Terminal Value

Building your Brand as a Podcast Guest with Jason Cercone

Doug Utberg

Business Growth Authority | Technology Strategy & Resourcing | Cost Optimization Expert | Business Process Architect | Financial Strategist | Founder - Terminal Value Podcast

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We have Jason Sir Cercone with us today, and we are going to be talking about building your brand as a podcast guest. And this is actually kind of really important in sort of the kind of the creator economy or sort of the new paradigm or new world we’re going into, because a lot of people, whether you are saying you’re a brand or if you’re like I say a coach or consultant, which many people who are in kind of executive careers will end up there at some point in their career. If you’re a founder, you’ll be doing it to build your brand. If you’re currently, say an executive decision maker in the future, you’ll probably be looking to build a brand also. But it’ll be a kind of personal brand more than a business brand. But either way, being a podcast guest is actually a really effective way to do that. But there are definitely some best practices to get the most out of it and some pitfalls to avoid. And that’s actually why we have Jason here today, is because that Incidentally happens to be what he specializes in. Jason, introduce yourself.

Well, thanks for having me, Doug. I love what you’re doing with this show and looking forward to having a great conversation with you today. Yeah. In regards to using the podcast platform to build your brand, I think one of the unsung heroes of any podcast production is the value that the guest brings to the mic. We often times keep our attention on all of the great things that the hosts and producers do. And as a podcaster, I fully appreciate and understand all of the hard work that goes into making a show. But the knowledge and expertise that a podcast guest can bring to the mic that can really have an impact on the audience. And if you’re talking to an audience that is your target, then if you impact those people and provide them value, more than likely they’re going to follow you to wherever you want them to go to, whether it’s to come to your website for a free offer or to listen to your podcast or check out your YouTube channel, whatever you have as a call to action. If you provide value and you impact their world, more than likely they’re going to follow you to get more.

Got you. Yeah. And I completely agree. And I think that this method of either hosting a podcast, being a guest on the podcast, or in a lot of cases, both, I think really is kind of a new method kind of guerrilla marketing paradigm that a lot of people are following because, of course, the old way that you would build a brand is what you do is you set up some kind of Advertisement, whether it’s a display ad, web ad, whatever. And if you were really sophisticated, that ad might ask people to do something the way a lot of people did was they just put up a banner that had their name on it and then just kind of hope that people would come in. I think we’ll call that kind of marketing version one. And then I think marketing version two is going to be where you get more direct response so you can precisely measure what people are doing. And then to be marketing version kind of 2.1 or version three is where you blend that direct response with evergreen marketing efforts. So, like, for example, you and I are recording a podcast. This podcast will exist forever or for as long as I pay to continue having it hosted by Captivate. When I post it to YouTube, it will exist forever or until Google and YouTube goes bankrupt, which is probably going to be never. And so I think the thing that I think is sort of in, like this third wave of content marketing is that you have these mediums that are evergreen. So what ends up happening is that you may end up doing a lot of interviews and you may do interviews with like some small podcasts. And when we get, say, I don’t know, a couple few hundred downloads in the first couple of few months, you’re like, OK, what’s the point? Well, the point is that at some point that creator, if they keep going, is going to develop a following. And the residual regular pattern of behavior is that somebody finds a podcast or a creator that they really like, and then what they’ll do is they’ll go back and binge all their content. And so then a lot of times what will happen is usually about year three or four, as the creator is getting going, their numbers start jumping like crazy. Well, if you were one of the early interviewees of that creator, you can keep getting value from that years, decades down the road. And I think that’s the real power of this kind of medium is that you have a compounding residual value. Whereas, for example, if you purchase display ads on Facebook, if you’re really clever, you might be able to get your cost per click down to $0.50 or something like that. If you have a really great headline, really compelling call to action, but you still have to pay for every one of those clicks. When you put this kind of podcast boat in the water and just sort of let it go, it keeps going perpetually. At least that’s the way that I see it. And I am practically monologuing here. So I need to step back and I’m going to hear what you have to say a little bit.

You don’t even need me because you just nailed it. Seriously, though, that’s really what it’s all about. It’s so powerful when evergreen content is out there. And that’s what I tell everybody I work with is

when you provide value to a specific audience, it doesn’t matter what the size of the show is because that show is going to continue to grow over time.

And as new listeners stumble upon that content or have it recommended to them, your message is a part of that portfolio. So your one interview could serve you for a year, five years, ten years. For as long as the producers are continuing to keep that content live, there’s potential for people to discover you and then come over to check out what you’re doing. And that really is at the root of a good podcast guest marketing campaign and why I always stress make sure you’re making guest appearances on shows that align with your mission and your message, because if you go on random shows, you’re going to get random results, right?

Yeah, correct.

If you focus on the shows that are adjacent to what you’re doing, when people do discover it years down the road, you still can get those residual leads that are coming in and checking out what you’re doing. It’s huge.

Correct. And I think I’m going to go on a little bit of a tangent here. I think that’s a really important phenomenon because, of course, as all of us are going about trying to build a brand for ourselves or our business, in a lot of cases, that’s the same thing. We have to try to figure out what’s the best way to spend a particular hour or 20 minutes block of time and doing a podcast interview, especially as an interviewee or as a guest, it takes out somewhere between 30 and 60 minutes. Okay. Well, if you can budget, say, two to three of those per week and just build that into your routine, after about four or five years, you will have quite a bit of exposure built up. It’s the same thing with being a podcast host your first year or two just don’t expect to have anybody listen to you. But if you keep showing up, then eventually you will start to build it. You’ll start to build a presence again. I know that’s one of the things, at least that I’m doing is that I’m getting close to a year and a half into my podcasting career, but I’ve never really got serious about trying to market what I was doing on social media. And big surprise, I didn’t grow that much. And so what I’ve been doing is I’ve been taking a much more concerted effort. Now that takes time, it takes forecast, it takes planning. But that’s how you grow a brand. That’s the way that you grow a brand perpetually. And I think that’s that perpetual growth paradigm is I think what’s really important is kind of that next wave of the way to be really impactful just because otherwise you need to have a whole lot of money in order to create a brand. But even so, I think that trying to buy your way to brand awareness is kind of going by the wayside. There are certain brands like Proctor, Gamble, Nike, the household names like the McDonald’s and Coca Cola. Sure, everybody knows who they are. Of course. I guess my point is if everybody already knows who you are, why are you still buying ads on the Super Bowl? They already know who you are.

Yes. I think it’s just to avoid that complacency and making sure they stay front of mind. That’s really what it’s all about. But they also have coffers of money to spend where small businesses are scrapping every day to make it come together. And that’s where podcasting can play a huge role.

And I think there’s another cross connection that I think is really important. And article that I recently read, I’m probably going to Butcher the source. It was either through like entrepreneur fast company or something like that. But the premise of the article was that purpose is the future of business, which is the idea that a business is simply a profit generating enterprise is kind of becoming, I guess you would say, obsolete. And that the thing that will make people identify with a business with a brand is the purpose or mission that that brand is serving. And so I think this aligns really well with this podcast social media because it’s a long form content container that really lets you unpack your purpose as opposed to just delivering 50 characters slogan. Let me know your thoughts there.

Oh, 100%. Podcasting is at its core all about storytelling. And these days brands that are truly excelling. And this is again, not the big brands that we were talking about before, but the smaller brands that are truly resonating with their audience. They’re telling a good story and they are connecting because people can relate to that story. They can see themselves in that story. And these things have happened to them in the past. And this is why they feel so loyal to this brand, because they’ve been there too, and they’re able to help them solve the problems that are present in their world today. So if you’re using the podcast medium to tell that story, if you have your own podcast, you can do that while you’re catering to your audience, no matter how big it is, if you’re a guest and you’re going on different shows to tell that story, you’re impacting a new audience every single time. So every time you do a new interview, that’s a new audience. And yeah, there may be some crossover from people that listen to multiple podcasts, there’s no doubt about that. But for the most part, these are new ears that are hearing this story. And if you tell that story in a very engaging way and you speak with power and confidence, it’s going to make people realize that you’re somebody that they should be paying attention to. There’s a lot of value that this person is bringing to the table. How can I get more of that? I want to learn more about what this story is and how it unfolds and how it can impact me further. That’s why I love this medium, because at its core, it’s the greatest stage for telling a good story. And the way brands are excelling these days are through their stories. So here we are. Perfect marriage.

Yes. And precisely. And I would say because for myself, one of the many things in my life that I kicked myself over is that way back in 2011, I started listening to podcast about 2008. I was kind of an early adopter. About like 2013, I kind of got into audiobooks and sort of tailed off and then came back. But back around 2011, I was like, hey, you know what? I’m going to do a podcast. I’m going to figure this out. So when I got myself a set of headphones, I got my audacity got all set up and I was like, okay, I’m going to do a monologue format. I recorded like three episodes and it was just such an anxiety riddled experience, principally because I was trying to edit my own stuff. And it took me so long to edit an episode because I wanted the audio quality to sound good. And of course, what I eventually came to was I said, hey, you know what? It’s more important to show up and get content out and to have it be perfect. So I decided to brand what I call authenticity, which is my code for not editing that much. So I’ll trim the beginning, trim the end, just ship it, put on the bumpers, we’re good. But the thing is authentic mediums, I think are actually starting to take over the market. For example, Super Bowl, like, lowest ratings in the however many years. Right. Olympics, like, lowest ratings in ever. It’s like the corporate media is dying because I think it’s a lot of the purpose driven media is really what’s starting to take off. And I think that’s a trend that’s not going to reverse, particularly since we’re talking about podcasting. I don’t want to harp on podcasting too much, although it is the point of this interview. But even with podcasts, I don’t recall the exact numbers. But I think there’s like around 2 million podcasts out there. But if you filter it down to the podcast with more than six episodes, it goes down to like 200,000. And if you filter it down to the ones that have been consistently publishing like weekly or more for more than a year, it gets really small.

Oh, yeah. Very fresh medium.

Yeah, exactly. So if you kind of think of it in terms of like, Metcalf’s law with kind of power law, network effects, and your effective population of podcasts is not the total number of podcasts out there. It’s the number of people who have shown up consistently because you don’t need to start showing consistently for a year plus and you’re still in the very infancy of that exponential expansion, and I don’t know how long it will continue, but there’s 9 billion people on the planet and literally no barriers. So I think that there is almost certain to be a dramatic exponential expansion in podcast distribution and creation.

It’s a real shame when people walk away from their show after just a few episodes because there’s a number of factors that come into play as to why someone might do that. I think the biggest one is that no one realizes, or maybe they realize it, but they don’t think the work is really as involved as it truly is. And Doug is a podcaster. You know the amount of work that goes into building a podcast episode each week. And if you’re a mad man like me, I do too. I know you’re planning on doing more. When you’re doing this all the time, you’ve got to be committed to building the content. And you said the most perfect point that every podcaster needs to realize is that this doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be committed to doing it for a couple of years. I say a minimum of a year just before you get going. That’s why I challenge any new podcaster to not look at their statistics for a year. Many podcasters get so hung up on those download numbers, and they think that that’s the be all end all of their production. And if they don’t see those numbers inflate for whatever reason, I don’t know if they think that’s just the metric that’s going to tell the story of success. But many people look at those numbers and say, these just aren’t big enough for me. I’m done. I’m going to move on to something else. This isn’t growing fast enough, but you could have been one episode away from really breaking through. You don’t know.

Yeah, exactly.

And that to me is sad. And that’s why we call it pod fading. We’ve seen so many podcasts fade away because no one truly understood all of the inner pieces of value that you can get from your podcast, like high level networking, having an opportunity to have a conversation with someone that shares your passions, building a legacy, something that people can enjoy long after you’re gone. That’s just a couple of the items that podcasting can bring you, but you have to be looking at it the right way. So anytime I talk to a new podcaster, I make sure they understand that. And then as a guest, if you’re going on a show that aligns with your mission and your message, make sure they’re producing their content consistently. Because if it’s going to be sporadic, you may do your interview and never hear it, or it might be six months when you could have completely shifted some of your directives in that time frame. So, yeah, consistency is big, and understanding what you’re getting into is just as big and then tailing onto consistency.

One thing that I would highly recommend for people who are producing podcasts is figure out how to implement as many systems and efficiencies as you possibly can. For example, when I first started, I burned a ton of time editing. I eventually figured out how I could get that down to a process. And then once I got it down to a simplified process, you can find a virtual assistant, usually overseas, at a very reasonable rate, who you can assign tasks to, and you can take that off your plate. I think that’s the way that you really scale this kind of thing is because if you try to do everything yourself, you’ll burn out. It’ll take a month.

Yeah, I agree. And that’s where I think you have to have reasonable expectations at the very beginning. My podcast is called Evolution of Brand. Say it’s probably my 6th podcast that I’ve ever done myself. I’ve worked in varying industries and done podcasts on different subjects. For Evolution of Brand, I took a year to plan what I wanted. I had a very specific vision of what I wanted the show to be, and I knew how I was going to carry it out. So going into it with that knowledge allowed me to have a plan of action. And if you don’t have that plan of action and set up reasonable expectations for yourself, you will burn out. There’s no doubt about that, because you just don’t understand what is coming your way when it comes to preparing for each episode. So if you go into it knowing I’m making a commitment, this is what I want to achieve with it, and here’s how I’m going to execute. You’re going to put yourself in a much better position and you’ll save yourself a lot of that stress. Because again,

“if you want to grow, you have to get to a point where your show is growable. And if you stop too fast or if you stop too soon because you went too fast, there’s just no way to make that work.”

Because one thing I will buffet what you’re saying with is that because I think you’re talking about preparation, which I think is really important, I think there’s also a say yes and figure it out factor that comes into play also, which is because that’s kind of where at least how I got going on my podcast was I sort of started with I’m like, okay, I’m going to do a podcast. I kind of have the idea I’m going to figure the rest out. There’s something to that, right? Yeah, there’s something to that. But I think that like you’re saying, understanding what’s going on in advance, preparing that’s most certainly not a bad thing. I’m willing to bet that your podcast started out far more smoothly than mine did.

Yeah. Well, again, that was where I had to capitalize on six years of podcasting. And that was really what was the amalgam of everything that I had learned. So I have that benefit of experience. If you’re starting new, all I can do is tell you I’m speaking from experience, and this is what you’re going to learn if you try to do things half past or if you try to take shortcuts my first podcast wasn’t good. It was terrible. I remember the first episode we recorded from a noisy bar. It was a beer theme podcast. So we were probably given a little bit of leeway. But we’re in a noisy bar. We didn’t edit. I don’t even think we knew how to throw theme music on it. I don’t even know if we put theme music. I think we just threw it out on the Internet as it was. No, again, as you learn these things over the years, you realize that I look back and like, that was probably the worst listener experience in the world. No wonder it didn’t grow. When I coach people now, I can tell them these are the mistakes I made. Learn from my past. Don’t do this. Do this instead, and you’re going to be in a much better place. But really, what it comes down to is setting those expectations upfront and looking at your schedule and saying, okay, I have X, Y, and Z to do every week. How does podcasting fit into that equation? How much time can I dedicate to this? If you can only dedicate 2 hours a week to your podcast, don’t do a two hour show. I was at Podcast Movement back in August of 2021, and me and a buddy and I were talking to another kid who just couldn’t. He couldn’t grasp that. He kept saying, well, my show has to be that long. We’re like, no, it doesn’t. It does not. If you don’t have the time. He couldn’t get it. And that’s what we were saying, that you have to make sure that it fits into your life so you don’t inconvenience yourself to the point that you do burn out. As we talked about before, podcasting can’t become a chore. Because if it’s a chore, it’s easy to move it down the priority list until eventually it falls off podcasting. Same thing. If you’re trying to work in ten interviews a week and you don’t have the time for that and it’s interfering with other projects, it’s very easy to start saying, Well, I’m not going to do interviews anymore or showing up to the interviews and not providing value and really just wasting everyone’s time, including your own. So realistic expectations upfront are huge.

Exactly. One of the things that I do that I love to get your feedback on is that, like, everybody, right? I have the scheduling calendars, and so what I do is I set up very specific windows of time for podcast recording. Because I think initially what I did was I just opened up my whole calendar and I was recording stuff here and there like all over the place. And I was the proverbial whirling dervish.

You’re doing that too.

Yeah, exactly. Set specific time windows. These are what I’m going to guess these are what I’m going to host. Maybe they’re the same time windows, but basically just use something like Calendly or I think HubSpot has a pretty good scheduling app in it too, but just set very specific time windows and then focus your interviews to those time windows. I found that that works beautifully because then I just have a kind of mental note, okay, this is my podcast time and that’s how I budget my week.

What you’ll find? I do that, too. My interview times I used to do Tuesdays as evolution of brand was growing, I would leave Tuesdays open. That was my recording day. Eleven to seven was available. And what ended up happening was I’d fill those days. I never filled it 100%, but I’d get like six interviews, which was great for me. I’m batching content. But now it got to a point where I was so far ahead. I had people that were coming on to interview and then I’d be like, gosh, this is going to go out in four months.

Backlogged out five months.

Yes. As the backlog kept growing, I said to myself, okay, there’s got to be some changes here because that’s not fair. You can’t do an interview today, have it come out in six months, and have it be the same. Your message could have changed. It may still be the same, but there’s still some intricacies of that interview that have probably changed in that time frame. So I shifted my recording day to Mondays. I do three at a max, and now I’m going to do two episode releases a week. To me, that’s growth. That’s progress. Obviously, there’s demand to be a part of the show. So let me accommodate and make sure that everybody is getting what they came for from the guest site. Expressed interest. I get them out. I’m going to get their interview out there in a relatively fast time. But I will say yes. Another good tip for anybody. Podcasting. Make it easy for people to book. Have a calendar page, have something that’s low cost, but people can go to it. You can create an intake form so they can provide you with some questions so you can learn about them and build your show format so you don’t fly blind and you can block time when it’s convenient for you. So you don’t burn yourself out because, yeah, you experienced, Doug. You put five days out there. People are going to take advantage of that. And I was in your recording every day and it’s like, what? It all falls apart.

I did the exact same thing, which is where my evolution was. I started out. I think I scheduled like my first five or ten interviews were with people I either knew personally or that I’ve somehow cajoled into coming out of my show through LinkedIn. And then after that I had a few monologue interviews, basically because I ran out of content. I think I actually got onto PodMatch and that worked pretty well. So I got a lot of stuff set up and then I got to where I was recording like four to six times a week for a weekly show, and I had this giant backlog. And so then I went up to two times a week and then I actually adjusted format so that I have two thought leader interviews a week. I do one decision maker interview each week and then I fill in the last two shows either with some kind of either with a combination of a monologue or if I’m on another show, what I’ll do is I’ll play that one so I can promo the other person’s show and also be able to give the listeners a chance to hear different places where I’ve been involved. But I think it’s the things right? As you evolve in your systems get more sophisticated, you can start to increase the frequency with which you release content. And then, of course, the good part too, is that at least one of the things that I do is I’ll get a number of these episodes, some of these episodes transcribe, turn them into blog posts, because then you end up having what I call a skyscraper blog post, which is that if you have a 30 minutes interview, that’s going to end up being a lot of words. And that actually indexes really well in search engines. Now, it’s not quote, targeted search, but if you put enough of these out for long enough, you’ll start getting some inbound traffic to your site. And of course, some of the other things you can do too, is that also give you content that you can start pulling apart and turning into either special reports. If you want to assemble a book, there’s a lot of different ways you can really use the content that you’re creating by having a podcast.

Yeah, there’s a lot of repurposing that can be done. I mean, from video creation alone, I’m able to pull clips from my recordings and make videos for YouTube, and those can be out there for SEO purposes and for promotion purposes. Whatever I want those videos to serve, I can use them for both, and they’re long term as well, just as much as the podcast. So if I’m pulling a clip that has some SEO value to it, I usually build a blog post around it or something that can ultimately serve the audience beyond just the podcast recording. So, yeah, you’re really creating podcast content or I’m sorry, overall marketing content and brand content in three or four different ways just from your podcast alone.

Exactly. And I think that I’ve heard a conversation earlier this week. We were talking about what they called the creator economy I think that content creation flywheel, I think is that really important part of kind of marketing version three?

Indeed. Yeah. You’re definitely right about that. And I think podcasting is really one of the strong. What’s the word? I’m looking for one of the strong pushers of that wave because so many people are not only starting their own podcast, but so many new listeners are coming on board and getting hooked on podcasts. It’s making advertisers pay attention, so they’re pouring revenue into advertising. And when that starts to happen, that’s when the mainstream velocity really kicks in. And that’s when you know if you’re on the early end of that wave, you’re going to be in a good place with your show because there’s just going to be more and more people coming in to consume your content.

Exactly. Okay, so let’s see. I think we’re getting most of our time. I don’t want to cut us off early, but give us a few more nuggets of wisdom and let everybody know where they can find out more.

I would love to. Yeah. I think in regards to your podcast guesting strategies, if you’re looking to use this platform to build your brand story, create new people in your circle of influence, I should say bring new people into your circle of influence. The guest marketing space is a great place to do that, and I’d love to have a conversation on if we could work together and I can help point you in the right direction and share some of those strategies. I’m in the process of launching a 30 day training course that’s going to help everybody be a better podcast guest. I would say right now

to keep things in perspective, make sure you’re staying consistent with your efforts no matter what you do.

Being a value driven podcast guest is all about getting your message out there consistently. Don’t hope the world will fall at your feet because it won’t do your part to provide value. Whenever you become a podcast guest on any show, it’s going to help the host create dynamic content that they’ll be proud to share with their audience. And they’ll put you over. They will sell you without you having to do any selling at all because they’re going to tell people to look you up. And this is really where I spend my time. So anybody listening to the show out there, if you’d like to get more from me, jump over to jasoncercone.com/terminalvalue. You can sign up for my free guide, which is ten tips for becoming a valuable, fully optimized podcast guest. And you can find me on YouTube. I’ll put a link in there as well. And you can, of course, listen to Evolution of Brand. All those links will be on that page, jasoncercone.com.

All right, so that is jasoncercone.com/terminalvalue. It appears we have some technical difficulties, but everybody be sure to go and check out Jason’s side. Hope you have a wonderful day. And I’ll talk to you later.

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