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The Business Case for Podcasts – Katie Brinkley
The Agents of Change

How can you use a podcast to build your business? Well, there’s not just one right answer. In today’s episode, we look at how to leverage podcasts for lead gen, for networking, for thought leadership, and more. Podcaster Katie Brinkley joins us to talk through great use cases for podcasting for your business with enough examples to get you started.


Rich: My guest today has been leveraging social media to grow audience’s income for over 18 years, since the time of MySpace. She’s helped her clients build a strategy to attract the right followers and generate consistent inbound leads in as little as an hour a week. Although trust me, she does not look old enough to make the MySpace claim, so I’m just putting that out there.

From building corporate level growth strategies for AT&T and DirectTV, to implementing done for you social media for soloprepreneurs and local businesses, she has been at the forefront to the changes in how buyers engage on social media. Using her platform agnostic strategies, her clients have been able to see bottom line results at every stage of the sales process.

Her history of radio journalism mixed with her social aptitude allows her to bring a unique insight and leverage her client stories to the forefront of their social strategy. And I’ll just say she’s just a great conversationalist. Every time we get each other on a Zoom call, we end up talking for a lot longer about things that we weren’t planning on talking about than we ever talk about the reasons why we originally got on that call. It’s just all-around great conversationalist. Super smart. So today we’re going to be talking about podcasts on this podcast, with podcasting expert Katie Brinkley. Katie, nice to have you on the show!

Katie: So should we do a game with this? Should we do a game about how often we say ‘podcasts’ on the podcast?

Rich: Yes. We should totally do that. And then we’ll rank number one for podcasts, because that’s how SEO works… in 1997. It’s great to have you on the show. And I know that we have had different conversations about different topics that we could cover, but we did decide that today we were going to focus just on podcasts.

You’re a big podcaster. You got back recently from presenting at Podcast Movement. I know you’ve been doing things since then, but I see you as a bit of a thought leader in this arena. First, tell me a little bit or tell us a little bit about your podcast.

Katie: Yeah, so I have three. I’ve cut it back, I used to have four. But as you said before, I come from radio. I used to be the Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies post-game reporter.

Rich: Boo! 

Katie: I know, sorry everyone. And honestly, I say ‘boo’ as well, because the Broncos are nothing to be excited about this year. But in that regard, I was fortunate enough to be the post-game reporter at one of the radio stations here in Denver, 850 KOA. And I always wanted to work in radio. I never wanted to work in newspaper or print or on tv. And I was so fortunate that I landed my dream job right after college.

And then this thing SiriusXM came out, and everyone in the radio industry panicked, including yours truly. And that’s when I moved into marketing. But now that I have a social media agency and I’ve been doing it for the past six years, I always wanted to try and find a way to get back into radio.

And so with podcasting, it was really the perfect fit for me because it allowed me to get back behind the microphone. But I was really intimidated, Rich. Even though I come from radio, I would sit in my room as a kid and do my own radio shows. That just goes to show you how cool I was growing up. But I always wanted to get back into it, but I was really intimidated because I was like, I don’t even know, where do I buy a microphone? What would I say?

And now I’ve got three different podcasts. One that I’m so honored that you joined me on, which is Rocky Mountain Marketing. I have an NFT podcast, and then I also have a mindset podcast. So I ditched the NFL podcast for this season, just because I was talking too much.

Rich: I had three podcasts, no, I had two podcasts. At one point while I’ve had a third and I brought that down, too. I just find that for me, the amount of time it takes to, to prep and post and the interview itself, plus running an agency, as you well know, it’s just a lot of time and it was something that I had to give up. I can’t even imagine how you were doing three at the same time.

Katie: Pretty crazy, and one of them is daily. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

Rich: So you and I are going to be talking about some of the different we’re both big podcast proponents, especially podcasts for marketing and for business. So we’re going to talk about some of the different ways that people can use podcasts for their business. There are, like a lot of people think there’s just one way to do it. Absolutely not. We feel that there’s a lot of benefits or a lot of approaches that you can take for podcasting. So I’m going to mention one, and then you give us some reasons why this might be effective. And maybe some strategies that podcasters or potential podcasters can use to improve their results. So are you ready for this kind of gamification of podcasting?

Katie: Let’s do it.

Rich: She’s rubbing her hands with glee right now. All right. So the first the first approach might be lead generation from the podcast guests. So how does that work and what might you do?

Katie: Yeah, and I honestly, that’s how my Rocky Mountain Marketing Podcast first started. So it was during the pandemic. I figured no better time than now. I’ve got nothing else to do. But how am I going to still meet new people? I’m sitting in my basement working from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, how am I going to meet new people to get more clients in? And this is where the podcast was everything.

I took the podcast and I used LinkedIn. So I was searching for different Denver based business owners that wanted to come on and share their story. But why would they, why did they decide to be become an entrepreneur? And honestly, it was conversations that I wanted to have. But at the same time, I wanted to meet other Denver based business owners like I would at a networking event and have the opportunity to sit down with them one on one, learn about their business, and have the opportunity to tell them a little bit about mine, hear where their struggles were for marketing. And then it was a perfect fit at the end of the call.

So depending even if you’re a realtor, I’m just going to go off the real estate kind of example. If you’re a realtor, you have an abundance of people that you could have come on your show for lead gen. And I’m not just talking about fires, I’m talking about again, local based businesses. I live in Denver, so let’s say I wanted to be known to be the downtown Denver realtor. Well, I’m going to go and try and sit down with other local businesses and have a conversation with them, hear their story and say, “Well, what made you decide that you want to stick have roots here in Denver? What do you love about the city? What kind of customers are some of your favorite that come in here?” And you’ve gotten the opportunity to have them know you. Now they feel like, yeah, that realtor’s a friend. Let’s say you own a coffee shop, and you overhear somebody saying, “Yeah, I really want to move here.” Oh, well you should listen to this podcast I was on. We talk about the coffee shop here and the realtor specializes in this neighborhood.” That is a great way to have your guest either be a potential client or become an advocate to promote you and your services.

Rich: Yeah, that’s absolutely brilliant. And I’d heard somebody else say something like this, like they basically started their podcast so they could meet potential clients. And I had never thought of approaching it that way. But it definitely is a great way. You’re giving them visibility, you’re putting them on a platform, so you know that they’re interested in marketing and getting their name out there. And this kind of ties into everything you may do as a marketer, but you don’t have to be a marketer to do this. This could work easily as well if you’re in accounting or any sort of business services, or real estate like you mentioned. Or even on the consumer side, too. So that very interesting approach. And you could create an entire podcast – as you have – specifically with this idea behind it. I’m going to get lead gen through the guest or turn my guest into referral sources. Brilliant!

Katie: Exactly. It was great too. And like I said, during Covid we all were craving for conversation. So it was a great way to still grow my network and meet other Denver based business owners. So I think even like you said Rich, no matter what your industry is if you want to meet more people in your community, having a podcast is a great way to do it.

Rich: Yeah, absolutely. And I had a podcast for a hundred episodes called Fast Forward Maine. Although that wasn’t the purpose of it, it did allow me to basically do speed dating with people in Maine, business leaders in Maine, who I probably wouldn’t have met. A few of them I did know, most of them I did not. And it was just a great introduction.

And the bottom line is, people love when you’re paying attention to them and they love the opportunity to be promoted on your show, even if it’s a small regional show. We didn’t have a lot of listeners for the podcast, but it didn’t really matter. It was the fact that we were doing it and it was a great way to just make those networking connections.

Katie: I was going to say, just one more thing on that, too. One more thing on that too, Rich, and then we’ll move on to the other ways. But I think that with you, when you have these other people, other business leaders coming on your show or other local businesses, they’re going to want to share it with their friends. “You should listen to me. I was on the podcast and I got to talk all about how I started XYZ company,” and they’re going to share it with their network. And whether they have 500 friends on Facebook or 5,000 LinkedIn connections, if they’re sharing it, it’s the opportunity for you to get put in front of their audience.

So even if they aren’t that potential client, let’s say sure enough they actually already have somebody that does my service that I offer, but now that somebody else that’s within their network goes to listen to the show and hear more about you. And they’re like, “Oh, well I actually need to have some marketing services done. I should call Rich, I loved his story. I connected with him so much on Katie’s podcast. I loved what he had to say.” And it’s absolutely, it’s a great way to expand your network from their network.

Rich: All right. So let’s move on to the second one, which is podcasting for thought leadership.

Katie: Yes.

Rich: So why is this effective, and maybe some tips around this?

Katie: So this is where for me, I wanted to try and speak on as many podcasts as I could during the pandemic. In addition to having my own, I was like, I want to try and get on some more podcasts where my ideal clients and customers are hanging out. So I guested on a lot of entrepreneurship podcasts, real estate podcasts. So I do consulting for real estate agencies, so I was trying to go to them on their show and talk about what I do. And that’s where if… I’m trying to think of another job other than being a marketer. But if you are trying to get more, let’s say you’re a mindset coach. If you’re a coach or a consultant, you absolutely should have podcast guesting as part of your strategy, and finding other shows that you can guest on.

There’s a number of tools out there that you can use other than a podcast agency, there’s software. One of my favorites is Pod Match. It’s like match.com, but for podcast hosts and their guests. But it allows you the opportunity to position yourself as the authority for your ideal clients and customers. And you have a great conversation with someone, and again, the host of the show could end up being a potential client because you’ve put yourself in front of them for the past 30 to 45 minutes.

Rich: That’s all great advice. So your focus on this one is more of being a podcast guest. I’d also say that just being the host of a podcast is also a great way of building up your thought leadership. Either because if it’s an interview show, you’re curating all this content. So a lot of people think that I’m a digital marketing expert because of all the people that I get to hobnob with – people like you – and there’s a certain affinity, there’s a certain osmosis that goes on. So you must know what you’re talking about if you’re hosting these people.

 Katie: 100%.

Rich: And the other option is, even though I don’t do a lot of these solo episodes or a solo podcast where you’re the only person speaking, I know Amy Porterfield. A lot of her early episodes were standalone episodes. I have a client who is a leadership coach and trainer, and most of his episodes are him just talking about different strategies that are in his book. And he also does interviews, but that’s it. So great opportunity for thought leadership.

He actually has a link to his most recent podcast in his signature file, which you see quite a bit. But I’ve also seen him send out emails to prospects and say, “What we were talking about, I actually did a deep dive into in this episode, so check it out if you want to”, with a link to that specific episode as well.

Katie: Okay. So what you just said, for people that could see me here, I just about jumped outta my seat when you said that. Because it’s so true. If you have a podcast, you have a content generating machine. You’re never going to run out of blog posts, stuff to talk about in your email, social media posts, video clips, audio clips. There’s so much. And I think that a lot of people get wrapped up in, “Oh, I need to talk for an hour” or even, “I can’t talk to myself for 30 minutes.” Rich, you just said having a solo show, but you don’t need to have a 30-minute show.

So Joe Pulizzi. I listened to his podcast the other morning. Every Monday he has a five-minute-long podcast. It’s five minutes of him talking by himself. Anyone can talk by themself for five minutes about something that they do for their business. If you don’t, you need to take a step back. Because, I don’t know. Whether it’s how you plan your day and use a scheduler, how you effectively answer your emails, only one time a day so that you can be more productive with other tasks.

There are so many things that you could talk about just for five minutes. And again, when you show up in those solo episodes, you have the opportunity to talk, get directly in your client, your ideal customer’s ears. And there’s a power be behind voice. When you hear someone speak, it really is an intimate experience. People feel like they know, like, and trust you.

If you hear, as you said before, Amy Porterfield if she’s reading a book. Or Mindy Kaling, I listened to her book on tape. I thought she was hilarious on The Office, but when I listened to her book on tape, I felt like I really got to know her. And now I have a whole new affinity for how she’s gotten to where she is in Hollywood. I probably never would’ve watched The Mindy Project, because I feel like I know her. I feel like she’s a friend of mine now just because I listened to her speak. So 100% agree on that thought leadership of you just sitting down and trying to take the time to speak to your audience.

Rich: All right. Let’s move on to number three, which I have down is networking and prospecting and partnerships. So obviously these five are going to have some overlap, and there is going to be some overlap with the first two. But when it comes to networking, prospecting, and partnerships, what is some reason why podcasting can be so effective here? And then again, if you have any tips about how to really make it work for somebody, I’d love to hear.

Katie: Yeah. So like you said, we touched on this earlier. When you have a guest that comes on your show, you’ve expanded your network. And me sitting down and talking with you moved our relationship a long way more than if I were to sit and hang out in your DMs for a week on LinkedIn and just be like, “Yeah, so I see that you do this. How’s Maine? How are the puffins?” 

So with any of that, if you have the opportunity to sit down and speak with someone, they’re going to want to refer business to you. Maybe you don’t need to do business with this person directly, but we’ve already had this conversation. She knows so much about X, Y, Z. Or Joe, I sat down and had him on my podcast. He’s had his mechanic shop for the past 30 years and he actually started with it. You already know so much more about them, so it grows your network. And it really allows the relationship to move along faster than it would just through email, and really faster than it would if you were at a networking event because there’s so many other things going on. Who else am I going to go talk to? I grabbed a card from someone, but I don’t really remember what it was that made them so unique. So when you have that opportunity to sit down with them one-on-one on a podcast, it expands your network a lot faster.

Rich: Absolutely. And again, going back to the Fast Forward Maine podcast, I think that was one of the big benefits for me is there were definitely people who we brought on to the show. Because the first 70 episodes or so it was co-hosted, and then the other person moved on. I finished up the last 30, but there were people from the community who I made a connection with and then that led to either business or it led to collaborating on something, or me bringing them into a project or vice versa. So there are a lot of those type of opportunities that just wouldn’t have happened through any other way. But in part because of Covid and the fact that you could record podcasts remotely, and in part because originally that one was an in person was the only time I would bring people into a studio and we would meet together. But these were ways that really fast tracking some relationships inside the Fast Forward Maine community. So I 100% agree that this can be a very powerful method.

So going into the back nine, so to speak, although I’ve only got five lead generation from the audience, why are podcasts effective for this and how can we make them even better?

Katie: Oh man. So this is so much fun. I don’t normally get to come on and just dive into podcasting Rich, so thanks for bringing me on for this. I think that when you have that opportunity to get in front of your ideal clients. I think that when you have that opportunity to get in front of your ideal clients. Like I said, I was doing a lot of guesting on different real estate podcasts. And so I guested on the Bigger Pockets podcast once, and the guests of that weren’t my ideal client, but the audience was. And so that’s where I showed up, gave value, and I’ve gotten in front of my ideal clients and customers and had the opportunity to really give them actionable steps that they could implement. And they’re like, “Hey, this worked. I want to go ahead and do business with them. I want to look at their website.”

And additionally, so for me and my podcast, in addition to having my guests show up in the show notes, they get their own page on my website. And that’s their name, that’s SEO for the guest. Anytime someone wants to go ahead and Google “Rich Brooks”, they’re probably going to see a whole bunch of your episodes in your social media. But then if they scroll then, what’s this Rocky Mountain Marketing? And then they might click on that and see you there. So it helps you with SEO and it gives you that opportunity again to be seen in front of your ideal clients and your ideal customers.

Rich: Absolutely. And for me, when I think about lead generation from the audience, that is certainly not the whole reason I do Agents of Change, but that is one of the benefits of doing Agents of Change. And if you’re listening right now and you haven’t hired me, why haven’t you? No, I’m just kidding.

Katie: But really, why haven’t you hired Rich? He’s brilliant.

Rich: So for the lead gen from the audience, I mean if you are putting out a consistently valuable product, teaching people so that they understand what’s going on, whether they’re going to do it themselves or whether they’re going to hire somebody else, but this really establishes you as the expert. So again, it’s a little bit of thought leadership here. But then having maybe some call to action at the end or some other way of starting that relationship with people.

I’ve told this story before, but the short version of this is when I decided that sponsorships weren’t for me and weren’t for the Agents of Change podcast, there just wasn’t enough money to make it worth my time and effort. And I was wondering, is there a way to monetize this within a week? I got a lead from the podcast. Somebody shared the podcast on Twitter. We started a conversation. It led to phone calls, it led to meetings. Ultimately, we got the business. It’s led to over $100,000 worth of business from that one client. If I never got another stitch of business from the podcast, it’s paid for itself. It generated all that revenue force.

So lead gen from the audience is a great reason why you should be doing this. And I think it’s a reason why businesses are interested in it, the marketing aspect, the legion aspect of it. And so if you’ve got your own podcast, maybe there’s a call to action at the end to do something with you, or maybe there’s a download or something.

And again, being a guest on other people’s podcasts like we both also do, is another one. If you have a free gift at the end, you can drive people to that download. “Oh, here’s the five things we talked about today, and I’ve got a cheat sheet for all of them, and you just go to this domain slash this podcast and download them all.” And of course there’s an email registration. So there’s a lot of opportunities if you go down that route just by hosting or by guesting on different podcasts.

Katie: Yeah. And I think that Rich, with that too, you have the opportunity to change it at the end. If you have a show and you’re like, “Hey, actually I really want people to know about the event because we’re about five months out, but I want people to start generate…” Well, you can just go ahead and do a little ad at the end of your show and just place it in there. So at the end of every single episode, that ad for the event is going to be playing. And then after the event’s over, okay take it off. When you have your own show, you have the capability to be your own sponsor, to promote, to generate your own revenue.

And like you said too, it has allowed me, like my podcast has shifted a little bit since I first launched it from bringing on the Denver based entrepreneurs. To now I bring on people in the industry I really appreciate, that I look up to, I find valuable. And it allows me to sit down and talk to them one on one and have a conversation about questions that I’ve had for a while, or I just really want to dive deep with you on that presentation you gave at the event. Can we talk more about that? And then you can have the opportunity to sit down with some amazing thought leaders and pick their brain. You get the benefit of creating that relationship with them, and your audience is like, “Wow, I can’t believe that they brought in this person and got to talk to them. That was so valuable. I want to learn more about what Rich does and what his business is about, because I learned a lot.”

Rich: So you basically answered the fifth one, but I’m going to ask it anyways. You can add to it. The fifth one was getting great ideas from the experts. So you of already answered it, but if you have anything more to add or ways to really maximize your results when it comes to this, let me have it.

Katie: Yeah. And so I think that I even told you this after you came on my show is, I’ve listened to you, to this podcast for a while, and I’ve seen you speak on stage and we’ve spoken on stage together. And it was then when I was like, “Will you come on my show?” And for me, I was able to have somebody that I admired in the industry, I thought gave value on a regular basis. I listened to the show, and I was gaining value, and I just wanted to see if you would be willing to come onto my show. And we were able to have a one-on-one conversation and build our relationship together.

So I think that when you have a podcast, it allows you to have access to people that you might not typically have access to. And it allows you to build a relationship with people that you might, again, not have typically have access to. I could come up to you at the end of an event and be like, “Thanks so much. That was great.” And then that would be that. Right? But now, we’ve created a connection and our network has, for both of us, has expanded.

Rich: Absolutely. And so this was not the reason I got into podcasting, but I quickly discovered how powerful this aspect of it could be. There were times when I would have a client and they would come to me and ask a question, and it was something that I might not have an answer for. I could Google, but there are other times where I’m like, it’s so nuanced, or I really need extra help here.

And one of the ones was on reputation management, not a service we really offer at flyte, at least directly. But I reached out to my network. I said, who’s the voice I should be talking to here? And I got one and brought him on the show. And then I turned around to the client and I said, “Hey listen, you asked a great question. I felt it was beyond my area of expertise. Here’s this guy and he has all the answers. Basically, I just asked all the questions you would’ve asked me, so basically this podcast was for you.”

So things like that. And that man may never have picked up the phone if I had just reached out to him, unless I was paying him for his time. But suddenly it’s like I give him a platform, and it’s unfortunate that it feels like a tit for tat, but a lot of relationships are, we’re both providing value. So I provided the value of the podcast and the audience, and he provided the value of his knowledge and expertise, and it was a great trade.

And in other cases, like you and me, we just like each other. So it’s just fun to get an excuse to come on the air together. But it is a great way to tap into expertise that you may not have yourself, so that you can either grow your professional or personal life, you can help your audience grow as well, and you’re giving that person a platform which might lead to more business for them, which is a good thing as well. So I think there’s a lot of opportunities there, and that’s one of my favorite side benefits of having the podcast, is just having that. I dunno if people still use the word ‘Rolodex’ anymore, but that Rolodex of experts at your fingertips. And because of that, like I said earlier, I brought in experts to sit in with clients when we come against, when we come up against a really sticky situation or something we haven’t run into before. “Hey, I’ve got an expert on Instagram reels, let me see if I can bring them into this conversation.” So it’s been beneficial for both sides.

Katie: Yes. And Rich, I think that too, a lot of people might feel that are listening to this might be like, okay, well that’s all sunshine and rainbows. But at the same time, it still sounds really intimidating. And it doesn’t need to be intimidating. It’s not a ton of equipment. We’re both sitting in our offices having this conversation. You don’t need a studio. Will it sound better? Sure. But at the same time, I think that there’s so much great equipment out there. It’s not going to cost you a fortune just to get started. So if that’s your biggest hold up, there’s a lot of a very affordable tools. Air Pods even sound great if that’s what gets you started is just talking with an Air Pod. That’s what I tell a lot of my guests who come on the show. As long as you got a good mic, that’s all I care about. So don’t let that be what holds you back from going into the world of podcasting or being a podcast guest.

Rich: Yeah, absolutely. And I would say, the mic is maybe the only piece of equipment you really want to think about. And when I first started, I started with a $30 mic. I’ve since graduated. Because as you start to spend, it’s like any hobby, right? The more time you spend in it, you’re like, wouldn’t it be cool if I could also do this or get this, or whatever. But when I first started, I think it was like a $30 Houser, whatever, so USB port headset. I was on a podcast with John Lee Dumas, and he told me my sound was great. That was a while ago.

But the bottom line is, it’s good enough. And so if you can’t invest $30 in your business, you may have some other problems, but that hopefully under $50 for a decent headset is great. And then it just comes down to there’s probably free software on your computer where you could do the post-production content, or there are very affordable services out there. This is not an affiliate link or an affiliate mention, but I use a company called Barevalue, and they take care of all of my post-production needs, and they’ve been fantastic. I’m not getting a cut of that. I just think they do a great job. And we can do it in house. And I’ve done it myself, but I just find it to be easier.

So don’t let your lack of time, don’t let your lack of money get in the way. If you think that podcasting is going to help you develop thought leadership, generate leads, create partnerships, or just a venue for getting great advice from the experts.

Katie: Couldn’t have said it better myself. I think that’s so true. And the mic is only one part of it, and you can only go up from here. Podcasting is a great way to build out your network. And like I said earlier, there’s something unique about hearing someone speak and having a conversation with them. So just be willing to expand your network and grow.

Rich: Sounds great. This has been fantastic Katie, and I always love any excuse to see you and talk with you. If people want to connect with you, where can we send them?

Katie: Yes. I’m on social media, so feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn, I’m @KatieBrinkley there. And then on Instagram I’m at @IamKatieBrinkley.

And be sure to check out Rich when he was on my show on Rocky Mountain Marketing. We had a great discussion about finding your brand and your business’s remarkability.

Rich: Awesome. So we’ll have all those links as always in the show notes. Katie, thank you so much and we’ll have you back on to talk about NFTs or anything else we might want to talk about.

Katie: Sounds good to me.

Show Notes: 

Katie Brinkley is a social media strategist, marketing coach, speaker and consultant – which gives her plenty of content to discuss on one of the many podcasts she hosts! Definitely check out her marketing podcast (which Rich Brooks was recently a guest on), and connect with her on LinkedIn and Instagram for the latest insights and tips.

Rich Brooks is the President of flyte new media, a web design & digital marketing agency in Portland, Maine, and founder of the Agents of Change. He’s passionate about helping small businesses grow online and has put his 20+ years of experience into the book, The Lead Machine: The Small Business Guide to Digital Marketing.