somewhere. The only time you’re going to kick yourself is if you don’t start it and you were talking about it. My team, at the end of this thing, I was like, “We’ve got to do this.” We’ve been 5% here and 10% there and getting closer.” Finally, I was like, “I have all these interviews.” Some of the people I interviewed might not be alive by the time we go live with this podcast. I’m thinking hopefully they’re still alive. We need to launch. That pushed everybody and we made it happen.
That’s an important point that you bring up that there is a pressure of your guests. I have some clients. You may not understand, but we have 300 shows that we produce here at Podetize. We have a lot of different clients. One of our clients is six months out in his recording. He’s interviewing out and right now this show that you’re on, I’m already scheduled out through November right now. You never know when you have that. There’s this pressure from your guests to like, “Why isn’t it aired yet?” If you’re involved with publicists, the publicists are really on you. Sending you emails every week going, “Why hasn’t this aired yet? When is it going to air?” You know that pressure. That is something that also happens and comes up. We get a lot of times from that particular host who booked out six months that he has to shuffle his episodes because someone’s bugging him so bad. He’s like, “Air this one next.”
If you’re launching a book, a product or something and you’re on somewhat of a timeline, that’s the thing you have to look at. We asked people ahead of time for the podcast. It’s like, “What is your goal?” Do you have a book that’s coming out in two weeks and you want it to come out before that? Maybe that’s not realistic. We make sure that we flush some of that out ahead of time. Now the word, now that it’s live and everything, we can move, shake and get some things situated that need to be. In the begging I was telling and they probably should have sent me an email and they are like, “You interviewed me in 2019 or 2012. It’s been seven years, Shane. Are you going to come out this thing or not?” but it wasn’t that bad.
What made you think podcasting was great to add to your content marketing repertoire? You’re SEO blogging. You’ve got lots of those in your arsenal.
For me, it was less of, “Let’s do a podcast to make money and get sponsors.” I do a lot of speaking engagements. People can listen to the podcast and get an idea of how I am, my cadence and the way that I hold myself. I have a fully remote team. My office is a little lonely, I’ll be honest. I don’t have tons of people. I don’t have tons of clients that come through my office here. I enjoy talking to people. When we jumped on the podcast, you and I are doing them on video as well. I enjoy that. I enjoy talking with cool people and networking. That’s what I enjoy about speaking as well is that when I’m out there and people come up to me and say, “I had some questions.” I enjoy that time.Nobody is going to find you if you don't start. Click To Tweet
I enjoy being able to educate people on things that I’ve learned that have cost me a lot of money, time or whatever and be able to help people say, “I can accelerate your learning by, ‘This is what I did. You’ve got to be careful with that.’” I probably could charge people to put podcasts together if I wanted to because of what we did and how we grind this thing out. Now, we have a phenomenal process in place, but it took a little while to get there. I enjoy education and I enjoy people. I don’t know if you know but I also teach at UCLA. I teach a personal branding class. I enjoy that. I enjoy giving back and I feel like it’s important.
If I can help educate somebody and have them save money, money that I spent the right way or wrong way, however, we look at it and be able to get them to the next step. I like that. I enjoy helping people. The gift for me is like, “I wouldn’t try this thing out. It worked. No, it didn’t work. This is what you have to watch out for.” I was pretty infamous early on in my career for doing a lot of free stuff for people. My wife is like, “That’s awesome. You’ve got another free client.” I’m like, “I can’t tell them no. They’re a nonprofit with kids. How do you tell somebody no? Kids need help.” The next time, “There’s this whatever nonprofit for dogs. I’m a dog person,” and my wife’s like, “That’s awesome. You’re definitely going to go to heaven. You’ve got a big old heart, but we have the mortgages that are due. Let’s figure that out.” While we’re here on this earth, why don’t we go ahead and knock that out and figure out that? I still do some consulting for free, but at the end of the day, I love giving back. That’s close to my heart.
That’s the case with podcasting. You can be of service during your interviews. Let’s talk about content that converts because that was your first instinct. Are you finding podcasting converting for you besides already seeking sponsors? Are you seeing it converting in other ways?
We have because if people want to hire me as a speaker or they want to get to know how I do things. We’ve seen a lot of people that have come to us. In the first month, I had a big sponsor that reached out to us. Once again, that was a bonus to this whole thing. I wasn’t planning on going, “This is going to be a new revenue stream for us.” I was realistic. I know of a lot of friends that do podcasts and you can monetize them, but you’re probably not going to monetize in the first year. It depends on what you’re going after and how big of an audience you have. I had a pretty good foundation and I’ve been doing this for a while.
I knew that we would probably get some traction. I’m very humble in the sense that I was like, “If I get sponsorship in the first year, that would be awesome. It’s a party bonus.” We’ve definitely seen a lot of stuff. Before we would have to reach out and say, “Shane is an influencer and has done this. Do you want to be on his podcast?” Now, it’s a situation where we’ve had to develop our processes where we’re getting tons of people that are inquiring with us, whether it’s PR reps or whatever is happening there. Before it was like, we’ll take not anybody but we would obviously do our due diligence. Now, it’s a situation where we’re having to tell people no, which is hard for me because I’m like, “They’ve got a good story.” If not, I’ll be five years out. We’ll have this thing booked out for five years.
I try to get the audience or try to get the individuals that have a great story. That is going to be fun for the audience and the audience can learn. I try to divide that up between the people that have a good story and offer some value in other people that are trying to get some PR out of it or maybe don’t have that juicy of a story. You’re always trying to outdo yourself from your last podcast interview. I’ve had some that I’m like, “I don’t know if they’re going to get any better than that.” I’ve had other ones, I’m like, “That was pretty crazy.” Some of the stuff people say because some people were over the top transparent about stuff. I had an interview with a lady, Cat Howell. I don’t know if you’ve heard of her, but she does like a lot of Facebook ads stuff, a lot of funnels and courses and stuff. I know her background but we weren’t BFFs and went to high school together or something. I asked her, “Tell us something that a lot of people don’t know about when it comes to you. Give us an interesting fact.”
She goes, “In Canada, I was a stripper at age sixteen.” I was like, “Here we go.” We are off to Shane Barker’s Marketing Madness podcast. That was the deal. I go, “Is Cat your real name or is it your stage name?” She starts laughing. We played on that the whole time. Once again, you don’t know where it’s going to go. She was super transparent to the point where you’re like, “You are an open book.” She was not shy about anything. It was such an icy interview and we’ll leave it at spicy. I gave it to my editorial team and I said, “I hope this doesn’t offend anybody. It wasn’t over the top but it could be in certain cultures.” They’re like, “No, it’s going to be fine.” Anyways, that’s one of the ones where I was like, “That was definitely spicy. Thank you, Cat, for that one.” She goes, “That was awesome. That was fun for sure. We had a good time.”
Have you made any big mistakes or had interesting mishaps that have gone on since you’ve started recording and doing a show?
Not that I can think of. My editorial team might say something totally different. They’re like, “No, we have to edit this stuff up.” For me, it’s a one-shot. We do some editing. I’ve been on podcasts like, “We’ll edit out anything if you say something wrong.” I’m a pretty good speaker. I’ve done enough speaking where I don’t feel like anything that I say needs to be edited. I don’t think so. For me, I enjoy having great conversation and wherever we go, if it’s talking about something that might be inappropriate to some people, I don’t try and go too far down the rabbit tunnel. To a point where it becomes educational, I would think. I figure that if somebody listens to something that they don’t like it and they unsubscribed and that’s the way it was supposed to be anyways.
I’m not looking to offend anybody and I’m not looking to talk about religion, politics or anything like that. I try to keep it pretty neutral because I want it to be educational. We’ve had some interviews like, “I was in a cult since I was nineteen.” I’m like, “What?” She’s very well-known. She goes, “I thought you knew I was in a cult.” “How would I know you’re in a cult?” “When you’re questioning, it looked like you were asking me about my upbringing.” I go, “I was but I didn’t know you were in a cult.” “We can look under some rocks but we had no idea that you’re in a cult.” It made for a great podcast interview.
Let’s do our quick lessons. I want to talk a little bit about personal branding and some marketing things. We do these five lessons because they turn into our Buzzfeed roll-ups. We want to make sure that we get your viewpoint on the best ways to get great guests.
What it comes down to is the distribution of your podcasts. Getting it out there so you start getting some downloads. People listening to it because what happens, like with Apple, we got in the New and Noteworthy section, which was helpful because what happens is you have the PR people and everybody that see that, they email you and they’re like, “I’ve got ten guests that can be on there.” You’re like, “You’ve got to filter through them.”
For our audience, that’s a first eight-week thing. That’s planning your launch and not winging it. That’s why Shane is successful here.
That’s what took us a little while is we were like, “Where do we want to end up and what is it going to take to get there?” That’s a good amount of time to be able to get that. The launch is so important. You have to launch so many episodes. You have to get so many downloads and you get up in the New and Noteworthy. It becomes a situation with some of the bigger players that are up there and people obviously that want to listen to a new podcast can download your sessions. That was beneficial for us, putting that plan together and once again strategizing and saying, “Let’s see if we can get some early eyeballs on it.”
It went from, “Do you want to be on the podcast?” to “We need a process to filter down and figure out who we want to have on the podcast,” the right people and the right individuals. That was helpful. The distribution of it is very important. How are you going to get downloads of people that don’t know about it? That’s marketing. If you had the best product in the world but you can’t get it out there, nobody cares. You can have a terrible product. You have great marketing and people are buying it.
We don’t want to be hidden experts here.One trick in podcasting is to keep it moving and to keep the conversation flowing. Click To Tweet
It’s a crazy story. You’re talking about UCLA. How I got my job at UCLA wasn’t because I applied for a job, it’s because they read my content. UCLA reached out to me. If I wasn’t producing that content and the podcast wasn’t out at that time, but I wasn’t producing content and telling the world about, “What we’re doing and I’ll call myself somewhat of a thought leader,” UCLA wouldn’t have reached out to me. A podcast is a great way to do that. Whether it’s writing content, whether it’s videos, but a podcast is once again for me another avenue for people to be able to hear my voice, to listen to what we’ve got going on and educate the world.
You’ve heard me say this so many times on this show that I got my Inc. column, which I’ve written for almost five years. I got it because of my podcast. I had a podcast. I got a speaking engagement and the editor of a new section of the magazine heard me and said, “That’s the information we want.” Reality is my podcast had decent downloads but she wouldn’t have known that.
I’m telling you this is what it comes down. People get nervous about whether it’s podcasts, videos or doing their first blog posts. At the end of the day, nobody is going to find you if you don’t start. That’s the only guarantee. If you’re nervous about this, “I don’t think I look good in a video or I’m not that good of a writer,” the cool part about all of this is there are people that will help you. There are freelancers. There are all kinds of stuff that you can do. It’s similar to podcasting. My podcast, I’ve got my process down to such a tight process right now and this is probably terrible to say. My team does all the research.
Five minutes before I start my podcast, I jump up and I’ll look at the information. Most of them I know already because they had been out there like thought leadership type of stuff. I’ve seen them. I go on and I jump on my podcast usually five minutes before that and that’s how prepared I am because my team puts it all together. Now, I can go through and have an education on who they are and look at their Instagram quick. I look at their LinkedIn and see where they’ve done business, who they’ve done business with, how long they’ve been in business and where they went to school, then I can conduct my interview.
Which makes more guests want to come on because they know that you’re prepared. What are some of the best ways to increase listeners as you’re going on and you’ve lost that New and Noteworthy bump, what’s next? How do you increase listeners?
Increasing listenership and getting people to download the podcast, it comes down to distribution. When we put down a piece of content, so what we’ll do is obviously the podcast, which is audio-based. We do video as well on Zoom is what we use as well. What we’ll do is we’ll take some of that content. We used some of the video stuff and we’ll make a little fifteen-second video for Instagram. What we do is we look at that piece of content and how are we going to divide it up. We’ve divided up, some of it’s going be visually based, some of it’s going to be audio, some of it we even put it on my website. You can go to the website’s podcast. You can go down there. You’ll see all the guests that are there and they’ll have all whatever, four or five different platforms where you can listen to it and then we have the distribution of that.
What we’re looking to do as well is also try to become, if it’s a thought leader and my site index as well, and I’m getting into SEO. For certain keywords and what I try to do is get number one for that thought leader’s name or for a keyword. If we get to number one for that and they get a good amount of monthly searches, what’s going to happen is that these people are going to go and download this version of Cat Howell because they like Cat Howell a lot. They’re going to like the interview and they’re going to listen to it and go, “That was awesome.” If I become number one for each one of those guests, which a lot of them are high authoritative websites that they own themselves. Sometimes it’s not always easy to do, but if we can get number one for that, that thing will continue to get us downloads and get new people to listen to the podcast. For us, it’s a double play.
You know that on the regular Feed Your Brand, not the Center of Influence series, but the regular ones, we talk about SEO a lot. The reason we do is exactly what you’re saying. From many of the blog posts that we create for our clients, we see them ranking on that first page, ranking the first position. Mostly it’s because even if they are great thought leaders, a lot of times they’re writing very short blogs. The longer tail blogs from the podcast, the multimedia information that you’re embedding in those blog posts from the video, the audio and the blog are what’s creating that power that Shane is talking about.
It doesn’t get any better than that. If you can index on that first page and if you’re in the number one position for a thought leader’s name, it’s over. What you’re going to do is if they have 1,000 searches or 10,000, 20,000 a month, people are going to listen to that and they’re going to say, “I want to hear this podcast with Shane and Cat,” or whoever that is. They’re going to download that. They’re going to listen to it. If it’s a good podcast, that thing will continue to bear fruit for you each month. It’s important. That’s where we look at dividing this up. If I have 20, 30, 40, 100 guests, if I can get 50%, 60% of those to end up on page one, we’re going to going to have some situations. We’re going to continuously drive that machine. I can go and tell sponsors, “We receive 50,000 downloads a month. We’re number one for these keywords, for these influencer things and build out a media kit to be able to go down the road.” It will get more sponsors because of the amount of exposure that we’re getting through the podcast.
I want to talk about producing in a professional way. What are some of the best ways to produce in a professional way? I know you’ve got a team and all of that, but what do you think is the most critical factor of having a professional show for those that maybe don’t have a lot of teams, a lot of budget? What should they concentrate on as being the most way to produce professionally?
It’s easy to say, “It’s easy. You hire a team.” You’ll be like, “That takes money and resources that maybe you don’t have.” What I try to do is figure out the ten things that I need to do to do a podcast. You’re probably going to have to hire an engineer assuming that you can’t do it yourself. You have to look at every piece of that puzzle and figure out, “What can you take on as an individual?” For my team, my team looks at Instagram. We have this profile that they fill out on everything. What is their dog’s name? What is their husband’s name? How many kids do they have? What are their kids’ names? What are their kids like? What was the last time they’re at Disneyland?
After five minutes, I know the person. What you need to do as an individual is you can also produce that same thing, but you have to do that research where you’re not going to have the time and maybe you listen to a podcast they’ve been on in the past. Even though I told you I look at it five minutes before, but you want them to feel special. You want them to feel like, “This person is not only excited about the interview but they also did the research. They did the intel,” that’s going to help an interview. If you go in and you don’t know much about the person, you can tell that the cadence is off. You’re missing the synergies and there are a lot of miscues. It’s a weird interview and that’s how you’re going to lose subscribers and people that want to be on the podcast. The idea is to keep it moving and to keep that conversation flowing.
You figure out whatever ten things it is you need to do for your podcast. You figure out what you’re going to do to save money obviously. If you start getting some sponsors, your sponsors will help you pay for that engineer, help you pay for the music that you want in the beginning. There are a lot of ways to cut that up. There are plenty of websites that have music that you can use for free. There are a lot of resources and people write about it all the time. How I started my podcast with $100 a month or something. That’s what’s cool about it these days is that the internet is a huge resource. It’s free information. That’s what’s beautiful is there’s no reason to go try to reinvent the wheel. You can go read five blogs, “This is who I need to do it with. This is how I can find music. This is how I can get somebody to edit it from Fiverr or whatever that is.” Put together a little bit of a plan and make sure that it sounds good. Over time you can add more resources once you get more sponsors or once it becomes more of a revenue stream for you if that’s what your goals are.
Have you been able to get a lot of engagement? You say you’ve been posting out on Instagram and breaking your pieces up. What have you found is encouraging the most engagement with your audience?
We’ll do a 45-second clip of the person that we interviewed with me. Usually, it’s them going on like I’ll ask them a question. They’ll answer like, “What are your three favorite software and why?” They’ll go into whatever we’re talking about during the podcast. We’ve seen a lot of good successes. We’ll put that on LinkedIn. We also put that on the audio version also on Instagram like Instagram Stories. It’s that distribution and we also send over to the influencer to the guests. We also send them some video, some collateral, pictures and all kinds of stuff. We tell them, “This is the content you can put on Twitter. This is what you can put on LinkedIn.”
Most guests are lazy and so what happens is they’re like, “I don’t have the time, I’ve got to do this and I’ve got to do that.” I give it to them. I’m like, “Here it goes 98% of the work. I’ve already done the visuals. I’ve already done this. All you need to do is you can copy and paste this and this is what you can put on Twitter or this is a sample one that we’ve put on Instagram that’s done well in the past. All you have to do is put your name in here,” or whatever that is. We try to make it customized. One of the reasons why you do a podcast is because the way to grow your subscribership is by having this influencer, a thought leader that’s going to be on there where you want them to promote it. You want their audience to come over and jump over and say, “That was an awesome interview with Cat. Shane seems to be a cool guy for the most part. Let’s go ahead and start listening to his podcast.” You’re doing these cross-promotions now. It sucks if I’m the only one doing promotions and we have an influencer and a thought leader that’s not doing promotions, which is pretty common unfortunately.Increasing listeners and getting people to download the podcast comes down to distribution. Click To Tweet
This is the thing. I’m so glad you’re echoing what I keep telling them. This is why we invented this thing we call ego bait and it is our follow-up process. I invented it not from my podcast, but I invented it because I write up these in-depth interview articles for Inc. Magazine and no one would share it. The ones that had publicists were the worst ones. They never shared it. People did not understand why. It took me a bit to understand that they didn’t know how to share it, number one. It wasn’t their job. Their job was to get a placement in a magazine or on a show. It wasn’t to share it. It was the wrong team, number one. We started creating cool graphics and embed codes. We created website embed codes. We do that for all of our clients. That’s an automated part of the process now. We called it ego bait. I got slammed by somebody who said, “Do you think that’s a good name to be calling it?” I was like, “If the shoe fits.”
You can be offended by the name but at the end of the day, people are lazy. It’s either lazy. I think you touched on another part is maybe they don’t know how to promote it. It’s also a time thing like I did the podcast, but now you want me to spend two hours. I’m putting some messaging together and all this. If you can dumb it down, not because people are dumb, but because just make it easy, make it stupid simple, then that’s the idea. Now you’re saying, “This is it right here.” Literally, you can click to tweet or you can click this right here and it will automatically send a Twitter thing. It’s all formatted for you. It’s all there. You can copy and paste it and there we go. Now, they can put it in there.
I also ask people ahead of time what they’re to commit to because what happens is if you make assumptions in anything in life, you’re going to be disappointed 90% of the time. What you need to do is go in and say, “One of the things that we do with the podcast is we do a little PPC, we do this, we’re going to do these promotions. We want to make this a partnership. Is this something you would be willing to invest in time if we gave you the pictures and gave you the audio and did this?” They go, “It’s not a problem.” Now, they’ve committed to it. When you send somebody an email and you pray, I can tell you that most of the time, the praying doesn’t make it so that they go and do this stuff that you want them to do.
It’s called communication. You have that open line of communication. You say, “This is what we’re expecting out of this.” Let me go, “That’s not a problem. If you guys send that over to us, that’s a no-brainer. We can absolutely get that up.” When I sent it over to them and I say, “John, we’re shooting this over to you. When do you think you’re going to promote it? We want to promote at the same time so we can get that traction.” Now you have a commitment. You have that conversation that needs to happen. A lot of people miss that part because they assume, “I interviewed them and they should be thankful. They should go share this.” There we go. I should probably have $1 billion in my bank account but I don’t. We’ve got to be realistic here. It’s that communication.
It doesn’t matter how big because like I said, I learned this from my Inc. column and you’d think that someone would want to share that they were in Inc. It didn’t work. Did you plan for monetization from the beginning? Did you think about maybe monetizing your show? If so, what was that plan looked like for you?
Monetization wasn’t the number one goal for us. I enjoy talking with people. The goal was to get a little bit more exposure to the name and the guests and do a cross-marketing rank because I’m hitting the speaking side of things. I’m pretty heavy this year and the same thing I’ve got a lot of workshops and other stuff that we’re putting together. It made sense for us to be able to do that. It was going to give us value down the road in other areas. Monetization of having sponsorships, I didn’t have any goals of that. It’s like the same thing when you write a book and that’d be more like, “I want to do my first book because I want to make millions of dollars for my book.” I’m like, “Your first book probably isn’t going to sell millions of copies. There’s not a lot of money in writing a book depending on what your goal is.”
When I write a book and what I was going to do with my podcast, it’s mainly for thought leadership. It was mainly to get the word out and interact with people that I might not have a chance to interact with because I’m not speaking on stage with them each week. It was a little filler in between me being able to speak with them and seeing them in three months and now I can have them on the podcast. We get to know each other a little better. At the end of it, “If you guys ever need anything, it’s been great for business on the backend of things. People go, “You’re talking about this content side of things and you write for all these websites. We would be interested. What packages do you guys have?” There we go. That would lead to business but that wasn’t the goal. I wasn’t like, “After every episode, I’m going to pitch my people that come on my podcast. I’m going to pull business out of them.” It was a natural thing that happened. It’s been beneficial for sure.
Using that monetization strategy as a long-tail process though of saying, “I’m raising my speaking authority so I can speak at better conferences, get better positioning, get better keynotes.” That’s going to lead to better business monetization as you put a business on the backend.
It was an investment. We knew that it was going to be a capital investment and time investment in the beginning. My blog as an example. I’ve been writing for my blog for several years. All of my leads that I get other than my speaking and stuff, it’s all through inbound marketing because we invested the time and a good amount of capital to be able to build that up. It’s the same thing with podcasts. If you stick with anything for a year or two, it’s eventually going to make some money for you. The thing is most people stop. That’s the problem is you start a blog and you’re not consistent with it. You don’t write anymore and you want to do video. You do two videos and you’re like, “This is terrible.”
The thing is if you keep going like anything in life, if you’re an insurance salesman and if you did it for five years and grinded it out every day, you’d make huge money in five years. Insurance salesman is a hard business. You get told no a thousand times for you to get a yes. You have to figure out how thick your skin is and how willing you are to be able to go through with it. With podcasting, my expectations were I knew there would be some other business and stuff that would happen because of it, but I didn’t think, “I need to make $10,000 for my podcast within six months or we’re not going to continue doing it.” I knew that we were going to have some fun doing it. I knew it would transform into other business and we wanted to keep going and get better guests and have more fun.
Let’s talk a little bit about personal branding. It’s one of my favorite subjects because I write about product branding on the other side of that. Personal branding, you’ve been teaching that at UCLA. What have you learned about personal branding from podcasting? Has it changed some of your perspective on how we personally brand our businesses and ourselves?
The class that I teach is its personal branding and how to be an influencer. What’s interesting about it is partly about, “If you want to be an influencer,” but what it is like you’re going to be an entrepreneur. How do you put your personal brand out there so you can work with the bigger brands and put a media kit together and put together a package? If you want to do this full-time, understand that being an influencer, eating your caviar on your private jet with your pink poodle. I’m not saying that’s not realistic, but you have to be able to do certain things, have a foundation and maybe potentially you can go to that. You’ve got to look at expectations.
With the personal branding with the podcast, I had a good foundation of followers through my blog and through other stuff that we’ve done. I knew that in my own personal brand, I knew that it would only help take me to the next level now that more people could hear me speaking with my guests. Be that interim of, “I’m going to speak in three months, they can listen to my podcast, get an idea of how I speak and how I have my guests on.” They would get excited about coming to see me. That’s also a thing for me to put in my media kit when I say, “I want to come and speak at your event. I’m going to be a keynote speaker and I charge $10,000, but this is what we have. My podcast has these many downloads. My website has these many people.”
You figure out what you’re going to be selling. If I’m saying I’m $10,000 and Tracy is $10,000, how can I beat Tracy out? Some people are going to go, “You guys both seem awesome but why are you better than Tracy?” I’ll say, “Let me tell you why I’m better than Tracy. I’m not better than you but I’m a close second. I’ll take second place when it comes to you. The idea of it is like you have to educate the brand. Why would I pick you?” What most people don’t understand is with influencers, “I’m waiting for Nike to come to knock on my door.”
You can wait for that or what you can do is build a media kit, understand who they’ve worked with in the past and you tailor a message to them that says, “I know you’ve worked with Stephanie in the past. You guys did the local LA campaign that had to do with these shoes. I think that was awesome. I don’t know if you guys know, but she also has a heavy male following, 80% male following and you guys were pitching these female brand shoes. Let me explain to you why I’m going to be a better fit for your next campaign because I have 80% female audience, 60% of them live in the Los Angeles area. I have this and this. I have a website and this is how much traffic we get.” Now you know what you’re pitching. Nike is a bad example because they have a big influencer program. If you’re a company, most brands don’t know what influencers work with and most influencers don’t know how to pitch a brand.
I’m formulating a theory that I’m going to write about soon about how we’re shifting into authority-based influencers versus what we think of as social influencers. It started to occur when I started to work with more and more influencer clients coming off of Instagram, YouTube and coming into the podcasting world. It was because they were getting rejected left and right from getting TV deals and other things like other influencers where. When I started to investigate and find out what was going on there, what I was finding is that the studios were saying these influencers don’t have any loyalty to a brand of any kind or to an audience that they don’t care. They’ll talk the next thing. We need someone who very deeply knows their audience, knows it well and we want to make sure that they’ll leave and follow them.
If they don’t start a channel somewhere else or do something somewhere else, we don’t know that they do have this loyal following at the end of the day. It’s now this new litmus test for them. What they’re moving into is what you and I are always known because we started out of SEO authority to begin with that there are a digital gatekeeper and authority first and foremost. Once you get past that digital gatekeeper, now you need to be an expert. You need to have deep authority. You can express that when you can speak every single week on your show and talk about things nonstop in a particular area or people can read about that in your blogs.
The word influencer scares people. What does that mean and how do you define an influencer? Brands get nervous and influencers, “I’m not an influencer. I’m a content creator.” I have a course I’m coming out with. HowToBeAnInfluencer.com is the course. We help influencers come in and say, “Let me help you put this thing together.” At the end of the day, you have all these social platforms and that’s awesome. What’s going to happen is that Instagram can shut you down for any reason. Politically because of something you wore or whatever. You don’t own those so understand that.
If you have all of your eggs in this Instagram basket, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok or anywhere, know that you don’t own that. With your podcast, you own that. That’s the content that you own. That’s valuable. What you’re doing is the idea that podcasts and anything else is you want to drive people from your podcast to your website where you have services, where you have a money page, where you’re selling a PDF or something. A lot of influencers miss that and they don’t understand how to monetize. They shut you down and for whatever reason, like I had YouTube and this is funny. I was verified on YouTube and they sent me a thing that says, “You’re not verified anymore.” I’m like, “What?” For me, it was a little bit of an ego punch. I said, “I don’t even do YouTube videos that much.” I’m not too worried about it. For me, it wasn’t enough. I was making $100,000 a month and that affected how many people saw my video. That’s a problem. That’s money out the door.
If you focus on one social media platform, know at the end of the day, the only guarantee with Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, all these, they’re going to change your algorithm and you will have less exposure. It’s happened with Facebook. You had used to have tons of people and they went back on the algorithm. They said, “If you want that same exposure you got a month ago, you can boost your posts.” Know that the good old days will be the good old days. You have to know how to drive the traffic from those, from your podcast, from your Instagram, from your TikTok to your money page, to your website where you’re going to have your money. That’s what I’m educating influencers on.
On the other side, we have agencies and brands that I’m working with either in person eight-hour type things and different ways have to put it together. How to find influencers that has authority, you’ve touched on that. Not the influencer that is cute in a bikini and she’s got a million followers. I’m not saying there’s not a place for that because that’s great for calendar. It’s great for bikinis and all the other fun stuff, but you’re looking at it just because she has too many eyeballs. What would happen is, you have to look at like, “Is that going to be the exposure that you’re looking to get?” Their eyeballs are the right type of eyeballs. It’s defining that because that’s the biggest problem. Brands will go and pick an influencer because they have a million followers and go, “She’s beautiful. I guarantee you she’s going to sell one million handbags and it doesn’t happen.” They go, “What happened?” They go, “Influencer and marketing don’t work.” I’m like, “You worked with one girl that was a bikini model and you were like selling men’s shoes. How did you expect that to work anyways?” It’s education.
I’d love to get your take on what are you seeing as not working in the podcast industry? There are some backward practices. What’s not happening here that needs to age up and get with it?
Once again, I’m still a newbie. I don’t want to come in as like the old grandfather that’s like, “This is what they need to do. I’ve been doing podcasting for twenty years and then I’ve been doing it for twenty weeks.” It’s planning your shows out better. I talk about the distribution of it and the launch of your podcast and making sure that you’re getting the maximum amount of exposure for each of your episodes. The thing is, you can have the best podcasts in the world, but if you’re not figuring out a way that you’re going to be able to get more people to download your sessions because people will sometime naturally find you. There are more and more podcasts every day. If there were ten million, now there are fifteen million. It becomes a situation of like, how do you differentiate yourself? How do you have an entertaining podcast? How do you get more people?
How do you cross-promote with the influencers or the thought leaders, whoever you’re working with? You have to have a strategy for that. You can’t put out a podcast interview and pray that it goes well. You have to say, “After this, these are the five things that we need to do. We need to send this here. We need to distribute the content here. We’re going to use this here. We’re going to cut this piece and put it over here. Once again that it’s very easy for me to say, “This is what you need to do because I have a 36-person team. I do understand. We’ve all bootstrapped and been there and been like, I had 36 different things that I need to do and I still have to run my business and I have to do this.”
You have to look at the things that what do you need to do now to be able to start getting some traction and down the road, “If I get these many episodes or get one sponsored, I can add on this. I can ask a person to do with distribution or promotions of the podcast or something. At the beginning like anything else, read up online, get enough information to be dangerous, do it yourself and educate yourself in the process. You can go and train people and then you can have other people that we can do the outreach for you or grabbing the information about the influencer or whatever that is. You’re systemizing and putting a process in place.
Shane, thank you so much for being on the show. I appreciate it. Everyone here at the show knows that we practice high authority. You can check out Shane Barker’s Marketing Madness Podcast. You can check out the course on How To Be An Influencer. We’ll keep an eye on what’s going on with Shane because I have a feeling that we’re going to do some more things together and have some fun. There’s a good synergy going on here. Everyone, I appreciate you tuning in and reading where new and long-term podcasters have found successes. Where they are on making their mark, setting their personal brand, pulling out business monetization in some way, shape or form and using podcasting as a tool to do that. I will be back next time.
- Shane Barker Consulting
- Content Solutions
- Shane Barker’s Marketing Madness Podcast
- HowToBeAnInfluencer.com – Online Course
About Shane Barker
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.
He is the founder of Shane Barker Consulting and the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions. With over 15 years of experience in the field of SEO and digital marketing, Shane is one of the foremost thought leaders in the industry.