Podcast

Episode: 402 |
Jonathan Baillie Strong:
B2B Podcasting:
Episode
402

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Jonathan Baillie Strong

B2B Podcasting

Show Notes

Jonathan Baillie Strong is a B2B podcast strategist and the founder of Spotlight Podcasting, a company that helps consulting firms and mission-driven companies build more authority and grow their businesses with podcasting. Today, he shares insights from the world of podcasting from pre-production to promotion. 

You can learn more about Spotlight Podcasting at www.spotlightpodcasting.com, and you can connect with John through Linkedin, or his personal website jonbstrong.com

Key points include:

  • 00:29: Helping Tim Ferris launch his podcast
  • 05:17: How podcasting has helped consultants connect with clients
  • 09:23: The process of developing and launching a podcast
  • 12:26: A podcast production checklist
  • 20:41: The fee structure of a podcast production agency

 

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:01
Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host Will Bachman. And I’m excited to be here today with Jonathan Bailey strong, who runs spotlight media. Jonathan, welcome to the show.

Jonathan Baillie Strong 00:17
Thanks for having me on. Will.

Will Bachman 00:18
So Jonathan, I understand that you helped among other things. Tim Ferriss launches podcast. That’s amazing. Can you get we start with that story? That was a few years ago.

Jonathan Baillie Strong 00:29
Sure thing. So I actually started off my career as a technology consultants. So working with telecom companies, and London and nearby. And one of the things I did during that that time there was I actually went on a sabbatical. And during that time, I met some interesting people, people sort of living versions of, you know, Tim Ferriss, four hour workweek lifestyle, I guess. And one of those people I met, I ended up working with, and as kind of a thing on the side, I started basically working on podcast production, which something was something my background, and it lent itself pretty well to having studied, you know, music, and I knew a fair bit about, you know, audio engineering and that kind of thing. Anyway, fast forward to, you know, we worked with we were kind of well positioned at the time, you know, podcasting was taking off, it was 2013. So, not long before, you know, the whole serial explosion with podcasting. And one of our early clients was, was Tim Ferriss, so he basically helped him launch his show. And, yeah, initially, as I was telling you about earlier, as well, it was a Tim Ferriss show was initially going to be just a very short run about seven episodes. if my memory serves me well, to see if it was, you know, as a pilot, basically, to see if anyone actually enjoyed it. And, you know, because he wasn’t really sure it was, you know, basically him talking to his friends, were people going to be that interested in, you know, just long form conversations like that, obviously, people were And fortunately, he decided to stick with it. But I find it quite interesting that nowadays, you know, he says that when people walk up to him on the street, the first thing they say is they don’t say, you know, oh, I loved your bestselling books, you know, what you spent, he spent years and years and, you know, many long nights, you know, writing an answer thing, the first thing they say is, Oh, I love your podcast. So, yeah, quite interesting. Well,

Will Bachman 02:36
I that is amazing. It’s it’s hard to hard to beat that success must be one of the what the top one of the top podcasts ever. So tell us a little bit about your work today.

Jonathan Baillie Strong 02:49
Yeah, so as you mentioned, I run a podcast production agency called spotlight podcasting. And nowadays, I work on very different shows from those ones that I started off with, you know, not the Tim Ferriss of the world. But I think, I think, you know, when, when people look at starting a show, we’re often and I had this myself, I was quite enamored, I think, especially like, after I left the consultancy, I was working with, I was very enamored with this idea of, you know, personal branding, and, you know, our, you know, exciting entrepreneurship and so forth. And granted, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s great. But I think our perception is often quite skewed by the fact that we look at these shows that are in the top 10, or in the top 100. And we try and emulate those. Whereas what I discovered is actually, I think one of the biggest benefits of podcasting is you don’t need to be a Tim Ferriss to really get so much out of hosting a show, and I’m sure you like, you’re well aware of this, you know, will, that just the network, and the doors that are opened by starting a podcast just makes it, it’s just incredible. I mean, you’re doing a daily show, like a near Daily Show, I think now, and you must have had conversations with tons of people over over a year, you know, that, that you can really just really build your network. And that’s what we noticed with, you know, a lot of the businesses that I’ve worked with during my career with first you know, freedom podcasting, and then with another agency, microphone, media now, spotlight podcasting. We’ve noticed that especially with, you know, independent consultants, b2b service providers, that I show can really help them with, particularly on the sort of the networking and the business development side of things. And so, it’s not so much about audience and audience growth. But it’s, I think, if you just, it’s very hard to get people’s mindset out of that, because most people think, Oh, great, a podcast, I’m gonna grow an audience and that’s going to get me visibility, but natural fats. One of the best things about interview podcasting is being able to get people on the phone that are just very hard to get hold of normally.

Will Bachman 04:57
Yeah. So you work with a A lot of independent consultants or boutique firms. Can you you mentioned that benefit of the business development side? Give? Can you give us some maybe sanitized case examples from clients that you’ve worked with have the types of connections that they’ve made with with possible clients?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 05:17
Yeah, sure. So to give you an example, so one of the chaps we were working with, he, basically, he helps companies, large companies, crates of, he used to do sort of these in dinner, in dinner experiences, you know, these events that were very well organized, you know, he basically had all the, all the elements of the dinner completely set out. I mean, these are basically like team bonding exercises. And anyway, this is sort of an experience that, and he he eventually, you know, when he was he was running this company, and helping people with this sort of relationship building, he discovered that his ideal client profile was, you know, fortune 500 companies, Inc, 5000, fastest growing companies and so, together, you know, we’ve, we’ve helped him build a list, and he’s reached out to a lot of his people, and he was seeing basically, you know, a booking, you know, sort of, he was able to book founders of these massive companies at an 80% success rate. And so he basically, you know, would bring them on, and, essentially, you know, have have conversations, often, you know, he would go out and visit them, or they come and visit his office, in, you know, in New York, and he was able to just kind of start this relationship. And, you know, the interview is not focused on his service, but he’s able to sort of bring that into the conversation and say, oh, by the way, this is what I do. And, yeah, I mean, it’s not, it’s not sort of necessarily, it may sound like a very direct sales approach. But I guess, the, quite often it’s, you know, it’s about building that network, just making people aware of what you do. And often, it may be like, Oh, actually, you know, this isn’t the right time, or it’s not actually what we need. But actually, I know, someone who’d be great to talk to, and it’s about really delivering value first. I mean, you’re creating content with with someone that basically showcases their expertise, positions, them as a as an authority. And, you know, it’s Yeah, it’s basically kind of a win win situation.

Will Bachman 07:37
I’m very interested in the idea of podcasts that focus on, you know, some interesting niche, some very focused thing. Can you give me an examples of podcasts that you’ve helped produce that, that have some very tight focus on a particular industry sector or particular function?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 07:58
Yeah, let me have a think about this. So yeah, you can, you can get very niche, you know, we’ve we’ve done shows that, you know, focus on very, very, very sort of niche, you know, parts of expertise. So, you know, maybe a baby like something around, you know, it’s been as nations like insurance benefits or for, you know, for employers, you know, looking to kind of make their their benefits package more more comprehensive. So, we’ve had, you know, experts, you know, host shows, where they just really dive very, very deep into, into that side of things as well. So, yeah,

Will Bachman 08:43
the benefit of those is, even if you’re a consultant that knows about a lot about the space, if you, you know, doing all those episodes, you’re going to learn new stuff and, and just become aware of new benefits or ways that clients think about it that you hadn’t thought about before. Yeah, in addition to that benefit of building relationships with folks, talk to me, let’s talk about your process a little bit. So someone comes to you, let’s say they’re they run a boutique firm or independent consultant. They say, Jonathan, I want to start a podcast. What? What’s your process kind of end to end of getting that person up and running?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 09:23
Yeah, sure. So essentially, you know, we start off with a four to six week usually takes that time, it can take shorter, it can take a little bit longer. But usually it falls within that kind of range is basically a sort of a launch program that we run people through, and we basically help with all those minute decisions that make such a big difference. I think, you know, podcasting is something that is very much the Wild West, you know, anyone can start one up and anyone can can get going. But there are just so many I mean, you know this yourself, you know, there’s so many decisions to make, especially at the beginning. And so it’s often like really good idea to get off on the right foot. You know, there’s all the questions around, you know, what’s the right strategy for the show? You know, what are your goals? Is this show gonna hit those goals? You know, what equipment Do you need, and so many different things, and podcasters in podcasting is always evolving at the same time as well. So they’re always like, these new tools and these new things to constantly stay up to date with. And that’s where we found that, you know, solo operators, you know, independence, or, you know, people where it’s like, they just don’t have time to stay on top of all this stuff, they need a team and whether that’s, that’s us, or, you know, whether they build their own team. That’s, those are all options. But I think, you know, but it’s, yeah, it’s a good idea to set off on the right foot. You know, bearing in mind that there are now I think, latest figures, you know, just checked the other day, is that there are over 2 million podcasts out there. But the majority of them are faded, you know, the majority of them are no longer running. And that’s, that’s a real pity. I think I’ve, I’ve spoken to so many people where, you know, they started the show with great intentions, and they were very excited about the beginning. But eventually, there’s a, there’s a friend of mine, who he, he had a show that was in the gaming space, or something he was very passionate about. And he got he was that what he was aiming for is he’s trying to build a really big audience and sell to sponsors, which is what most a lot of people really think of first when they think of starting a podcast. And people talk about this magic number of Oh, once you get to 50,000, downloads, you know, downloads a month, then you know your set, you can get, you know, decent sponsorship that should be able to pay the bills, he wasn’t able to do it, he got he got that he achieved that number, but he was still unable to really make the show work out financially. So I think that’s, that’s really a key thing to just bear in mind. It is a time investment. And, you know, yeah, you just need to bear that in mind when it comes to how much time you’re going to spend on it. You know, you know how much money you’re going to invest and so forth. You want to make sure that it is sustainable in the long run.

Will Bachman 12:12
Yeah. So walk me through that set of initial questions and decisions that people need to make you say that’s really critical. what’s what’s the checklist of questions that someone a listener of this show would need to think about, if they weren’t thinking about starting their own show?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 12:26
Yeah. So I think, first of all, you know, the main thing is, like, just getting very clear on what your goals are with the show, what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. You know, people might say, you know, oh, well, brand awareness, great brand awareness, but what what for so we go down that sort of the the five why’s route, just trying to get down to the real core of, you know, why are we starting show? What’s the ultimate? What are the ultimate goals? And then we can start, you know, assigning metrics and trying to figure out, Okay, how can we correlate, you know, these goals to the outcomes of the show, and then we basically build a strategy around that. Like, like I said, you know, the strategy that we kind of focus on is using a podcasting as part of an outreach strategy to connect with those ideal clients, or industry partners or referral partners. And, you know, that’s that, yeah, that’s basically kind of a strategy that we, you know, really kind of hone in on that said, You know, I think podcasting can also be used as a networking tool, where maybe it’s, it’s more, you know, maybe it’s a little bit more broad than that, you know, maybe it’s like, you’re just looking to kind of grow your network, and you’re not necessarily so focused, particularly on your niche. And those kinds of shows can can work very well as well.

Will Bachman 13:43
Okay, and what’s the whole series of decisions that you’d help people with? I imagine that you have some sort of checklist like, Okay, well, once you figure out the strategy, think about who are the what kind of listeners? Am I going to attract? What what sort of, sort of the format of the show be is an interview based? Is it? Is it a short, you know, edited show? Is it a full long form show? Is it? What’s the name going to be? You know, what did the show notes look like? What’s the logo? Like? What’s the full list of other other decisions that someone needs to make at the beginning?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 14:20
Yeah, there are a lot of decisions we could go into, like all the minutiae. I would say, though, that just to focus on that the core ones I’ve mentioned, you know, goals and strategy. I would say also, like, if you’re doing a show, like I mentioned, that has, you know, where you’re very focused on sort of using it as part of your prospecting strategy? I would say like one of the key decisions at the very beginning is to really figure out who your who your guests are going to be and focus. A lot of people talk about our you know, think about your listener avatar, we prefer to think of guest avatar first. So thinking of Okay, maybe it’s like your ideal client profile, basically, your ICP Maybe have a couple of those, well pick the one that’s, you know, that you enjoy working with the most or that some of the most profitable, but make that decision, and then really hone in on, you know, what are the chronic characteristics of those people? Like, can you put together like a shortlist of say 20 people that fit that profile? What are their sensibilities? What do they resonate with? What are their interests, what communities and that will give you a sense of, they’ll also give you a sense of like, when he launched the show, exactly, which, you know, channels you’re going to be reaching out to, as well, where these, all these people are available, because the visibility factor is also important. You know, when you bring someone on a show, one of the other things that comes out of that is, you know, obviously, you have that, that audio content, you know, podcasting is great for people who are busy, you can, you know, fit it into their schedules. But it also provides an opportunity for you to create a lot of marketing assets, you get all this front, you get this content, you can repurpose in so many different formats, that’s one of the things that I really like about audio is just the way that you can, you can turn it into credible images, you can turn it into audio grants, there’s so much you could do with it. But they’re also just raises the visibility of your guests, and also raises your brand as well. So that you know, you share a quotable from them on you know, LinkedIn, you know, you tag them, they like it, their network is most likely going to see that in their feed. So the chances are, if you’ve, if you’re very focused on that, yes, the chances are that their peers are going to start seeing your brand as well. So before you even ask someone else to be on the show that, you know, fits within that same, you know, line line of guests, the chances are they probably already seen you around already. So in a way, it’s like your they know you already before you know them.

Will Bachman 16:58
Talk to me about the process of creating this auxiliary content. And like what are the different forms that you are referring to? So you mentioned audiograms, people have probably seen those where it’s like a static picture. And then you see the little wiggly line going up and down as the quote goes, and maybe you see the quote itself? What are some other types of content? And how could, you know, let’s say a listener of this show has their own show? What are some ways to go in to create those words? So talk to me about some of that auxiliary content.

Jonathan Baillie Strong 17:39
Yeah, sure. So you mentioned audiograms, there’s a great tool for that headliner. That will allow you to Yeah, just like really customize your, your, your graphic asset, you know, include like an image of your guests. It will also allow you if you have so you usually like we publish podcasts purely as audio. But we often also have people record the video. So it’s usually usually done over zoom, or Riverside or squad cast. So we get the video recording from that as well. Well, we won’t necessarily use the full video recording, because it’s not, you know, it’s just two Talking Heads. Essentially, it works much better as a, you know, an audio podcast format, but we will take video clips from that will transcribe those will include the captions, and basically publish those as you know, mini clips that are kind of teasers for the you know, for the the audio of the podcast episode itself.

Will Bachman 18:37
And where did those get engagement? Do you put those on LinkedIn or on Twitter or or YouTube? Or where’s the best place to get engagement on that kind of material?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 18:51
I would say it really depends where your target audience hangs out. And when I say target audience kind of referring back as well, like we often find if you if you start with the guests avatar first in most cases, your listener avatar usually correlates to that as well you don’t you like the work has already done because often you’re the peers of the guests that you’re speaking to you’re going to be tuning into the show as well, especially if you frame it the correct way if you just actually just call it let’s say your your shows about you know, VP of operations at all and gas, you know, it could be just be like the VP of operations, all in gas show or or some some variation of that. But basically, it’s where they hang out, like usually in b2b. In most cases, the answer will be LinkedIn. But it never hurts necessarily to to post on other channels as well. We usually just make sure that the you know, every platform has its slight differences and its quirks and the ways the social copy works. So we just, yeah, we just make sure that when our whenever Whether people we work with, you know, are posting that, that they are using the right dimensions that they have, you know, all those things in mind as well. Okay?

Will Bachman 20:10
If someone wants to launch their own show with your agency or an agency similar to yours, what’s the typical fee structure, if someone wants to get an agency to help take care of all the heavy lifting of, you know, designing the logo and writing the show notes and helping with the audio production, adding a little music and doing all those pieces, so that all they need to do is kind of show up for the interview itself? Like, what’s the typical fee structure?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 20:41
Yeah, so for sort of a full end to end service, like the one that we offer, we basically have sort of a flat fee structure per month, with packages starting from about $2,000 per month. Now, and I see you know, sort of, like, when it comes to, you know, outsourcing your, your podcast you have, I would say like, there are a couple of different categories, right, you’ve got kind of, you know, on the on the lower end, you can go after freelancers, and you can find, you know, someone’s do your audio editing for you, and you can find someone else to do your show notes on so I think, which is fine. And you can really operate things on a shoestring. However, you don’t necessarily have someone to kind of oversee the whole operation, just make sure that things fit together. And again, you know, like, make sure that you, you can hire consultants, you know, that’s, that’s another route you can go down. But that’s sort of on the lower end, then I would say, step up from that might be sort of like a budget production service, where they’re doing, you know, the time consuming things like show notes, and podcast production, but they’re kind of giving you somewhat generic, you know, podcasts advice, we’re very, like I say, you know, we’re quite specific on working with, you know, consultants and people in b2b. So we kind of feel, you know, we fit into that range just above, and then I would say, above that you have sort of, like, the marketing agencies, you know, who will probably, you know, double your budget, but, you know, they’ll go out and find the right people for you. And it’ll probably be more of a, you know, a package that it also includes other things, like, you know, we’ll publish your book, and we’ll manage this and that for you as well.

Will Bachman 22:18
And yeah, so for like, the 2k a month, that would be for what, like, a weekly show, or,

Jonathan Baillie Strong 22:23
yeah, typically a weekly show. If unusually, like, there’s, there’s usually a direct kind of correlation, like, there’s, there’s basic math that you can do to figure out, okay, is this show gonna, you know, pay off its investment. And the thing is, is like, if you’re doing a weekly show, typically you’re doing, you know, 52 interviews a year. So that’s 52 relationships, and out of those relationships, especially if you’re doing if you have a high ticket offer consulting offer, you know, all you need is like a couple of those relationships to result in sales for the for the podcast to pay off. So that’s usually sort of a scenario that we, you know, we find people working with,

Will Bachman 23:04
yeah, so I agree, you’re not trying to monetize the podcast itself, but it’s, you only need a few of those relationships to, you know, to germinate. Okay, and then, as part of that, you would be helping with creating this, like micro content and figuring out where to post it and writing some of the, like, the LinkedIn posts for people to do and so forth.

Jonathan Baillie Strong 23:27
Yeah, basically, soup to nuts. Everything that? Yeah, everything that’s entailed, as you know, launching a show that it’s done professionally, you know, and there’s distributed and leveraged as much as they can be.

Will Bachman 23:42
Yeah, well, they’re certainly for busy, you know, consultants, it, there is a bit of an activation energy. Yeah, if people are trying to do it themselves, when you’re trying to run your own practice, and, and, you know, serve clients, and then also to get the audio engineering done and to make the transcript and to create the show notes and to upload it to Lipson or whatever, you know, thing you’re using. And then what are some of your tips and lessons learned for people on how to kind of get the word out about their show? So other than just posting on LinkedIn or so forth? What are some of the other tips do you have people for example, put together like a package for their guests to use to help promote it? You’re talking about newsletters, what are some other things you’ve seen people do that maybe that your firm does to help get the word out? Make sure the right subs, you know, right? Guest listener right listeners or are hearing about the show?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 24:44
Yeah, so one of the things that we you know, we’ve done with, with the people that we work with is will send out emails on their behalf that have all the social assets for their guests. So it’s really leveraging you know, the guests willingness to To promote their their interviews, and so that will just basically mean, you know, we’ve we’ve generally, you know, will generate sort of these links that will have pre populated tweets, LinkedIn posts, Facebook, so forth. You know, so that’s, that’s, that’s the key. I think also just like really, you know, a lot of people kind of spray and pray with their, with their podcasts, we’ve often found that converting people from, you know, social or, or email straight to a podcast is is a little tricky. And so often the medium that works best for converting podcast listeners, because if you think about it, I think it’s, you know, Edison research, they have surveys and statistics that show that, on average, I think it’s three out of 10 Americans listens to podcasts on a regular basis. So if you think about that, when you promote your content on social, chances are only three out of 10 people that see that will actually have any chance of listening to your show on a regular basis. And so that’s why one of the things that we we advocate for is promoting on the same channel on other podcasts because a 10 out of 10 people who listen to you, if you’re interviewing on another show, you know, our podcast consumers. And the same, you know, same applies for, you know, podcasts, ads, as well. So those are all things that we also support, support people with as well.

Will Bachman 26:35
Oh, I see. That’s an interesting statistic, I suppose. The other thing that that suggests is that you might not think about trying to convert everyone to be a listener of your show. But if it is the case, that 710 are not listening to podcasts, it’s even more important to be repurposing some of your content. So people can consume it the way they want. Like maybe they just read a quote from your show, or maybe they listened to a 22nd snippet, that’s an audio gram, so that they can get some of the core nuggets from your show. Or maybe you create a LinkedIn article or a blog post based on your show and use it on, you know, sort of repurpose this asset.

Jonathan Baillie Strong 27:15
Yeah, x. Exactly. Yeah, we see those those pieces of content as standalone pieces of content themselves, you know, the value and are of interest and build brand awareness. So we see that helpful, particularly from a visibility standpoint, and also for people who, you know, I, I have this for myself, you know, like, there’s so much noise in social media. And it’s, and there’s this, this little bit of this FOMO, like, I should be producing content, I should be producing content. And it’s difficult to to keep up with that. But if you have a regular ongoing show, where you’re able to, you know, you have some someone or a system there that’s producing these, like little core pieces, you know, these little assets of micro content for you on a regular basis. You don’t have to worry about that so much anymore.

Will Bachman 28:02
Yeah, you can do it on your behalf. Fantastic. Well, Jonathan, this has been a great overview and helpful guide, I think for people that are thinking about starting their show, and maybe using an agency like yours. If people wanted to follow up with you and get in touch. Where would you point them online?

Jonathan Baillie Strong 28:21
So I think the the best place to go is actually another podcast that we have recently started called podcasting for consultants. Don’t net. So yeah, that’s the website. And you can obviously just find the show by searching for podcasting for consultants on any podcast player. And in that show, we kind of dive more into all the you know, basically a lot of the questions that you’ve asked here, and a lot more, basically everything that goes into what’s required for launching a show.

Will Bachman 28:53
Fantastic. Well, we’ll include that link in the show notes. Sounds like a great resource, I’m going to check out that show. And for listeners, since you’ve gotten all the way down here. If you go to umbrex.com and you click on the Unleashed tab, you can sign up for the weekly email for this show. Where if you don’t want to listen to all seven episodes every week, but you want to pick and choose in that weekly email let you know what the most recent episodes are, we occasionally have some bonus material, such as some book giveaways and down resources you can download to check that out. And if you are so inclined to give the show a five star review on iTunes. It would be much appreciated. It does help people discover the show and it just makes my day. Jonathan, thank you so much for joining. It was really great chatting with you.

Jonathan Baillie Strong 29:42
It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much. Well

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