John Jantsch: Is podcasting for you? Well, the simple answer is yes, but maybe not for the reasons that you think. In this episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I speak with Rob Greenlee. He is a longtime podcaster and happens to head up content at Spreaker.com, a podcast publishing platform and we talk about the many reasons you might want to start a podcast that have nothing to do with podcasting or being a podcaster. There are some tremendous business reasons for creating awareness, for building trust, for generating leads and yes, converting leads. Check it out.
Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is Jon Jantsch and my guest today is Rob Greenlee. He is currently the Head of Content at Spreaker.com, a podcast publishing platform. Of course he is a podcaster in his own right, so guess what we’re going to talk about today? Podcasting. Rob, thanks for joining me.
Rob Greenlee: It’s great to be here, Jon. Thanks for the invite.
John Jantsch: So podcasting is huge now. I always laugh. It came out right after blogging, it was kind of hot and then social media just killed it because everybody got into that, and now everybody wants to be a podcaster. What do you suppose is behind that?
Rob Greenlee: I just think it’s been a slow brewing pot of coffee that’s had a low burner warming the water. If you’ve ever heard of the concept of boiling frogs, but that’s not quite the right analogy here, but it seems like that the industry’s been slowly growing over the 12 years that it’s been around.
We just have hit some inflection points over the last couple years with content that has really kind of pushed things into the, well, somewhat into the stratosphere as far as around content production and people’s awareness of podcasting seems to be kind of growing at a faster rate right now. Though I would say based on the numbers that I see it’s not like a hockey stick growth, but the growth in people’s desire to listen to the content and people’s desire to create terrific podcast content has really never been higher. So it’s good times for podcasting.
John Jantsch: Yeah, I think you’re right. Obviously everybody’s saying content, content, content so that means okay, different forms of content if we’re going to do that, but I also, I read a really, I’m not going to get the statistics just right, but a report on the industry as a whole. I want to say it was something like 25% of the people who said they listened to podcasts listen to eight hours a week. Somebody’s sitting around with some headphones on mowing their grass or something, right?
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, that’s certainly what we see in the data is that people that listen to radio typically listen to, they haven’t gotten caught up into podcasting yet, listen to a lot of radio, but people that start to listen to podcasts start to listen to less and less radio. They listen to more and more podcasts because you know what? They get what they want with podcasts.
Radio you kind of don’t have a choice really. You have a little bit of choice, but you typically are pretty passive in your control of your listening experience, where podcasts put you in the driver’s seat. You’re driving your experience. There’s still a lot of people out there that aren’t really comfortable driving their experiences yet, but more and more it’s kind of a generational shift.
John Jantsch: So at Spreaker, obviously we’ll talk a little about the platform itself, but one of the things it does is it exposes you to lots of podcasts and lots of types of podcasts I’m guessing.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah.
John Jantsch: Talk a little bit about how you have seen, and obviously you can use your own experience as well, but how you’ve seen people using podcasts not just as a podcaster to build a radio show and an audience, but just in ways that maybe enhance their business in general.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. I’d say that one of the foundations of this medium and really where it started in a lot of ways is around people building credibility for their careers and people having expertise that they bring to a podcast program that adds value to other people’s lives and their careers. People have started to build businesses around and based on their podcasts. There’s a lot of ways that podcasting can be a benefit.
A lot of people are focusing on monetization. Well, monetization can happen in a variety of ways. It can happen through helping you grow your consulting business or your speaking tours that you do to get paid for speaking or to sell a book or to do lots of different things that you might want to do in your career. Maybe even just building your credibility as a marketing expert as a search engine optimization expert or whatever and sharing your knowledge and proving to people that you can bring value to them. I think that’s the big, big value that I think a lot of people can get from podcasts.
John Jantsch: Well, and something that I’ve been preaching for a long time, I kind of jokingly say that when I started my podcast I didn’t care how many listeners I had. It was sort of a way for me to get to talk to people I wanted to talk to.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, exactly. That’s true.
John Jantsch: My first book had cover blurbs by Guy Kawasaki and Seth Godin, people that had I sent them an email and said, “Hey, I’d like to pick your brain for 20 minutes,” I wouldn’t have got much of a reply. But when I sent them an interview that said, “Hey, I want to interview …” I’m sorry, sent them an email that said, “I want to interview you for 20 minutes about your new book,” all of a sudden we’re on the phone talking to each other. That led to a relationship.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. It creates a win-win …
John Jantsch: Exactly.
Rob Greenlee: … situation between both sides. The host of the podcast gets a terrific guest and the guest gets some additional exposure for his career or his business or something like that. There’s a value exchange there that makes sense to a lot of people. Back in the early days when I first started doing this I was doing it on the radio, and you can probably associate with this because I know you’ve done that too, that a lot of people needed to know that you were on the radio.
This was back in the early days of podcasting because there was a perception of value with the radio side. But now I would say that things have somewhat flipped on that. I think people perceive greater value in getting on podcasts than they do on radio these days. I don’t know if you would agree or not.
John Jantsch: Well, you look at a lot of podcasts out there, they probably have more listeners than your small AM morning drive radio quite frankly …
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, that’s true.
John Jantsch: … anymore. I think the other thing that’s really, when you start seeing basically content, entire books and serials of content being produced that are extremely popular and you start seeing NPR moving probably as much content now through the podcast channel as they do in some of the markets that they’re in, all of a sudden it really legitimizes the idea of podcasting really being every bit as potent as radio, but maybe clearly more democratized.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, it’s really turned in … Well, let me back up. It’s really turned radio into an on-demand medium is what it has. That’s the big transition that we’re going through right now. Look at what happened to music and TV and movies. Podcasts were a little slow to pick that trend up, but I think like you were saying earlier, we are definitely in a curve now where it’s podcasting’s time, right?
John Jantsch: Yeah. Well, so let’s talk about inside the marketing mix because I think a lot of, again, there are lots of examples of people that have started podcast business, that that’s, they want to build a readership, they want to get downloads, they want to get sponsors, affiliate deals, all that.
But I think there’s a really strong reason to consider part of the marketing mix for a business where maybe you have no intent to get lots of listeners or sponsors, but it is a great way for you to create awareness, to build trust, to become known. Maybe to even get access to say the most important thinkers in your community. So what’s your feeling on some of the most effective ways to build it into the marketing mix?
Rob Greenlee: Well yeah, I think you need to really think about as part of your content marketing mix too. I think a lot of companies use videos and use for training or for giving demos of what they do, but podcasting is like an extra dimension, right? It’s a way to provide some level of maybe some customer support to your customer base if you happen to have a base of customers that you’re trying to appeal to. It can also help educate your customers about the unique aspects of your perspective in a particular marketing area or business to drive a perceived and actual level of value.
Then making those personal connections, which is kind of like if you think about podcasting as a sales relationship, I think you can really make a strong case for it that you’re building relationships. A lot of sales today is relationship-based. You can’t just make something and sell it these days. You have to actually build a relationship, build trust and build contacts. Podcasts enable you to do all those things. As long as you can target and reach the audience that you’re trying to reach with your business through your podcast, then it’s a win-win across all of your kind of more tactical strategies to grow your business.
John Jantsch: I think that that, and video of course does a great job of this, but somebody hears your voice and they get familiar with it. I can’t tell you how many times people have come up to me at conferences and said, “I knew that was you. I heard your voice and it’s in my head all the time.” There’s already that relationship built.
I had somebody hire me for next February for an event, to speak at an event. They said, “I’ve been listening to your podcast for years.” I don’t necessarily look at it as I’m going to sell stuff from my podcast, but I guarantee you it has been responsible for, over the course of my career, millions of dollars worth of business.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. It creates that personal relationship that you need. People like to buy things from people. They don’t like to buy things necessarily from companies. They like to buy things from people, especially people that they trust. Podcasts is a great way to do that. Now you’re not going to reach all your customers through your podcast, but if you’re consistent about it and you’re making sure that it’s included as an option in maybe your marketing materials and in your communications with your customer base, you can more and more get those people into the mix of listening to your program if they have a real strong value reason to do so and build a deeper customer relationship with that customer.
Especially if you have a way for them to communicate with you via email or leaving a voicemail message for you or with a question or a comment about what you’re talking about in your podcast, it’s terrific.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think you make a great point. Sometimes people think well, I’ve got this and that. I don’t need to add another way for people to find out about me, but you know I learned a great lesson about podcasting really or just the fact that people like to listen or people like to consume content the way they like to consume content.
Every time one of my new books would come out, for whatever reason the audio book was always a couple weeks later and I would get emails from people saying, “Hey, when’s the audio book coming out because that’s the only way I’m going to read this book?” I think that’s podcasting really is a lot that way too. There are some people that that’s the only way you’re going to reach them.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. People spend a lot of time in their cars. Traffic jams are bigger than ever these days and it’s a way for them to be more efficient with their time too. Listening while you’re doing something else, there’s a lot of listening opportunities that people have with audio, more so than they do with video and even with the written word, so really, it takes concentration. Both written and video is a very visual medium. Well, you can do other things while you’re listening.
John Jantsch: Yeah, yeah. I think the portability of a podcast or of audio content is really one of the things that’s made it so strong. All right, so we’ve been hammering home this. I think we’ve made the point of why you should be podcasting. Let’s talk a little bit about from your experience some of the ways to do it right because it’s not simply a matter of just rambling on for a while into a microphone. It’s not terribly complicated either, but I think there are ways to do it right. Would you agree?
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. I think that there’s some core concepts and principles around formats and frequency and how you present your program I think is important. Format is a very important one. I think it gets back to a lot of issues that you need to decide around you as a content creator and your capabilities and also just your ability to sustain a podcast over the longterm because doing a podcast is what I like to call, it’s more of a marathon run. It’s not a sprint, so some people like to think of podcasting as a sprint, which is basically an analogy towards these seasons and like the serial, that kind of stuff.
But most podcasts are like marathon runs. You do it every week for 500 episodes, kind of like what you’ve done. That’s what it’s all about. That’s how you build longterm relationships with your listeners. It’s not creating a season of 12 episodes and then dropping out for two months. That’s not the best way to do it.
John Jantsch: Yeah. I think that obviously there’s some equipment involved, there’s some technology like Spreaker or Libsyn or your hosting or maybe something to do with your WordPress plugin so you kind of have to get that all set up, but then I think it comes down to actually creating sort of a process or a routine. At least that’s what made kind of made mine work where it was just part of a process and not necessarily a chore that I went, “Oh crap, I have to do that again this week.”
Rob Greenlee: That is the danger and a lot of people fall into that trap and pod fade is the term they use to describe that, where you start out because you weren’t really prepared or you didn’t really figure out all of the details about how you were going to sustain this podcast. A lot of people just run out of things to talk about after about seven or eight episodes.
So I think you need to really think about how you can sustain this podcast, what’s your content creation process. Is your topic too narrow? What are your goals and objectives? You don’t have to be that defined about it, but at least get it in your mind of how you’re going to be able to fit this into your life over the longterm because doing it in the short term isn’t going to bring you the results that you probably would like to have.
John Jantsch: Yeah. I think that the keyword there was objectives because a lot of times what I see people doing is just trying saying, “Oh well …” I’ll throw out a name, “John Lee Dumas is Entrepreneurs On Fire. He’s got a podcast. He’s podcasting every day and so I guess that’s what I need to do.”
Again, John’s objectives might be terribly, terribly different than say a lawyer who wants to become known for a certain thing in their town. But the podcasting route I think can be equally beneficial.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, and he has, that lawyer you’re talking about, has customers that he has to work for, right? John Lee Dumas is doing his podcasts as really a full-time thing, so he does some podcast consulting on the side, but it depends on what your goals are. If your goal is to build a business, you still need to have time to work your business, not just create a podcast.
John Jantsch: Well, and that’s where I tell people about every kind of platform. If you’re looking at something and thinking gosh, everybody’s podcasting. Should I do it? I always tell people if you can find a way to better serve your customers then it’s a no brainer. I think that’s how you need to start from an objective standpoint.
So we talked a little bit about format and consistency and obviously those are pieces that are going to probably align with your objectives. Talk a little bit about what’s your basic setup? If somebody came to you and said, “Rob, send me a box with the stuff in it that I need to podcast,” what would be in that box?
Rob Greenlee: Well, I think that the big thing that you need to really think about is obviously how are you going to record this podcast. How much money are you willing to spend in equipment? You can get started for really inexpensive. There’s free software out there. Spreaker’s got free software that allows you to record, bring in Skype calls, all kinds of stuff, and it’s available on Windows, Mac and Android and iOS.
Just go out and get a fairly inexpensive microphone, a USB microphone. A great microphone is the Audio Technica ATR 2100. It’s like 79, 80 bucks, plugs right into your computer and you’re good to go. It’s really as simple as that. You really don’t need a whole lot of equipment to do this. I would get started very inexpensively because you may find that this isn’t for you and that it’s not going to work out.
You don’t have time in your life, but start out modest, but that would be a terrific place to start. It’s going to have good audio quality and that’s a big, big boost for you if you can keep your costs down. You can always get a more powerful or a better microphone or a high end mixer and a sound compressor if you want in the future if you’re finding this to be a successful thing for you, but that would be the next big thing that I would focus on.
John Jantsch: Yeah. I would qualify for maybe mid-range myself. I am on an AT 2035, but I do run it through a two channel mixer. I’ve probably got $300 maybe wrapped up in that. It does take it up a notch, but it’s not required, so I totally agree with you. There are a lot of people that are running directly into digital recorders as well. As you said, there’s so many easy ways to get started.
I would say the investment you should make maybe is in the microphone just because you’re talking about an audio program. The audio ought to sound good.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. No, I agree. Though it is possible to record a good audio program on your iPad or on your iPhone, just get a good quality microphone that plugs into it.
John Jantsch: That’s right.
Rob Greenlee: You can use that as your recorder as well, so you may have mostly what you need in your pocket right now.
John Jantsch: Yeah, that’s pretty amazing. That darn iPhone just keeps getting better and better. Tell us a little bit about, give us the high level of Spreaker, what it is and what it does.
Rob Greenlee: Okay. Spreaker is primarily an audio distribution and recording platform. We basically provide all of the software that you would need to broadcast or stream a live audio show, all the tools that you need for that and then also to record it and publish it as a podcast. So you basically can do a live audio show and have that live audio show become a podcast automatically in your feed that appears in like iTunes. So we have listening apps as well, so you can get a custom listening app for your podcast, but Spreaker also has their own listening apps that are comparable in capability to like a Stitcher or whatever.
They’re high end playlists, curated lists, have mostly complete catalog of content. But the big thing is podcasting is the focus of Spreaker. We’re trying to create a terrific on-demand audio experience so you can even get web embed-able players and put them into your website so you can be in full control of how you publish your audio program on the platform, not unlike a Libsyn or a Blueberry or any of these. But I think the big difference with Spreaker is we provide you free audio recording and live streaming software and then also just the live capability. If you want to have a live program, there’s really only a couple places to go.
Spreaker’s one of those place. We do a terrific job of supporting all of the common characteristics and features of a terrific podcast hosting platform like a Libsyn. We have very comparable type of capabilities like auto-sharing to YouTube and Facebook and Twitter and all of your typical like Sonos and I Heart Radio and all this kind of stuff. So you want to get your show out to all those, plus obviously iTunes and Stitcher and those kinds of places as well.
John Jantsch: Tell me a little bit about the live broadcast. Are you finding that to be, it’s probably popular because it’s unique, but are you finding that to be a good way for people to distribute?
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, I think depending on the kind of program you want to have. I think that this gets back to your goals as a content producer. Some people like to produce a live program because it enables audience engagement and connection with your program. There are shows on the platform that are just live streaming shows. Some of them don’t even put their shows out as podcasts, so that’s the spectrum that’s on the Spreaker platform.
We have other programs that are just podcasts that mostly get downloads, but then there’s a lot of programs that just get a huge amount of plays. Their audience comes in and engages with them and posts a large amount of comment and the community is talking with each other on the platform while the show’s going on. It kind of depends on what kind of show you want to produce.Spreaker gives you all of the tools to create whatever show that you’re looking for, so before you pick a broadcast hosting platform I would look at the kind of show you want to produce and then go find the platform that basically gives you the capabilities that you want to do to produce the show that you want to make because every platform’s a little different and what they focus on and what their qualities are and Speaker’s a terrific option if you want to go and have all of these options available to you in an easy way that can also enable mobile recording too. So our apps also work with iPhone and Android so you can mobile record, live
Spreaker gives you all of the tools to create whatever show that you’re looking for, so before you pick a broadcast hosting platform I would look at the kind of show you want to produce and then go find the platform that basically gives you the capabilities that you want to do to produce the show that you want to make because every platform’s a little different and what they focus on and what their qualities are and Speaker’s a terrific option if you want to go and have all of these options available to you in an easy way that can also enable mobile recording too. So our apps also work with iPhone and Android so you can mobile record, live stream off your iPhone or your Android device as well as your Mac and Windows computer.
John Jantsch: So not asking you to disparage one or another, but how would you say Spreaker compares to say Blog Talk Radio?
Rob Greenlee: Well, I think we’re very similar. The platform has similar capabilities. Blog Talk has podcasting abilities, it has monetization abilities. I think that the big difference is that Spreaker really focuses on audio quality. Not that Blog Talk hasn’t or doesn’t today, but they do have a reputation for having a little less audio quality because they early on turn on the ability for people to create programs off of cell phones.
So you would call a landline essentially or a cell phone call and a lot of content producers were producing audio over their cell phones. We all know how bad the audio quality is on cell phone calls these days. So that was an issue for them that gave them a little bit of a bad reputation. We didn’t give that loaded gun to content producers. We really stuck to our guns around enabling high quality production. The only time we take outside callers into our system is through Skype, which typically can produce pretty good audio quality and all of our shows stream and encode at 128K, so the audio quality is really important to us.
John Jantsch: Great. Tell us where obviously Spreaker, although I imagine you have to spell it frequently .com, but tell us a little bit more about how people can check out what you’re up to.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah, so Spreaker is at Spreaker with an R, so it’s like speaker but we add a little R in there because we want to be a listening as well as a speaking platform or a publishing platform. I can be found at RobGreenlee.com. I also have a live show that I do for Spreaker not unlike what we’ve been talking about called the Spreaker Live Show and it’s basically a show doing exactly what we’ve been talking about here, basically supports the content creation community that uses Spreaker to offer tips and advice and help and also, a resource for questions and answers from our creators out there.
We tell people about new features and capabilities of the platform. That’s at SpreakerLiveShow.com. I also do another live show every week called The New Media Show. It’s at NewMediaShow.com. I do that with the CEO of [Rob Voice Blueberry 00:26:53]. That actually runs the PowerPress Plugin for WordPress. Todd Cochran and I do that show together. We’ve been doing it together for many years, talking about the podcasting space and the industry and what’s happening in the medium. We do that every Saturday morning at 9AM Pacific Standard time at NewMediaShow.com.
John Jantsch: You know, I applaud you because the reason I got out of radio is because they wanted me there at the same time every week, and frankly I love doing three shows and then sending it off to editing and they run it when they run it, you know?
Rob Greenlee: Yeah.
John Jantsch: But the live, like you said, I do live webinars and other events and there is something about that where you can get questions answered live and whatnot that people do still want to tune into, so I applaud you. Rob, thanks for joining us today and chatting about podcasting and hopefully next time I’m in the Northwest maybe I can drop in and be on your show.
Rob Greenlee: Yeah. Well, we can always do something over Skype, right?
John Jantsch: That’s right, absolutely.
Rob Greenlee: All right, Jon, well, thank you so much for having me on your program. Good luck with your podcast too.
John Jantsch: Thank you. Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. I wonder if you could do me a favor. Could you leave an honest review on iTunes? Your ratings and reviews really help and I promise, I read each and every one. Thanks.