You’ve decided to start a podcast – Congratulations! Maybe you’ve already figured out your platform and format, contacted possible guests, and perhaps even decided on the first few episodes. But how about your marketing strategy? According to Laura Pence Atencio, you should be starting this at least 90 days prior to your launch date. Unlike the field of dreams, if you build it, listeners won’t just magically come to listen. You should be priming your prospective audience so that they’re expecting and anxiously anticipating it by the time it actually launches.
Rich: Host of the Social Savvy Geek Show and social media influencer, my next guest has a gift for creating order out of chaos, which she uses to fix broken funnels and launch new podcasts for speakers, authors, and podcasters for high ticket coaches and consultants. Known for her directness, desire to see change makers excel, and ability to communicate complicated concepts simply, she has been dubbed, “the geek liaison”.
Her ability to breakdown tech speak into common language makes her a highly sought after speaker. She is a lifelong fan of Star Wars, Capitals hockey, and a nationally ranked US Masters swimmer. I’m very happy to have on the show with me today, Laura Pence Atencio. How did I do on your name, the third time around?
Rich: Close enough. Laura, it’s nice to have you here today. Tell me a little bit about what drew you to podcasts in the first place, and how did you end up helping other people with their podcasts?
Laura: Sure. Initially I’ve been listening to podcasts for quite some time, I absolutely love them. The ability to take in information while I’m in the car driving is a huge deal to me. I used to read books and do continuing education all the time, and then I became a mama, and all of a sudden reading was something that I used to do and I felt like I was losing information.
I was listening to podcasts avidly but hadn’t really considered doing my own. But I was approached by a local radio station here in Denver who asked me to come on and do a morning talk show on a business talk radio station, and I said ‘yes’. So I did a twice weekly, hour long show. I thought I was going to have more creative control over it than I did, and it turns out that I was more building their audience than they were building mine. And the podcast portion of the show was doing awesome thanks to my marketing efforts, which the people at the radio station were just blown away. They had never seen such an aggressive content marketing strategy from anyone and they’ve been doing this a long time. So at that point I decided to go all in on podcasting and not keep the very expensive privilege of being on the radio.
Rich: You know, I have a few friends that do or have done radio shows in the past and I didn’t realize that a lot of – unless you’re Howard Stern – you’re either paying them or you’re responsible for going out and getting your own advertisers to get on terrestrial radio, correct?
Laura: Absolutely. Now I did get sponsors, very good sponsors, and my show was entirely paid for by my sponsors. And again that was largely due to the fact that I had an established social media presence and a speaking background, so I was able to get sponsors straight out of the gate before I even went on the air. But that’s not normal, I don’t think.
Rich: Laura, having just launched another podcast, called Fast Forward Maine, I’d love to know any advice you can give me on successfully launching a podcast. What do you do with your clients?
Laura: It’s much like launching a book or any other online endeavor. You need to start preparing people for the fact that your podcast is coming before you put it out there into the wild. People will call me for marketing a podcast when they’re ready to launch, and I teach a 90-day launch system. It’s 30 days of preparation, 30 days of preparing people for what you’re going to say, and then 30 days of promotion. So typically you need to start 90 days prior to when you want to launch. You can always ad hoc it at the end, but you want to treat it like it’s a business and be serious about it and give it the time that it needs so that you can actually put it out with people interested and waiting to hear it.
Rich: So I already screwed that part up. But I’m sure there are a lot of people listening in right now that have podcasts that have been going for years. How can you take a podcast that is already out of the gates and really turn up the amplification?
Laura: In that case what you would do is figure what product or service or end point that you are going to kind of launch within your podcast, and put an emphasis on that and just launch at any time. It’s never too late. So if your show is already on the air, find something about your show that you want to make a big fuss about, and create a launch around that and just follow the same system.
Rich: I’ve heard that a lot of your clients are people who are using a podcast as a platform to sell something else, or do you also have clients who are literally just in it because they want an audience, not necessarily with something in place?
Laura: I specifically work with people who are building a business around their podcast. I work with speakers and authors who are looking to get more speaking engagements and who are leading people into some sort of high ticket sales.
There are hobby podcasts – and that’s fantastic – I listen to some hat are just for fun. But my clients specifically are looking to create various streams of income and their podcast is growing their like, know, and trust, so that people really basically love them and want whatever it is that they’re offering by the time they hear about it.
Rich: So there are a lot of challenges that come to marketing a podcast, and I’ve been doing The Agents of Change for 300+ episodes at this point. But still, there are challenges in the fact that a lot of people still don’t know how to subscribe let alone listen to a podcast. What are some of the marketing or advertising techniques that you’ve seen work with your clients?
Laura: It’s funny that you say that because the new Nielsen just came out, and more people than ever are aware of a podcast, but they still don’t really know how to interact with it. And I had not really addressed that in the past, but I have plans right now as we speak to create articles about how to listen to a podcast and what specifically a podcast is. And I do recommend that everybody who has a podcast has a podcast education article or two within their blog. It doesn’t hurt to let people know that it’s free, a lot of people think you have to pay to listen. Now you can monetize and you can ask for donations, but podcasting as a general rule is free. You do not have to pay to listen.
They also think that it’s complicated to download or they don’t know what to do. So a quick little YouTube video showing them this is how you download on the iPhone, this is where you find it on Android, this is how you listen. That’s going to hurt nobody and it’s going to bring extra traffic to you from your listeners if you include something about specifically who you help in that, then your people will find you and get that answer which is nice.
Rich: Now Laura, in your bio you talk about fixing broken funnels in podcasts. I’m not even sure I was aware that I had a funnel in my podcast. Tell me a little bit more about broken funnels and how to fix them.
Laura: Absolutely. And broken funnels come in all shapes and sizes. Basically all a funnel is, is your customer’s journey from awareness to sale. However you interact with them, whether it’s a sales page or a phone call or an in-person meeting, it doesn’t matter. From the time they become aware that you exist, until the time that you get them on your phone – which is the most common way of making a high ticket sale – there’s a path that they’re following. If you’re not creating that path and leading them down it, then they’re just wandering willy nilly, it’s a broken funnel.
I find that most people – in the coaching industry specifically – have spent $50 to $100 or more – thousands of dollars – on programs learning how to create their offer, learning how to launch their podcast, creating and producing a podcast, writing a book. And what happens is they don’t know what to do with them, they don’t know how to tie all the pieces together. They don’t know how to get on the podcast and promote the book and have that lead from interest to a phone call to sell a high ticket sale.
They just don’t know how to connect the pieces, and they’ve got everything they need. They invested in programs, and most of these programs are not junk, they actually got good value from them. They have an excellent speaking topic, they’ve got their signature talk, they have all the pieces. But then when I’m talking to them they say nobody’s ever told them that before. They didn’t know that they needed to do that piece to get these out into the world. They have all the pieces, they literally don’t know what to do with them. So I come in and show the path. Here’s where this connects to that, here’s how you set it up.
Rich: And do you have a step by step process? I’m sure it varies based on who you’re working with. When somebody is listening to a podcast, I know for me a lot of times because I’m in the car there’s not much I can do right then. So how do you take somebody who’s listening to a podcast and get them to take a desired action? And I’m guessing that the desired action would be certainly filling out a contact form or picking up the phone, but even things like signing up for an email newsletter or downloading some sort of white paper. Is there a special way that you found that’s very effective to move them from that audio experience into an interactive experience?
Laura: Absolutely. And as far as is there a system, yes. There is exactly a system and process I follow to figure out what somebody needs to do. But it’s very much choose your own adventure because I don’t believe there’s one way that works for everyone. Some people want a regular 9-5 tip schedule, other people want coaching or they want to go into corporate consulting, so what they want as an end goal is different. And what they do for their primary content source varies, in this case we’re talking about a podcast.
So the most important thing to think of is that it’s not about you, it is about your audience. So if you’re thinking what does my audience need to move forward, what value can I give to them through this podcast, and give nuggets that they can actually take action on. Because mostly we’re telling the “why” and the “what”, and the “how” is what they pay for. But if you give them a tiny bit of the “how” and they can get a small win with you, then they’ll be interested in taking more action.
So part of what I do is create templates and cheat sheets and forms that people can download, and most of them are free. And if somebody is listening and you’re telling them you need to do this thing and here’s a template that will show you what’s involved in it, they will come to the website and they will download that thing. And after they have it the “do it yourselfers” are going to take that and run, they’re never going to hire you anyway. So you’ve done good there.
And the people who like to have guidance and don’t want to waste time figuring it out, they’re going to say, “I love your template, this involves all the things that I want, please show me how to use this, I want to hire you.” And the more things that you give them, the more that they want to work with you so they’re not wasting time figuring out the parts and pieces on their own.
Rich: Yeah, I completely agree. And I’d even add that a lot of time the “do it yourselfers” are the people who will refer other business to you. Because people are asking them and they’re not in the mood to help anybody out so they say why don’t you check out this podcast or this resource.
Rich: So there’s benefits to those people, too. So I guess there’s this audio pitch telling people to download this cheat sheet or that workbook or whatever it may be. Do you find that it’s good to be consistent, like every show, saying “Don’t forget to download this thing”, or different offers – not every episode – but kind of rotate through them?
Laura: I teach 9 pillars of marketing, so each one of those has a specific evergreen thing that can be downloaded, because everything that we say is repeated. I say the same thing over and over again, and sometimes people say they want to come up with something new. No you don’t. People want to hear the same thing 12-17 times for it to sink in. You just need to tell it a different way.
So I repeat the same 9 pillars, and then I have a 10th episode in my sequence that ties it all together and tells you what to do with all the stuff you just learned in the last 9 episodes. But I also put out timely downloads that are just specific to an episode. So there’s no right or wrong answer there, it’s really what works for you and what does your audience want. If they’re asking you for something, give it to them.
Rich: Right. And I guess for me and The Agents of Change podcast, part of the year we’re definitely promoting our event and we want to sell people virtual and physical passes. And then the rest of the year basically we’re looking for business for flyte. I’ve never done a great job of really reinforcing the fact that we can help people at flyte, and I just wonder if we need to create some specific Agents of Change podcast calls to action for flyte, maybe in those downloads that you mentioned.
Laura: Absolutely, yes, that’s the best plan. If you touch on specific topics in a repeated manner so that you have the same thing that you’re talking about, then you create a call to action specific around that topic. And then whenever you’re talking about that you say, “to find out more download this.”
Additionally, upload files like this into your Facebook Group where people come to get more information in a community around your podcast. And if people have questions they can hop in there and ask. Facebook Groups are hot, it is a great place to build community right now. They’re kind of replacing the forums that we used to have. Places where people want to hang out now, it’s on Facebook.
Rich: Yea, it’s funny. We have an Agents of Change Group, not specific to the podcast but specific to everything that’s Agents of Change, and I really do need to do a better job of having conversations in there and leveraging that. It will be interesting to see with all the changes going on with Facebook and how they’re promoting groups heavily, to see what direction this takes us as marketers.
Laura: It is. I’m in a big beta group that Facebook is actually paying very close attention to, and I’m one of the content creators within that Group, and I can’t begin to tell you that there’s a big focus and it’s a good place to spend some energy right now.
That is not to say that you shouldn’t have your show notes and your blog articles relates to your podcast on your website, because always lead people to your website where you control the experience. That’s just for extra support over there, and additionally we should always be focused on building our greatest asset for our business, which is our email database. It’s still the #1 driver of sales, even with chatbots and Messenger, even with everything else that’s come along. More money can be made from your email than anywhere else, so do not neglect it.
Rich: Yeah, you and I are completely in sync on that point. So you mentioned a word that I’d like to come back to, and that word was ‘seasons’. So tell me about the idea of using seasons in podcasts as opposed to just continuing to put out one episode after another.
Laura: Excellent. And again, this is one where there’s no right or wrong answer, it’s what suits your audience. So there are two types of seasons. One is seasons where your plan is to release episodes part of the year, and then not other parts of the year. And this makes sense for busy professionals like accountants or real estate agents, they have busy seasons and then they have down seasons. So if they plan to do live shows or batch in a way that they’re only releasing things in season that they’re not busy, then that season type of seasons makes sense.
And there’s a second type, which to me is just saying I’m going to do this number of episodes in a series, and then when that series ends, I’m going to cut the season. And the reason I chose to do that is, I realized that I was repeating the same 9 topics and spinning it. One season I’ll talk about launching an event, and another season I’ll focus on online course launches. And so I’m always talking about marketing and launching things, but I’m putting a different spin on it that’s specific to a situation.
And then I was like, you know, I should do a tenth episode tying this all together, and these are really seasons. So now if someone is like, “Oh gosh, I’m launching a book”, I can send them back and say, “Listen to season 3”, and they can start there and get specific information that answers their exact need. And that helps even more because not only are they getting useful information, but it’s answering their question.
Rich: I think that;s really a great idea, especially because then you can also take those 10 episodes and package them up some other way.
Rich: Ro attract people, whether it’s paid or it’s free, and download whatever you need. So, very good idea.
Laura: Yeah, repurposing content. That is the whole thing. Once you do one podcast episode, you can easily get a solid week of ne stuff and then you’re dripping it out for the next week. And if it’s evergreen and you start promoting it, you put so much time and effort into this episode, give it legs. Keep putting it out there. Just because some people have heard it doesn’t mean you can’t put it out there again. Because as your podcast grows, people will come in to the topic that interests them. So you want to keep promoting all the content that you’re putting out there. Don’t do it one and done, then you’re just wasting your time.
Rich: This is a little tricky question. Some shows obviously are stand alone with one person speaking, others are more interview, like this one. How do you balance the needs of your guests with the needs of yourself if you’re a speaker or you’re an author looking to build your own authority? How do you find that balance, or do you not worry about it and you just make your guest look as good as possible?
Laura: I don’t worry about it and I make my gust look as good as possible. And the reason for that is, my show is for my audience. And the better I serve them, the more trust I have. Even if that trust means I’m sending somebody away from myself. If that is the right answer, they need to do that. I want people who are in love with me, and I love my guests.
I don’t want to say there’s no such thing as competition, because of course there is, But it should be friendly competition. And we do live in abundance and there are enough clients for everybody. But if I have one of my friends on who is a speaker and does similar things to what I do and someone decides to go work with them, god bless them, that’s wonderful. I want everyone to do well. And oftentimes if somebody is referred to my show from me to one of my friends for something similar, they end up coming back to work with me later anyway. But even if they don’t, a rising tide raises all the ships. Your listeners will come back to you if you serve them. And if serving them means showing someone else off to the best of your ability, then that’s what you should do.
Rich: That’s perfect, love that. So how do you develop a content strategy for a podcast? If you’re working with somebody and they’ve got a book on Topic X, whatever it may be, are you pulling from the chapters? When you’re working specifically with a client who has a very specific need to develop funnels, what does that look like for you?
Laura: It really depends on the client, because that’s where the ‘choose your own adventure’ comes in. So what I want to do first is take an audit and see what does this client have, what have they already created, what gems do we take from what they already made. Because you don’t always need to be creating new things. People are on this treadmill of create new, create new, create new. But if you have stuff that’s awesome, let’s go ahead and use that and repurpose it.
So if they have a book, typically there’s 10-12 chapters, so those are episodes that you can get right out of the gate. We also look at their blog articles. A lot of people who have been in business a while have a wealth of content, so you want to start with a content audit and see what they have.
Then you have to look at their client avatar and see specifically who will they be speaking to on their show. Because most of us are really into more than one thing, and we’ve got more than one avatar, so you have to really pick one and go in on that and get the messaging right And you do all the prep work that you’d do for any other type of business, because your podcast is a business. And even if it’s part of a larger marketing strategy, it’s still just like you would not behave the same way on Facebook and LinkedIn. You have to consider your voice and your audience for your podcast specifically and make sure that it fits in to the overall scheme of what you’re creating.
Rich: Alright. Quick question, do you prefer show notes, or a full transcript?
Laura: I do show notes, but on my particular show I do full blog articles. I don’t like those show notes where it’s just, here’s what we talked about, listen here. For SEO purposes and blog article purposes, I do a full blog article for every episode. And that is not easy and it’s time consuming, but it’s well worth it, because then people can do stand alone.
I have not done transcripts. I’m considering doing transcripts just for the interviews, because that’s the only part that isn’t included in the article. I highlight the guest, I link to the stuff, I do put them in the article, but what they’re talking about isn’t pertinent to the article. So everything is a blog article and it mentions the guest and links to the site, it tells you what they’re about, about their book – which is usually of course an Amazon affiliate link, because you want to diversify your income – and then there’s no transcript of what they said, there’s just bullet points like a regular show notes.
I do think that to be in compliance with ADA laws, you’re supposed to have it so that everybody can participate. So transcripts for the interviews would make sense.
Rich: Well I’ve got a great transcriptionist, we can talk after the show. Anyways, this has been really helpful, I’ve very much enjoyed our conversation, Laura. Where can we find more about you online?
Laura: Well, you can go to socialsavvygeek.com. If you want to listen to the podcast, it’s socialsavvygeek.com/podcast, and you’ll see the most recent episodes there. And then my favorite place to connect online is Twitter, I’m @socialsavvygeek there. But I do social media management as a job so I really am on all the platforms as socialsavvygeek.
Rich: Awesome. Laura, this is great, thank you so much for your time today and come back anytime.
Laura: Awesome. Thank you so much, I’ve enjoyed it.
Laura Pence Atencio loves to help people accomplish their marketing goals as part of a process, so they’re not overwhelmed with the details. To learn how she helps businesses promote their podcasts and generate revenue streams from them, check out her own podcast and website, and definitely connect with her on Twitter and tell her you heard her on The Agents of Change Podcast.
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.