It’s time to talk about marketing. In this episode, Tracy Hazzard comes back to enlighten on how to promote your podcast to grow your audience. Tracy is a seasoned media expert and the host of The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand – one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. Tune in as she shares valuable insight on guest strategy and podcast marketing that will help your podcast expand its reach. Watch out for actionable tips you can start applying today, and check out Tracy’s upcoming book, Feed Your Brand, to learn more.
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Feed Your Brand With Tracy Hazzard
We have a guest that we are going to have twice this month because she is releasing two books in one month. It’s part of a microphone package as well. I’m excited to have Tracy Hazzard on our show to talk about podcasting and her new books. Before we get started, don’t forget to go over to www.BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com. Get your free subscription. What are you going to find in there? There are lots of things you probably don’t know about the publishing industry if you are getting ready to publish a book.
They are things that you definitely need to know about contracts, Amazon, extended distribution, and all sorts of things that authors go into this. They have no idea what the language is that publishers are using. A lot of times, the expectations don’t meet product deliverables. It’s super important to get through that.
Also, I’m highlighting some of the authors who have made bestseller lists and are doing amazing things with their businesses incorporated as well. What we specialize in is having you understand, “That book it’s how you use it and it’s not a business card.” I hate to tell you this. I know so many people are saying, “It’s a business card.” It’s not. It’s a nurture tool. A business card is, “Hello, I’m Juliet.” A nurture tool is, “I’m here to help. How can I help in providing value and not pushing for a sale before I even know you?” It’s nurturing. Also, don’t forget to go over to Superbrand Publishing on YouTube.
Tracy Hazzard is a seasoned media expert with over 2,600 interviews from articles in Authority Magazine, BuzzFeed, and her Inc. Magazine column, and her multiple top-ranked videocasts and podcasts like The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand. One of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts is Feed Your Brand.
Tracy brings diverse views on what works and what doesn’t work in marketing, branding, and media from thought leaders and industry icons redefining success around the globe. Tracy’s unique gift to the podcasting, marketing, and branding world is being able to identify that unique bingeable factor. It’s the thing that makes people come back again, listen actively, share raving fans and buy everything you have to sell, which is really important.
I will share with you she has been pivotal in my company’s growth. We have been accountability partners since 2018. We meet once a month. We establish shows together. She has opened my eyes to some of the new things going on out there because I’m always looking for things in the publishing world. All of my people need content. She has opened my eyes to the podcasting world and media, along with some of the other guests who have been on here, too. She has been most pivotal in that respect. Here’s Tracy.
If you didn’t read the episode on April 27 with Tracy Hazzard, go back and read that. In this episode, we are going to talk about the second book that is in this microphone package. This episode is the good, hard, and marketing stuff. The second book is Feed Your Brand. Creating Your Binge Factor was the first one. It’s how to set up your podcast. We are going to talk about Feed Your Brand and how to market the hell out of this thing. Welcome, Tracy.
Thank you, Juliet. The marketing part is what everybody struggles with. Even the best podcasters tell me that.
Here’s the thing. People are always looking for ROI on their podcasts. The marketing is where you are going to get those people coming in. As we talked about a little bit the first time, have a plan, but this is where your plan makes you money. Most people are looking to add revenue. That’s not it for most of them. Can you talk about that a little bit again?
First things first, if you think you are going to publish a podcast and listeners are going to show up, you are probably wrong. Very few people launch their show and it succeeds. That almost never happens. I can tell you that pre-2015, it used to happen. It happened to us. It was a lot easier. I started a brand-new one every single year since 2015 so that I can be in it with my clients and see how hard it is now to launch one. It is hard to market.
Is the exception to that true crime? Seriously, when I look at true crime, I seem to gravitate and it doesn’t matter if they don’t have listeners.
This is the thing. There are a lot of listeners out there looking for something new, but the reality is almost all networks own true crime shows. There are very few independents going into true crime. It’s all being pushed out to you. You don’t realize it because of how the system works.
I was listening to one. He used to be my favorite author. He is not anymore. He got too political. I thought he was one of the worst true crime podcasts I ever heard. I’m like, “Go back to fiction.”
Those things happen. Everybody is like, “This genre is taking off, so I’m going to join it.” Many people jump on the bandwagon. When there’s a conglomerate owning most of it, that’s what you are going to see first. That’s what everybody else sees. It’s what they read about in all the magazines and publishing. The marketing out there on those, they have a lot of dollars they put against it. You can’t compete in that in an independent way unless you are working hard in a grassroots way.If you think you’re just going to publish a podcast and listeners are going to show up, you’re probably wrong. Click To Tweet
Everybody thinks automatically, “In marketing, I’m going to go find people to run ads on my show. It’s going to pay for my show. That’s how I’m going to build my ROI, listening audience, and income. That’s how I’m going to be the next Joe Rogan. I can’t wait.” Tell me I’m wrong.
Unfortunately, you are wrong because less than 2% of podcasts qualify for advertising because they don’t have enough listeners yet. The ones that happen are I get these clients who come to me and they will be like, “I’m going to get a top-level sponsor right away.” I’m like, “Who do you know? Do you already have relationships? Do you already have affiliations? Do you already have sponsors for other things that you do that you have earned that ability because your podcast hasn’t earned it yet?”
You can, if let’s say you are a high-level Instagram or TikTok influencer and you have relationships with brands all the time. They are willing to come onto a new media type with you and be on the ground floor. That can absolutely happen, but it’s not going to happen until you prove that you’ve got listeners and great guests because you’ve got to have some big-name guests in addition to that and that you have done that. Most podcasts usually take between 25 and 100 episodes before you can earn the right even within a niche and a small audience base to have sponsors and advertisers. You can’t do it right away.
I want to go back to something you said, the big names. Everybody is going out trying to get a big name on their podcast. My experience with the big names is they don’t promote. They don’t do anything that is going to help me. Is that a pretty typical experience?
It’s absolutely typical. The purpose of getting a big name on your show is to get other guests who matter to you, who will be attracted because that big name went on your show. If you want to get big CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and get Richard Branson or some big name on your show, you will get all those other CEOs you want access to. It’s your strategy of who is going to appeal to them and attract those other guests. In the sports world, you’ve got to get the right person in the right area for you to track the other athletes you want.
It’s the everyday athletes. It’s the ones that might be your clients if you are trying to do financial planning or whatever it is that you are trying to do with your podcast. To attract the right ones, you’ve got to get the one that attracts them. That’s where I say celebrity, but they do a terrible job of promoting shows. Their teams don’t do well with that. Part of it is that you don’t know how to get to their team to give all the information. You might have somehow managed to get them on your show, but you didn’t get them to want to promote it.
The exception to this is I had a podcaster I interviewed early on in The Binge Factor, which is one of our shows. They are The Secret Life of Weddings. They are from Canada. They were big friends of Kevin James and his daughter got married. It was rumored that he wore his hockey jersey. That makes sense. It totally is him. It’s rumored that he was threatening to do it and they wanted to find out if he did it. They started tweeting him and because he handles his own Twitter messages, he responded back to them and came on their show.
He promoted being on it because he had such a good time, and it was all personal connection. If they had gone through his publicist and his team, it’s likely they would have never gotten him on, to begin with. If they did, then that team would have never promoted it. If you can make a personal connection and then they have a good time with you, you might get them to do something like tweet it out. That’s the rarity that I found over all the interviews that I have done with successful podcasters. The celebrities don’t do it for you.
It’s a good thing I don’t have an ego that I introduced you to Mike Michalowicz’s team. They made me wait for three months and they took you the next week. I was like, “What?”
It’s because they wanted the association with any columnist. They needed something from the relationship. They rewarded you with eventually letting them on your show, but they put you into the production or publicity plan.
I remember that. I was like, “What do you mean you are interviewing him next week? I had to wait until July.” Sometimes that backfires, so you have to cultivate and not go after. I’m not going to say who it was. You asked me to have somebody on my show and I liked his wife better than I liked him. He is a big-name author. I thought his wife was cute as a button. You could talk to her all day.
What makes a good interview and a good name associated with your name might not be the same thing. Part of your marketing strategy is your guesting strategy or who you are interviewing. If you don’t do interviews at all, it’s the topic strategy as part of that marketing strategy. To say that marketing is all outside push isn’t the case. Sometimes our content in itself is marketing. We need to remember that and use it strategically.
Use it in a way that gives out your authority without being stuffy and snotty. Being in the publishing world, a lot of people are like, “This is our proprietary information. I don’t care.”
There are some people who are like, “Their podcast is all paid. They want someone to pay to be a guest on their show.” The reality is that what happens is diminishing returns over time where that was good in the early days. It no longer works. Now, the people who can pay are the people who have the least authority. They need the power of association. Your show is getting worse over time and now you should be commanding the price that you have been charging for it.
That is such a great point because there are a few out there. You were on one of the shows. You are friends with him, so he didn’t make you pay. There are a couple out there that charge a pretty hefty sum to be on. I’m also skeptical when someone reaches out and says, “I can have you on my show. This would be amazing. It will be $500.” You have to put on your little snotty cap and go, “I don’t pay for stuff like that.”
It’s when they tip over $5,000 and you are like, “Is it worth it nowadays?” Take a good look. Usually, when they pitch you out, they are talking about the five guests they had that were so amazing on it, but those guests were hundreds of episodes earlier. The most recent guests are people you don’t want to be associated with. It happens in publishing all the time.
I get asked to be a part of the Top 10 Tech CEOs. I’m like, “Tell me who the other tech CEOs are that I’m going to be on before I pay this money.” They tell you and I’m like, “I never heard of them. Until you are going to put me up there along with other tech CEOs that I want to be associated with, it’s not worth my paying that money for.” The thing about our guesting model is that if we are going to pay for it, you’ve got to make it worth it.
Repeat after me, “I don’t pay for hookers.”
The reality is you don’t need to and you shouldn’t in the podcasting world. To market your own show, there shouldn’t be a lot of pay because it doesn’t work. You can’t pay like you can pay within the Amazon ecosystem to sell books within Kindle. You can’t pay to advertise your podcast the way that you can advertise books. You can pay out on social media, but you’ve got to get people to come off of social media and go subscribe somewhere else. Social media doesn’t even love the ads you put in there because they send people somewhere else. They don’t love it.
It’s not always an effective strategy to do a paid model. I’m always testing paid models and I’m working on a paid subscriber test model. It has not lightened the world on fire. It’s not worth the dollars I’m spending on it, but my show is not a startup. I’m also going to try it on a startup show next and see what happens there because it might help build a little bit of base that would be good for a starting show where my show already has traction. It’s not enough. I can get that much traction organically on its own.
Let’s say I have a brand-new podcast. I decided to go out and do some paid advertising. Don’t you have to evaluate where my audience is? One of the things I see with authors is, “I’m a dietician, but I have a group on Facebook?” Your people aren’t on Facebook. Your people are on LinkedIn.Part of your marketing strategy is your guesting strategy or who you’re interviewing. Or, if you don’t do interviews at all, it’s the topic strategy as part of that marketing strategy. Click To Tweet
Do you have someone evaluate, to be honest with you about, “That’s not where you belong? Your audience is here.”
If you are an author already, you do understand the target of your book. You understand who that’s going for because it was written with someone in mind. With podcasts, you are not always sure who your audience is or sometimes your podcast is so general because you created it that way. You didn’t think about that niche or focus. I prefer to go into interest areas versus demographic areas. If I say my podcast is for women over 50 and it’s about finance, I would rather go into areas of finance interests than I would go to where women over 50 are.
It doesn’t make sense to me. That’s too broad because not all those women have the same financial needs. Not all of them are at the same stage of life. There are different things going on there. I want to go where they are searching for that information most, “Where can I find that? How can I be associated with it?” It’s more of a topic and keyword strategy that I find works best in terms of being helpful. I’m always looking for alignment there.
That’s why I’m so picky about the podcasts that I personally go on and do exchanges with. I have a lot of people on my show because my show is focused on podcasters. If you’ve got a podcast, you are right for my show. You need to have enough success in there, but that’s the only criteria. It doesn’t matter on the other side of things, but when I’m going to go guest on someone else’s show, I need to make sure there’s alignment and topic so that I can tap into a greater number of their audience that I can help.
I love that strategy about topics because I showed you some reports that we get that are topic-based now. It was incredible to look at where these people consume media and what kind of podcasts they consume. They were a little heavy on the male demographics because I don’t believe in that. Did you notice that?
I was going to ask you about that. That was exactly what I said. I was like, “It’s my experience that women are heavier readers than men. I don’t understand where these numbers are coming from. Is it because of the niche area? It might have been the topic area that happened to be a little more male-heavy.” It surprised me.
We were looking at mindfulness. I would expect that with porn.
It doesn’t surprise me in podcasting because podcasting is still a little bit heavier in male listenership. That doesn’t surprise me at all if I found that out about podcasts. It happens to be the larger number of listeners. Women listeners and Latina listeners are fast-growing areas. There are different demographics that I expected to tip in the next few years so that it will be more mirrored towards the general consumption population and other media types in products and books.
Over on Amazon, you can ask them to open particular categories. In this age of diversity and inclusion, it surprises me how light the Black category section is.
It’s such a disappointment.
They consume the same things that we do. Why don’t we have just as many categories for them as you do for the rest of the population?
It’s not any different in podcasting. Diverse voices are very hard to get seen, heard, and found. You have to work the system. It’s like a blind audition. If you think about The Voice, we don’t know who that voice is. We don’t know who they are and what they are. The problem is that when I’m searching for that, it’s not coming up in search. It’s not being served to me. That’s the biggest criticism over the publicity process of what is on the homepage of Spotify. What turns up in the New and Noteworthy or the top 10 or 50 list of Apple charts is that it’s not a clear algorithm as to impact listeners.
It’s like the New York Times Best Seller list where some editorial staff controls it. It’s hidden behind the scenes. Money controls this process. No one knows how to tap into it and game it. No one knows how to even pay for it because so many conglomerates are already spending money on Apple, Spotify or Spotify-controlled shows. They have gained the system for themselves within that process to benefit their own sponsors and partners.
That is so true because if you look over on Apple, we are a hybrid company now. We are over on Apple. They are very transparent about, “If you are not a traditionally published book, you won’t be a bestseller here.” Their algorithms don’t support it. That’s probably because there’s money behind those bigger books. Breaking down into those categories and topics, what else do people have to be clear on inside of their podcast marketing?
You have to be clearly focused on the audience. You have to clearly serve them if it’s a self-service model. In other words, if I’m all focused on brand me, the show is named after me. Everything is about me. I’m pushing my book every time I turn around or I’m pushing my programs, and there isn’t enough content in there for the listener, they aren’t going to give it enough time. They aren’t going to binge enough on it to say, “I need your help. I would like more. I want to buy the book.” Whatever that might be, they aren’t going to give it enough time to get to that state of thought process.
The consumption model is an earned process, “You’ve got to earn my trust and interest. When you do that, I’m going to buy everything you have, ask you for more things, and recommend you to others.” It’s going to come back to you tenfold, but you’ve got to earn that right. If you are always doing this like, “We are going to talk about this topic. You lightly touch it,” and then you say, “You need to buy my book to get the answer,” that’s not going to fly in the podcasting market.
We had something that had happened with somebody that came on.
Whether you are guesting on some other people’s shows, which is a great marketing strategy, but if you are guesting on other people’s shows and you are doing that, then at the end of the day, you are going up against people who are freely giving and sharing. The contrast is so high that it turns out people won’t keep listening. They won’t come to find you anywhere. They are not going to consume more.
You guys who read this regularly, we had Jacquie Jordan on who talked about, “When you are a media guest, it’s the same thing. You are not there to pump your book. You are there to talk about how you are serving with what expertise you have. You can’t be blathering about buy this, buy that, and make it all about you.” In that context, let’s talk a little bit about authors and guesting. First of all, when people pitch me, I have to tell you 9.5 out of 10 of those people pitch themselves and you can tell they have never listened to the show. Podcasters are looking for quality guests.
Is it out of line for me as a podcaster to require a set-up interview, where we pre-interview and find out if they are good for the show? Is it appropriate for me to look at every pitch and tell people, “This is why you are not getting out there?” You ask them to listen to shows and tell you what you’ve got out of it. How does that work from a podcaster’s standpoint?
Every podcaster does it differently. A few of them have teams. Even if they have a company, usually, their show is this ad hoc thing that they have added on and have done personally. There are very few podcasts, especially in the independent world, that have teams that are involved in that. They have to come up with some systems. I get probably a dozen emails a day pitching me. It’s pretty frequent and my team screens that. The email address associated with my podcast is not my email address. It’s the one that I send to my team.
My team will go through it and they won’t even send me any pitches that are all about them. If they don’t express an interest in knowing my show and what it’s about, they don’t say in the pitch that they are a podcaster because that’s a requirement for my show. If they don’t say, “I have my own podcast,” then they won’t even check them. They will send an auto-rejection immediately. If they find out they are a podcaster, they will go check out their show or they might offer them an opportunity to apply and we have an application. That’s how we do it to make it a little more efficient through the process.
In the application, it asks these questions like, “How many episodes have you done? How long have you been doing this for?” It gets a sense that they are probably far enough along in it. The only other thing my team will check is how long their episodes are because if they are doing five-minute episodes, it’s not worth my time to talk to them. There are people out there who do that. They do these short little things. It’s not worth my time to interview someone unless they might be doing those seven days a week because compounding has a different effect.
If they are associated with Wondery or a big-name network, we also don’t want to interview them because my show is focused on helping independence. They’ve got the power behind them. I found that I did interview a few people because I wanted an association with Wondery. The names of people who have been on my podcast wanted that. They don’t know how to talk about their show. They don’t do anything but show up. They are paid to record. They are just voices at the end of the day. They don’t have a lot of input into the content.You have to be clearly focused on the audience. You have to clearly serve them. Click To Tweet
They don’t do a lot in that process and because of that, they make terrible interview subjects because they don’t have any answers that can help anyone. They are like, “Here’s how I got my job.” That’s about the only thing they can answer. That’s where screening is important. Most podcasters are relationship builders. That’s the best thing. I ask previous guests, “Who else should be on my show? Who do you know? Who have you had on your show that should be on my show?”
These are the things that I ask and I don’t have a problem getting more guests. In fact, I have a waitlist. It’s not a problem. I also bring back guests. That’s also a great way to do it. It’s to touchpoint back to someone and brings them back again because if they were good guests before, coming back a couple of years later and now I’m doing a touchpoint with them, it reinforces our relationship, which then brings me more great people the next time, too.
I’m usually about three months out on mine because I don’t have those pitches that come in. I don’t think I have ever picked up one because I have a backlog of guests. You and I were talking about Mark Herschberg. He was not only a great guest on both of our podcasts, but he referred people all the time that he thinks would be good guests because he has researched and been on the show.
He is an exception because he built a relationship with me. He is not a podcaster. He is a serial podcast guest. When he was on my show, I was his 99th interview. He had been on 98 podcasts before me. That’s why I did it because I thought that would be a fun number to do. He met me on Clubhouse. I like what he had to say and how he shared. Even though he wasn’t a podcaster, I thought he could add value to my audience because his perspective could inform podcasters on how to be better at what they do. It was all relationship that got me to invite him and nothing else. That’s the best way to make it work.
What else can we expect to see in Feed Your Brand?
It’s going to be the ways that we get seen, heard, and found. A lot of them are technical things. We are going to talk about bots. We are going to talk about how to make sure that we optimize some of the things in our listing for our show in how we put out our episodes and how we share our episodes with our guests so that they do a better job of sharing on social media and adding to their website. Those things are also going to allow us to be found.
The found part is what we want the most because when people are searching for podcasts to listen to, we are always searching for a new podcast because we get bored. It’s like searching for new Netflix shows. Netflix has come out with a new thing where you can remove things that keep popping up in there that you don’t want so that you can stop getting cluttered. It’s a new feature and I’m fierce at that. I use a Flipboard as my newsfeed. That’s what I use because they let me dislike things in a way. They let me tell me, “Don’t send me more of this.”
I can teach it to be smarter about what it gives me. It gives me a limited view set, so I can read what I want to read and get moving on to my day. It’s helping me curate better. That’s where everyone is looking for. Where do we go to curate our podcasts? We go to our friends. We go to Google a lot. The number one place people search for what are the best podcasts in a particular area is on Google. We use the search engine, and that is within Apple, Spotify or whatever listening app we are using.
We need to make sure that we are showing up there at the top level we can. How do we do that? How do we go about that? Most of it is a bot thing. It’s an algorithm that controls it, not humans. We need to make sure that we are there for the human piece, relationship building, list building, and the referrals that are going to happen. We are there with great bot traffic because if the bot decides we are not valuable, it doesn’t matter how great our book is.
I want to go back to something you said before we wrap up, putting your podcast guest on your site. Scott Carson, if you go over to We Close Notes, he is the king of this. If you want to be a good podcast guest, talk about that a little bit because I have been putting it off. I have been on over 100 podcasts. It’s a lot of work to get it caught up, but once you get it caught up, it’s not difficult.
When I’m a guest on a show, I have a whole, “Here’s what you are going to get from me.” When I bring a guest on, “Here’s what you are going to get from me, and here’s what I would like you to do.” It’s an education process on both sides. I try as a guest to model the ideal behavior I would like from my guests so that they see how it works.
The ideal model is someone who sends you a link and says, “Thank you for being on my show. Here’s the link to the podcast.” The first thing I do is get rid of the Apple link because they usually send me the Apple link to the audio file for the podcast. I say, “Is it on your website? I want to share that.” We go back and share our podcasts off of our own websites or share it from my guest’s websites because, at the end of the day, that will serve them the best.
If I’m on their show and they are sending everybody over to Apple, I’m distracted by what is going on in Apple. I’m not getting what is on their website and I’m not sharing that with my audience, so your website isn’t benefited. Your brand isn’t benefiting. Apple is benefiting. They’ve got plenty of subscribers and users. They don’t need more from you, giving away your authority. That’s the first thing that I do.
The second thing is that you’ve got to have some visuals and media. It’s media, to begin with, and I can’t just say, “Here’s the podcast link.” I’ve got to have a little video clip, a quote or something that you are giving them. For our clients on Podetize, when we send them out, we are always giving out what we call Ego Bait™ graphics, which is a picture of the host, a picture of the guest, and a quote that the host says about the guest.
You are more likely to share that because it sounds like a testimonial, but you are also more likely to put that on the press page for your website. That’s something that I do. Every single time within 1 week to 2 weeks of being a guest on someone’s podcast, my press page is updated with their show in there with the information with the direct link back to their website. I’m providing cross-linked value, which is so highly ranked in Google. It’s giving tremendous value to their website and my website. It’s growing both at the same time.
These are the things that we strategize and we do. We want to make sure that we are giving our guests as podcast hosts the best ability to do that, “How do you embed something in your website? You may not know. I’m going to give it to you so that you can know. I have a video for how you can do it yourself. I’m giving you the training to utilize it in its best format.”
We get emails from top guests around the country who have been on some of our client’s shows who say, “I have never received this from anything. This is so professional.” It makes our clients look good. They come back and thank us for having done that. What it does is create this robust cross-promotion that we all desperately need at a highly valuable level. It’s not too much to ask of anyone, but it’s the most valuable thing you can do.
Tracy, thank you again so much. Her book is Feed Your Brand. It’s going to be available on Amazon on May 17, 2022. If you are reading this, you can go over and buy it in pre-sale. It’s ready to go and you can buy that other book that we released, Creating Your Binge Factor. That became available on May 3, 2022.
Thank you, Juliet.
- Tracy Hazzard
- Superbrand Publishing – YouTube
- The Binge Factor
- Feed Your Brand
- The Secret Life of Weddings – Previous episode on The Binge Factor
- Apple Podcasts – Promote, Profit, Publish
- Mark Herschberg – Previous episode
- Show – Mark Herschberg’s Previous Episode on The Binge Factor
- We Close Notes
About Tracy Hazzard
Tracy Hazzard is a seasoned media expert with over 2600 interviews from articles in Authority Magazine, BuzzFeed, and her Inc. Magazine column; and from her multiple top-ranked videocasts and podcasts like The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand – one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. Tracy brings diverse views from what works and what doesn’t work in marketing, branding and media from thought leaders and industry icons redefining success around the globe. Tracy’s unique gift to the podcasting, marketing, and branding world is being able to identify that unique binge-able factor – the thing that makes people come back again and again, listen actively, share as raving fans, and buy everything you have to sell.