Rethink Marketing: Using Podcast Interviews As a Lead Gen Tactic

More Americans than ever are listening to podcasts, and some 90 million will have listened to at least one episode within the last month. But can producing a podcast (or being a guest on a podcast) be a successful lead gen tactic?

Tom Schwab, founder and CEO of Interview Valet, believes they can. Interview Valet helps book guests on podcasts relevant to their target audiences.

We interviewed Tom for the Rethink Marketing podcast, where he talked about why podcast interviews convert 25 times better than blogs. 

Picture of Tom Schwab for the Rethink Marketing podcast where he talked about how podcasts can be a lead gen tactic

What makes a perfect podcast guest?

Nathan: What do you need to be a perfect guest for a podcast?

Tom: Well, the biggest thing is being interested in being interesting, right? Because podcasts are a great way to introduce yourself to the world.

One of my favorite quotes, or I’d say favorite tweets out there came from Rand Fishkin, founder of Sparktoro and Moz. He talked about that the best way to sell something today is not to sell anything but to earn the respect, awareness, and trust of those who might buy.

I think just getting out there and getting known, telling your story and being very clear of who you are, who you work with. None of us need more leads or just more traffic. At the end of the day, we need more customers and more people that we could serve.

The other thing too is that to be authentic. We’ve coached hundreds of clients and seeing the results from hundreds of clients and it’s always the ones that move off of the talking points and speak from their heart and are very clear of who they are, who they help, what they do.

Those are the great ones because you’re doing two things: you’re attracting your ideal customers, and you’re also repelling those people that aren’t ideal customers. At the end of the day, we all want to work with more of our ideal buyer personas, not just anybody that comes across the website.

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What if you’re not a good podcast interviewer or interviewee?

Nathan: This may be a little bit too in the weeds, but what if they’re not a good guest as far as the aesthetics of it all? They ramble on or they use a lot of filler words. Is that something that can be coached out or how do you go about that?

Tom: It can, but I think if that’s authentically who you are, there’s going to be some people that are drawn to that.

I was in Toastmasters for a while, and every time I would win the award for the most ums and ahs. I probably do that on podcast, too, but I think that doesn’t turn people off.

Some ways if you’re too polished, it may sound inauthentic. That is really slick. I think just that heart putting out there, and most of the time when people are passionate about what they’re doing, their business, who they’re serving, that passion really comes through.

I’d have to say the biggest thing that we have to coach out of our clients, it’s two sides, right? First, the people that come from television. One of our clients is a news contributor for Fox Business. With that, he’s used to giving 15-30 second sound soundbites and that’s what you do on television.

We had to work with him on that with podcasts, it’s like, “This is a 30-minute podcast. You’ve got to give a longer answer.” Once he got comfortable with it, he loved it.

I would say the other thing that we have to really work with clients with is a lot of people get excited and they speed up when they’re either nervous or excited. Often that doesn’t play well on a podcast.

Thirty percent of the people that listen to podcast listen sped up. If they’re used to listen to Nathan who’s got this great calming voice and they say, “Yup, I always listen to Rethink Marketing at 2x speed.” They’re used to hearing Nathan at that. Well, if all of a sudden a guest comes in and is a fast talker, that will throw them off.

A lot of times though, instead of slowing it down, they’ll just skip the episode. That’s probably one of the biggest things we have to coach people with is to respect the room that you’ve been invited to. Try to mimic or at least adapt to the style of the interview.

Image quote from Rethink Marketing podcast interview with Tom Schwab about using podcasts as a lead gen tactic

How does a brand podcast book the perfect guest?

Nathan: On the other side of the fence, for those brands that are hosting a podcast, they produce their own podcast and they’re seeking out guests. What advice do you have for them for booking the perfect guests?

Tom: I don’t think it’s an either or. People say, “Should I be a guest? Should I be a host?” I say, do whatever it takes in order to get heard by your ideal customers to build that know, like, and trust.

If you’re a podcast host right now, getting out on other podcasts will not only get you known, but it will also bring back podcast listeners.

As far as getting ideal guests, I think trying to pitch them the same way that you pitch yourself to be on somebody else’s show.

From the standpoint of Gary Vaynerchuk talks about jab, jab, jab, right hook. Well, I really look at that as serve, serve, serve, serve, ask. If I have never heard of someone before, and they pitched me on something and it’s a cold pitch, right? Nobody likes that. If you’ve got a podcast, all of a sudden there’s a dream guest that you have.

Well, follow them on social media. Comment on some of the things they’re doing. Repost it. You know, we’re all vain. We listen for our names, and you’ll see who’s following you, who’s engaging with you.

At that point, then you can reach out to them and say, “Dear ideal guests, you know, I love what you’re doing. We’ve got this podcast. I would love to expose our audience of… ” Tell them who your audience is, how big they are, your ideas. I think that’s an easier pitch right there. Then also let them know what you’re going to do for them. Right?

It’s one thing just to be on an interview, but those podcasters that promote the interviews, that mail it out to their list, those are the little things that can not only get somebody on your podcast but can build a relationship with them ongoing. Either a personal relationship, a business relationship, partnership opportunities. It’s amazing what can come out of really a 45-minute conversation.

How do you tie it all in with your other marketing activities?

Nathan: One of the other questions I had was, how do you tie it all in with all your other marketing activities, either as the podcast host or the podcast guest?

Tom: Really, that’s a great question because nothing works as a silo, right? It all works together to get the message out there.

With that, I think it’s really an idea of repurposing. There are some podcasts out there, I won’t mention them by name, but they’ve got such great voiceover talent that they read blogs.

This could be a blog that was out six months ago that did really well, and then they’ll put it in a podcast with basically voice talent reading it. To the people that have never read it before, it’s new. It’s all of that.

The other thing to do is to repurpose the content. Don’t look at it as a silo of here’s our blogs, here’s our podcasts, here’s our video strategy. No, really it’s all just content strategy and just looking how you can put it out there. I think it’s an “and” strategy, instead of an “of” strategy.

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How to make podcasts convert as a lead gen tactic?

Tom said one of the secrets about podcast interviews that they’ve tested are to include three calls to action within the podcast interview. There is a “small ask,” the “medium ask,” and then the “big ask.”

Tom: If you’re on a stage, a digital stage, a podcast, you need your goal.

Your “small ask” is just to get them back to your site, get them back to your site to just look around. Maybe it’s to throw them a Facebook retargeting pixel.

The “medium ask” could be just to get them to engage a little bit more. From that standpoint, on a podcast interview, if I start talking about a graph or a picture or a video, you can’t see that. If you can drive them back there to learn more from a webinar or something like that, that is a medium.

Then the final one is if somebody has listened to you for 30 to 45 minutes and they know that you’re the person that they want to work with, that your firm helps people just like them. If they’ve heard about you for 30 to 45 minutes and they come ready to engage, well, don’t slow them down in a funnel. If they come with credit card in hand wanting to see the wizard, give them a chance to get there.

Let me give you an example of this. The best practice is always to send them to a dedicated welcome page, right?

If you’re listening to this, you have no idea what Tom Schwab looks like. You have no idea what Interview Valet’s website looks like, and you’re probably coming from a mobile device.

Think about that. That traffic is going to bounce awful and it’s evergreen, right? We’re recording this right now in 2019. There’s somebody right now in 2022 listening to this, and if I sent them to my homepage, that homepage is probably going to change in the next few years.

If they don’t see what they expect, then it’s going to bounce. The best practice is always to say, “Hey, here’s a resource for you, just go back to the website, go to interviewvalet.com/rethink.”

The first thing they’re going to see is the podcast artwork, right, because that’s a trust seal, a tacit endorsement. The second thing they’re going to see is Nathan’s picture, right, because he is their friend. It’s sort of that once again, trust seal, tacit endorsement. Then there’s some boilerplate texts and then my picture.

Some people just want to see who the speaker is. There’s going to be three calls to action and a lot of times the small yes, the medium yes, and the heck yes.

For me, a small yes a lot of times is people will ask, “How do you get on your first podcast interview?” I’ll give them a couple of the secrets and say, “You know, there’s infographic we have, the six secrets to getting on your first podcast interview.” They’ll talk about avoiding mistakes. “Well, there’s a checklist that we have that we give all of our clients. The checklist to have a great podcast interview. If you want to go that, see those, just go back to interviewvalet.com/rethink.” That’s the small yeses.

The medium yes could be a video, something to build that relationship. It could be a free offer, something that’s not going to take a lot of time. That could be a free copy of the book, podcast guest profits, how to grow your business with the targeted podcast interview.

Then the big yes, that heck yes. If they come ready to engage after listening to you, well, make it easy for them. The big yes is typically, you know, if you’d like to set up a consultation, if you’d like to talk about this, how you could use this. Well, come back here and you can schedule a time on the link right there. The whole idea is to give them reasons to go from a passive listener to an active visitor and an engaged lead.

Now you can attribute some of that traffic because if you went to that page, interviewvalet.com/rethink, the only way you got there was from the podcast. You know right away, okay, that’s where the traffic came from. You could even in your marketing you could do closed-loop marketing and attribute all of the sales to that.

In your nurturing, you could always mention that podcast host who introduced you. There’s just a lot of ways to do that. It’s really just limited by your creativity.

Nathan: How do I learn more or how do I go to that interviewvalet.com/rethink?

Tom: You know, I’ve used that as an example, but we’ll put that up there, right? Here’s one of those things that is a takeaway tip, right?

If you’re listening to a podcast interview, you know, people do it while they’re multitasking. One of the kisses of death is to get to the end and start to say, “Well, here’s my email, here’s my Instagram.”

All the rest of this is like, no, don’t confuse them. This is a great time to just sort of wrap it up and say, “You know, if you want that checklist of everything to do for your podcast; if you want that infographic, the six ways to get on your first podcast, I’ll put the free download to the book, “Podcast Guest Profits: how to grow your business with a targeted interview strategy.”

If just what I said resonated with you, just come back to interviewvalet.com/rethink and everything Nathan and I talked about will be there. I would love to talk with you about how you could leverage podcasts to speak to your ideal listeners.

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