For those podcasters who are struggling with gaining success and exposure, you will learn a lot from John Livesay, The Pitch Whisperer. John has this amazing ability to connect. He helps sales people become magnetic storytellers with the ability to make irresistible offers. In other words, he teaches how to pitch yourself from invisible to investible. Like everyone else, he started his podcast without knowing anything about it. He was nervous and apprehensive to ask guests to be on his show. He started with a certain format or idea in mind and pivoted to what he wanted to focus on. John’s big thing for podcast success is learning how to ask for what you want and get a yes.
We’ve got a really fantastic guest for you today. This is one of our favorite people; one of our absolute favorite people to talk to, to connect with, so happy to have him us a client, just a joy to work with and talk with and interview. His name is John Livesay. He has The Successful Pitch Podcast among other things. John has this amazing ability to connect. He is great at introductions and always introducing me to the most interesting people and they’re always right on. Sometimes when I get an email from him I’m like, “Do I really want to interview yet another VR, AR expert?” I’m like, “But John did the introduction, of course I’m going to follow through.” I go and do it and it turns out to be the coolest person I’ve ever met with the coolest space and the coolest equipment and now I have to go see it. That’s just an example. It has always for me, follow the path, the connection. You may not understand why he’s making the connections for you, but the connections are brilliant. That’s what he really does well on his show.
Let us give you a little more of his specific background. John is known as The Pitch Whisperer. We have to say, that phrase was coined by Tracy. She coined it when she wrote an article about him. For those of you who have listened to the Ego Bait episode, it was pre Ego Bait that she called him that. It gave us the idea for it. It stuck too because he used that quote on the cover of his book. You’ll hear him talk about it. He is now The Pitch Whisperer. He helps sales people become magnetic storytellers with the ability to make irresistible offers to their ideal clients. That’s his goal. He’s also an amazing keynote speaker. He does it at corporations and increases sales from it. It’s in settings ranging from Gensler’s top management retreat where he’s speaking to these corporations to speaking to Coca-Cola’s CMO Summit. He’s the author of The Successful Pitch, which is the same name as his podcast. It’s Conversations on Going from Invisible to Investible.
It’s always been one of our favorite phrases, is that he’s teaching you how to pitch yourself from invisible to investible. In reality, that’s what he’s done with the show. That’s why we wanted to have him on the show. He started with podcasting which to him at the time, and you’ll hear him talk about it, it was a daunting task. It was a couple of years ago. He didn’t know how to do it. He was nervous about it and apprehensive about asking guests to be on his show, probably a lot of the same things that any new podcaster goes through. At the time, it’s like when we started. There was a bunch of people who had just started podcasting and put out courses and books but it wasn’t as formal as it is now where there’s all these courses that you can take and all these programs that you can do and you can learn how to podcast. Back then, we were on our own. It was like the Wild West.
John, like we and many podcasters at the time, started with a certain format or idea in mind about what their podcast was. As we all grow as podcasters, we pivoted as to what some of the focus was, some of the format was. That’s part of John’s story today is the most interesting, is to hear how he started and why he started his podcast was for a very good purpose to market and grow his business. Then, what he’s doing with it today is helping catapult him in the next evolution, much bigger evolution of his business. He’s managed it. That’s why we wanted to use him as the successful model for you today, is because we really see what he’s done. He’s integrated it into the core of his platform, of his business, of the way that he runs his business, of the way he operates it, of the way he enjoys it. He has passion for it. It’s become an anchor and the base for everything that he does.
He now is on television a lot. He’s got many, many television appearances for pitching his book and his podcast and that he is the speaker. He is a sought after personality to have on television. His big thing is how to ask for what you want and get a yes. Isn’t that really what we’re all after in one way or another?
You’re really going to enjoy this interview with John because as podcasters, whether you’re new or seasoned, the reality is you are in it for a reason and he is a great model or someone to model. He’s gone through a process to model of how you can use podcasting as a business tool, as a marketing tool, as a platform building tool, as all of those things. Let’s go to the interview.
Listen to the podcast here:
Podcast Success Tips with John Livesay
Thanks for joining us, John. We’re so excited to talk with you about your podcast, which is successful, and it’s The Successful Pitch, which we just love. What we really would love for you to do for our audience here is give some framework about why you decided to start a podcast way back.
Three years ago, I had started working for myself, deciding to help people with a pitch to get their startup funded. I’ve had some contacts in that arena and had some experience from having been in sales from Condé Nast for over fifteen years. I saw there was a problem to solve which was only 1% of pitches ever get funded. I thought, “I can help these people get a great pitch because they don’t know how to tell their tech story usually in a way that’s concise and compelling.” I started working with people and they said, “I really need a good pitch and I’m willing to hire you for that. I also need introductions to investors.” I said, “I don’t know how to do that and I don’t know any investors.” Then enough people kept asking me for that and saying, “We’ll pay you for both.” I said, “I’ve got to figure this out.” Someone said to me, “Why don’t you start a podcast and start interviewing investors then you could make introductions?” I said, “Why don’t I go to the moon?”
It sounded wild, right?
I didn’t have a clue of that. Quite frankly, for me, I had to realize I’m afraid of something here and I don’t even know what it is. I wrote a whole blog post on how to conquer the three phases of fear because I had to put some phases on it to even start this.
For me, the first fear was the fear of rejection which is I’m going to reach out to people and say, “Hi, would you like to be on my podcast?” Even if you’ve got your podcast up and running, there’s always a big fish. For me, the big fish was Kevin Harrington from Shark Tank; people like that. I didn’t start with big fish. I still started with some pretty big people like Judy Robinett. I was so concerned and some people did say this, “Can I hear some other episodes?”
When you’re starting, that is a hard thing. How often did you get rejected do you think?
Very little. I was surprised.
That’s what we keep telling people. That is something that we find people are often afraid of. They think that people are going to say no to them when they ask them to be a guest on their podcast. It’s been our experience that almost never happens. That is a big lesson.
A big name maybe wants to know all those details: downloads and other episodes. For the most part, people are pretty open to it. I said, “Even if somebody says no to me now, it’s not no forever. I’m not going to take it personally.” That’s what I’ve learned from being in sales.
That’s we’ve come across. We’ve never had someone say no to us for an Inc. interview or for a podcast interview. We have had someone say, “Not right now.”
The next fear for me was the fear of failure. I thought, “Let’s say, I invest some time and money on buying what to do here. I get some people to do this but I don’t edit it properly or nobody listens to it and I’ll be humiliated that I said I was going to do this and didn’t.” One of my early guests, Jay Samit, who wrote Disrupt You! said, “Failure is just feedback. Just keep going until you get a zombie idea so great it won’t die.” I just went, “All right.” Even if this fails at first, I may not be the perfect host on my first few episodes out, I’m not going to flip out that I didn’t ask the right questions or that I wasn’t as smartly prepared as I could have been because I’m still stumbling with the technology or whatever it was.” I’m going to be talking to people who have information I don’t have so sometimes I’m not going to ask the best questions at first until I got my feet wet. That was the second fear. The big one for me was the fear of the unknown, which is, “I don’t even know what mic to buy. I don’t know how to edit the podcast.”
The how-to piles up for a lot of people and becomes that big unknown.
It was overwhelming. It almost made me not do it. Luckily, I have you two now producing my podcast. Honestly, it’s a lot of work. I tell people it’s twenty hours worth of work to be on it, for me to get this produced and looking as beautiful as you two make it look with the shownotes and the images and the tweets and all that stuff, getting it up on all the right platforms. What’s interesting to me is another friend of mine, three years ago, said she wanted to do a podcast. She told me I was crazy to pay somebody to produce it for me when I could learn how to do it myself. I said, “I just know that this is my skill set and this is not my skill set. When I’m not doing what I love to do, I am miserable and it gets done wrong.” 160 episodes later, I have an episode a week or more sometimes, usually just one a week, and she still has yet to do it.
It’s a common thing that people say when they hear about there is a cost associated with setting up a podcast for you. You can do it yourself but if you want to pay someone to do it for you, there’s labor, there’s a lot that has to happen. We have always subscribed to the idea that we want to pay money to save time because our time is more precious and valuable. I don’t want to spend time to save money. We’ve had this exact conversation with our life coach when she was looking at, “I have a daughter who’s my assistant. She said she wants to learn how to do this podcast stuff.” I said, “If she wants to learn how to do something that she’s just going to learn it once and then you’re going to do it again and again and again, week after week, a very mundane task and it’s not actually going to grow your podcast, it’s not going to market your business, it’s not going to get you more, then why pay her to do that? She could do so much more for you.” That was our argument to it.
We have this thing. It happens all the time, John, when we go up and people will say, “You gave a great speech on brandcasting and on developing a podcast topic,” or whatever it is that we give a talk on. They’ll be like, “Where can I take your course and learn how to do my podcast?” I said, “We don’t have a course. Actually we have one, but we refuse to sell it to you because you won’t do it.” Out of all the times that we’ve taught it, only one person has done it.
I always use the analogy of, “Do you do your own taxes?” Some people say yes and I’m like, “I haven’t for years, nor do I ever intend to. Do you cut your own hair? Good for you if you do. Did you go to Supercuts? I don’t. Do you do your own 30,000-mile tune-up on your car? I don’t. I suppose all those things you could do yourself but, why? You hire a professional to do it. Why is this any different?” That’s my mindset.
We want to talk about really that a-ha you had when you decided to start your podcast. It’s a little unusual so a lot of people come into it with the mindset that, “My audience is the startup,” in your case, “the startup founders who want to pitch their tech, their idea, their service, whatever it might be. I should have a podcast that focuses on them and/or this is what I talk about, which is pitching, and I should have a podcast that focuses on me and what I have to say about pitching.” That’s actually not the best way. You came into it from the best direction possible, the way we see, the most success happen.
It’s fascinating because part of the intimidation with big VCs in Silicon Valley or Angels are that they’re very hard to get on the phone. If you have the opportunity to pitch them, they usually give you ten minutes in an Angel group. To ask someone to give you 30 minutes for a podcast episode is a big ask because they’re crazy busy and time is money and blah, blah, blah. They have to really trust you that you’re going to make them look good. What an opportunity for me to learn myself as well as for the listeners to find out, “Here’s from the horse’s mouth.” It’s not me saying, “Here’s what an investor wants to hear when they pitch.” This investor is telling you exactly what’s important to them.
They’re saying it, so you have to listen.
You would never get them to tell you on the phone. They don’t have time. That is one of the biggest a-has. Now that I’ve interviewed so many of them, I can start to group some big lessons in it. “Don’t boil the ocean,” that’s one of the great lines I’ve got from an investor. Amazon just sold books first and then they sold everything else. As far as my own business, my own confidence just soared when somebody would come to me saying, “I want to hire you for pitching. Do you have any interested investors?” I go, “Yes. Let’s look up my podcast. Go to my website, click on the podcast tab. Scroll up and down, here are four investors I have interviewed that specifically like to invest in fintech or mobile apps or whatever it is that you do.” Now, I have a whole category of different investors and different categories.
It isn’t just saying you have a Rolodex, which is a very old term, mind you. It’s one thing to just say that when you’re out there but you can show that.
Also, the way I keep those relationships alive, is I’ve created a private Facebook group for anyone who’s been a guest on my podcast.
Yes, actually because we are in your Facebook group, so we see that all the time.
Every week I post that and I’ve made all kinds of introductions to other investors that live in different cities that could possibly put deals together. It becomes this inner group connection and I can say to potential guests, “If there’s anyone I’ve interviewed that you wanted introduction to, you’re now part of The Successful Pitch family, let me know.” People love that.
That is really wonderful and you do use it well, especially when you hit the number of episodes. You’re at 160. When you hit at that high-level you have a great group of people to mix together. We do that with our WTFFF. We’ll end a call and we’ll say, “Who in the 3D printing industry can we introduce you to that would be helpful? Or, here’s my list of five that I wrote down as we were talking that I would like to introduce you to. Are you ready for that?” It is a wonderful thing as the podcast host to be able to have that and make that connections happen.
Then your guest had such a good experience, they start introducing you to their network to be a guest on your show. That’s how the Kevin Harrington came about. I was like, “Wow.” Now, I’m talking to people from around the world and getting to talk to people that I would never have even thought to reach out to. They said, “I was just on the show. You should be on it.” It’s amazing to see how that all takes over.
That’s something that people don’t do because they’re also afraid. They don’t make that secondary ask, which is, “If you’ve had a good experience here, would you mind introducing me to someone else?”
I didn’t even phrase it that way. ‘Would you mind’ sounds like it’s a huge favor. I think I’m doing them a favor. I say, “I try to give a lot to give my guests. Who else can I introduce you to? What else can I do for you?” Oftentimes, they’ll say, “That’s great, what can I do for you?” If you give a couple of things before you ask, I’ll say, “If there’s anybody that you think is at your caliber,” another compliment, “that would be a great guest knowing the kinds of people I like to have on my show, which are not only investors but speakers who give in a TED or TEDx Talk and typically have a best-selling book or an entrepreneur who got funded and had a successful exit and is now an investor, that’s the kind of people I like to interview now.” They’re like, “Yes, I do actually.” It makes them look good. I’m not asking for favors. To me, it’s an honor now at this point to be on my podcast. It’s not from an egotistical standpoint at all. I’ve got so many people who want to be on the show. My episodes are recorded, as you well know, all the way through May of next year. It’s not this fake scarcity thing.
That’s a point not to be under-emphasized here. As a podcaster now, you’re a seasoned podcaster, no question. You’ve got a great format and an incredible show going on. You do have people seeking you out to be on your show. To have already recorded all your episodes through May of 2018, and at the time we’re recording this, it’s November 2017, that’s six months out. That is prolific. It’s an accomplishment. It’s impressive. It also goes to the point of some people who are considering starting a podcast often say, “It’s going to take so much time. I don’t know that I can dedicate the time to it.” You, like we when we did it and built a team to handle it because we didn’t want it to take over what we really want to accomplish in our business, wanted to be a part of what we do but not be everything we do. You can’t get six months ahead recording a podcast unless you’re doing it efficiently.
What’s so fascinating to me, in addition to these amazing guests introducing me to their network, is when people do start to reach out to me. One of my big focuses now is being a keynote speaker. I thought I’m going to start reaching out to other speakers to get into that ecosystem like I did the investor ecosystem. Bernie Swain who is the Founder of the Washington Speakers Bureau, he has three former presidents that he represented: Tom Brokaw and Tony Blair and just an amazing list of famous political people that he represents. He had a new book coming out and he wanted to reach entrepreneurs with his message of how he started his speaking bureau. He reached out to me to be on the show. I thought, “This is wild.” I would never in a million years thought to ask him to be on my show and I didn’t know he had a book. That started a whole chain of events of me now being able to talk to people in his firm about possibly representing me even though I’m not “famous.” Then I decided to leverage that to other speaking bureaus.
I have a speaking agent and he sent that episode of Bernie being on the show to a few key other speaking bureaus and said, “Thought you’d might like to listen to Bernie’s journey. I find a lot of great takeaways,” and he listed two or three that we deal with. He said, “We all have to tell stories when we pitch a speaker to a client. The key person who’s really good at storytelling is John Livesay,” and he tells a little bit about me. Then he said, “If you’re interested in representing him, he’s willing to let a few of you be a guest on his podcast like Bernie.” Then I got Andrea Gold from Gold Stars Speakers Bureau to be a guest. I came in contact with an amazing speaker named Freddie Ravel who’s going to be on the show. He was with Earth, Wind & Fire and Carlos Santana. He’s spoken to Twitter and IBM in Shanghai. This guy is amazing.
That’s the one thing that we think that most people don’t realize that they can accomplish. A lot of the early podcasters because of fear, because of some of the things we’ve talked about, they don’t reach outside of their network to find someone to be a guest. Because they don’t do that, they’re limiting their great experiences, as you’re pointing out. They’re limiting their ability to move in to a new group and network with them and meet interesting and new people who have really cool backgrounds. They’re limiting all of that for themselves. To us, that’s the magic of podcasting that we love and we’ve loved since the beginning, is that we are going to learn something new every time we sit down to the mic. We’re going to meet somebody new, for us it’s every other time because we don’t do interviews every single time. We’re going to expand our mind and our network at the same time. To us, that’s way more valuable business. People look at it, “Podcasting is an interruption to my core business.” That is core to our business growth. For us, it’s essential.
You’re right and in sync. There’s a woman I interviewed, Eva Ho, who’s a big investor. She worked for a startup that got bought by Google and now she’s an investor. She’s a refugee from China, what a story. She spends 25% of her day leading people outside of the investment startup community so that she can continue to learn. I, of course, introduced her to my friend at Coca Cola. I’m like, “You guys are not in the same world and yet you can learn a lot of things from each other.” That’s how all that energy starts to take place. For me, it’s never about how many downloads, how much money can I make selling ads on my podcast. It’s all about this incredible networking because your network is your net worth, in my opinion.
I was able to, through helping people, get introduced to a speaking bureau in Hong Kong. I had a meeting with her via Skype. It was 8:00 AM here and 11:00 at night there because she stays up late at night. She said audio only. I said, “I understand, I’m sure you’re in your pajamas or whatever.” We had a wonderful chat about what I do and the possibility of companies over in Asia needing a speaker like me to come do what I do here. I said, “By the way, if you decided you want to represent me, I’d be honored to have you on my podcast. I just had Bernie Swain on.” She’s like, “I modeled my speaking bureau in Hong Kong on his speaking bureau. I would be honored to be on your show and yes, I’m going to represent you.” This is what separates me from all the other speakers. I don’t know anybody else who’s doing that.
This is exactly what we keep telling people that that’s how we use Tracy’s Inc. column and our podcasts. We use both things interchangeably and we don’t have any trouble scheduling speaking events. It’s just not going to happen there. We don’t even have to ask, they’re going to ask us. It’s wonderful. It’s really made it very easy for us. Also though, in the process we’ve discovered you’re screening so you realize whether or not it’s a right fit for you as you’re having a conversation.
Isn’t it true, John, that you’ve used your podcast, the network you’ve been building and the exposure you’re getting, to really bridge over from just getting more speaking opportunities that might be unpaid opportunities. Now, you’re really doing paid speaking opportunities. You’re not just speaking anywhere, isn’t that right?
Correct. I just spoke at Anthem Insurance through my speaking agent. Part of the credibility is I turned my podcast into a book. I picked ten of my favorite episodes of people that are fairly well-known and/or have a great social media following and repurposed the transcript, which is a great takeaway from people. Tim Ferriss has done it on a bigger scale. I didn’t even know he was doing that. I wasn’t trying to copy him. I’m not ashamed to say, “If you see somebody doing something great, copy that.” I turned the podcast into a book and it was a relatively short timeframe because I didn’t have to write it all. I got permission from all the guests. They were all thrilled to be in the book and they now have all promoted the book to their social media following. Then I was able to get on to television several times as the expert on How To Ask For What You Want… AND Get A Yes. That’s part of how I was able to get a speaking agent, “You’re not just a speaker, you’re a podcast host and author and you have a TV Sizzle Reel in addition.
We call that platform. If you wanted to get a book published, the old fashion way, the first thing they ask you is, “What’s your platform?” A platform is a combination of what you stand for, what do you speak about and how big a reach do you have essentially? How much engagement? How big an audience? Can you sustain them? They want to see that before they would ever even consider reading your proposal to them. Those worlds, it’s the same thing when you want to be on a TV show. They want to see that you’ve sustained an audience somewhere and podcasting is a really easy way to do that.
Going from not having a podcast to having a podcast, I would go to networking events and I would say, “I help people with their pitch.” They’re like, “Okay.” Now I say, “I host a podcast called The Successful Pitch.” Suddenly, I’m a journalist. “What’s your podcast? I want to download it on my phone right now.” You make introductions to some of the guests you’ve had and you help with the pitch, it’s a whole different framework. Even for companies, if you haven’t heard of my name, and who has, it’s like, “He’s appeared on ABC and CBS.” I even send them the Sizzle Reel before they hire me, especially in Asia, they love that. It all dovetails. You were kind enough to call me The Pitch Whisperer.
What’s really fascinating is if your audience listening today Googles ‘The Pitch Whisperer,’ which most people can remember that because your brain goes, “I know what a horse whisperer is, what’s a pitch whisperer?” You don’t have to remember my name. You don’t even have to remember the podcast, The Successful Pitch. If you Google ‘The Pitch Whisperer,’ I was shocked how much content comes up around me, from all the episodes I’ve been guesting on and talking about.
It is called author equity. That is a very key factor and it doesn’t mean you’re an author. It doesn’t mean that. It means who wrote the blog post. Whose site is it? Whose podcast is that? When your name is associated as the author of any of those things that are published on the internet, Google is giving you author equity power. It factors highly into their algorithm, especially when you see that author equity spread out across the internet and not just localized on your site only. You want to have a powerful site of course. You’ve posted guest posts out in other places. You’ve guested on other people’s podcasts. You’ve been featured on one of Tracy’s articles and others. Of course, you’ve been on TV shows. You have a lot of outpointing in as well.
As we’re doing this interview, we just Googled ‘The Pitch Whisperer.’ There are several pages of the Google search, but that whole first page, it is all you. What’s great is your website JohnLivesay.com came up as the very first thing. That’s what we like to see and we always work with SEO. Anybody can configure their website so that their company name or their website name or their personal name, when you type that into Google they come up as the first position in Google. That’s old school SEO and it’s what all those unsolicited emails you get from India all the time are trying to do for you. You have an entirely different phrase that is not associated with your name directly. What I mean is the phrase is not your name or it is not your website. Your website is coming up in the very first position of Google. Then all these other places that either their blog post for podcast of yours or these TV appearances where you’re mentioned on all sorts of other websites are all about you. They’re all pointing back to media appearances, things that you’ve done and all of that is going to link back to your website. That is a powerful thing. What you’ve achieved is domain authority without a domain, which is a really cool thing.
John, we’re so glad you came on and shared not only just your wonderful personality and wisdom, which we love to talk to you. There are a handful of people, and you are one of them, who has introduced me to the most interesting and new people. Jon Levy is another one of course he’s an influencer. Between the two of you, we’ve gotten introduced to the most interesting people in our networks. We’ve been having a lot of fun with that. We appreciate that over the years. You not only have sparkled us with your wonderful personality and all of that, but you’ve shared such interesting cool things about how easy it is to make a book, how much better it is to get gigs, how you really are focusing on serving both your listeners and your guests. That’s such a powerful thing that you do.
I love it. It lights me up. It brings me such joy and passion to interviewing interesting people and make it about them and then watch how it all unfolds. I could never have predicted this all happening. It all was from a decision of, “I’m going to try and make this happen. What do I have to do? What do I have to learn?” Then continue to use this tool to continue to be seen. I’m going to Slush in Finland. That’s 17,500 startups and investors all in one place in Helsinki. There’s actually something called the Nerd Bird from San Francisco nonstop to Helsinki that I’m going to be on. I just said, “I’m going to just tell them I host a podcast.” “Then you’re a media. Here’s your media pass.” It’s great.
We’re just so fascinated with how you continue to pivot and progress and keep passion alive in your show and what you’re doing. You’re a model to follow.
Thanks. I’m grateful to know you both as friends. Talk about integrity and excellence and creativity that you continue to bring to all the people who are lucky enough to be your clients.
Thank you so much, John.
Podcast Success Tips – Final Thoughts
This is going to be an evergreen episode for a long time. It doesn’t matter really what time you’re listening to this, whether it’s a new one or it’s just publishing or six months or a year from now. What John has gone through in this evolution of his podcast and using it as a tool is something. Not everybody has to do it the same way, everybody will do it a little differently, but the different things that he’s done are a perfect model. One thing we want our listeners to understand is don’t be intimated at all by the fact that John has six months of episodes already recorded. It is just a testament to the process that he uses to book his guests and to the value that he finds every month from talking to these people so he doesn’t miss the opportunity to do that and add on more.
We have lots of people say, “I don’t know if I can commit the time to starting a podcast. Am I really going to be able to sit down and record episodes on a regular basis?” We work with our clients on best practices so that you can do it in maximum of one day a month and often it doesn’t even take a whole day a month if that’s what you want to do. John is taking it to another level. The people that he’s interviewing are very important to expand his business network and his business opportunities as much as giving back to them and helping expand their networks with his contacts. It helps everybody’s business. This isn’t like it’s just recreational. Podcasting is integral to his business.
This is the other thing that we really think is fascinating about the way that John has done it. He could have said, “I want to focus on being a speaker and I’m pivoting my business right now away from just helping startups. That’s not my audience anymore. I’m just going to completely upend and stop this podcast and start another one or forget the podcast and just do this differently.” He didn’t. He was able to shift it and still keep the focus of what he talks about and who he is at the core, which is about being able to tell stories. That’s the core of what The Successful Pitch is about, storytelling to be able to pitch. You need to be a good storyteller if you want that pitch to resonate with who you’re pitching to. He was able to pivot his podcast to be able to do more of what he wanted in the business.
That’s really where so many podcasters fall apart. It isn’t doing what they thought it would do. It maybe isn’t having the resonance or attracting the right audience they thought it would attract. Instead of re-strategizing and pivoting it, they give up. That’s a huge mistake because there’s a lot of other equity, a lot of domain equity that happens as we can see, even when you’ve done 25 episodes. It has a tremendous amount of equity value that it’s added to you and to how you present yourself out there as a podcast host or how you’re building that platform out for yourself. To give up on that too quick, that means a strategy session. We don’t do a lot of pitching here on the show ourselves.
For those of you who are listeners who are not our clients, and we know a lot of the listeners are our clients and this is their way to get more and learn more and figure out how to make their show better, but even if you are, we want to remind you that we’re here to strategize with you. We are not just a service provider who just does the production side of things. We’re here to strategize with you and make your show better because our goal is to make better shows for your business. Not make better shows that make passive income or shows that just take advertisers. While that’s great and we help those kinds of shows, if you can make it build your business along with built itself into a monetization state later, then even better because you’ll stick with it then.
John has it right in that he is not only gaining from his show but he is serving through his show. By serving others, that we know many of our podcasters do, they are serving others through their show, but it’s through that serving that you actually get more back. Personally, part of our goal with podcasting is definitely to have a bigger audience, to be able to monetize, to do some of those direct things where there’s direct return on investment benefit. That is part of our goal but it is not the only goal. There are many, many goals beyond that that in many ways are more meaningful and been more important to our business than just the straight monetization. We’re only saying just because of that doesn’t mean we’re also going to ignore that potential of monetization.
That’s the short-sighted view of podcasting is the ones that come to us that say, “I want within six months to be able to pay for my show and in a year, I want it to pay me.” When you have that viewpoint of it doing something that tangible, you’re missing the point. If you’re structuring your show just to return an investment in terms of dollars of time or amount invested and you’re looking at it from a dollar standpoint, “If I can get this many sponsors for my show, then I’ve been successful doing it.” It’s not sustaining is what we found. It doesn’t fulfill you in terms of you being the personality and the passion behind it. That just isn’t enough.
At the same time, we’re also seeing with our clients with many of them, there is tangible return on investment to doing the podcast. We see it all the time. We have it ourselves. What we’re saying is that if you go in with the mindset that only the tangible matters, you’re missing out. It’s short-sighted. You’re missing out on the real value that we found, that John has found, that some of the more successful shows that we produce and the hosts we know have found, is that there is a lot of intangible in that connection process. There are a lot of intangibles in this associative and connection and networking that happens there. Not just, “I’m using this guest to boost my show to more listeners,” and it’s a direct, “I’m going to get more listeners out of it.” It’s not always a direct line like that.
When you get into the podcasting, you have to have a bit of an open mind in what is success going to be. You heard John say, he really doesn’t pay attention to how many plays or downloads he has on his podcast. That’s not important to him. The serving and the relationship, the network building for growing his business and his reach and for his life experience, his business experience is really what’s more important to him. That’s true of a lot of podcasters. They’re not focused on the numbers. Others are focused on the numbers but we’re happy to say, and we’re not going to completely out some of our other customers because we haven’t asked them ahead of time, but we have some that are, let’s say, a doctor. They’ve really in the first three months of their podcast, they absolutely know. We got reports that one has gotten ten new patients into their practice directly because of their podcast and other patients that were on the fence about whether to become a patient. With this particular practice, there’s some investment in becoming a patient. It’s not the cheapest practice, not like going to a normal doctor where insurance pays for it all maybe. They go and even if they’re on the fence he says, “Why won’t you listen to a couple episodes of the podcast?” and he says then that always closes them.
Warming up of leads is really an important aspect. You can’t assign a number to it but it does work. The lifetime value of that patient to the practice, just on a straight return of investment monetary level, the podcast is well-worth the time and money invested for that client. If you’re expecting dollars in in terms of sponsorship and dollars out and number of plays and translating to number of people in your funnel, when you look at it that narrowly, that’s where the mistake happens. There’s a lot of intangible benefits that you’re ignoring that can serve your business better. John Livesay has really found that key factors for his business and himself. He has done them to the nth degree. That’s what we love about John is he goes all the way.
There’s another aspect of who John is and what he does in terms of networking, connecting people that brings even more value to him. We want to use him as a little bit of an example here. That’s the whole point of this show. We’re using him as the model, the model for success. Anybody who’s listening to the show who is not a podcaster yet or not a client of ours, that we’re not producing their show, if you have ever wondered how expensive is it, you don’t understand the monetization probably, you think you can’t afford it, we’re going to tell you, you can get it for free. This is going to seem like a shameless plug and it’s really not meant to be. It’s just for you to understand part of the networking. John refers people to us and our clients that do that get credited episodes that they don’t have to pay for to produce. We have three clients who have never paid. We have some clients who have continued referring people to us that close and become customer of ours often enough that their production of their podcast, everything we do for them costs them nothing. We are very happy to do that. There is that opportunity for anybody. If you’re interested in learning about how you can get this for free, then you just need to reach out to us. Schedule a call. We can talk about it.
The point of is about serving. John didn’t do that because, “I want to get free episodes.” He did it because he appreciates the service, what we’re doing for him, and other customers do too. They want their other business people in their network to be able to benefit from the same kind of experience that he’s having. He pointed out that it brings up that caliber level. When you’re always looking for other people on that caliber level, isn’t that great if you can help bring them up? When you see that they’re great but they’re just missing something in their business and they’re just not quite doing that and when you can suggest that and help them, that’s one of the things that we feel John does really well when he connects people. He’s saying, “You’re missing out. You don’t have enough.” It happens all the time. “You don’t have enough articles written about you. I know this columnist. I know she’d be excited about what you’re doing.” The introduction there served us both. We get to write a great story and John has been the hero helping someone get some publicity, which they probably really needed. It works out for everyone. That win-win-win situation is really what John is all about. We’re so glad that he’s done that through podcasting and so glad we got to meet him through that. That’s just been one of the best connections we’ve made in the last couple of years.
This is how we met John Livesay. At some point, in the last couple of years, we decided we were going to test out our new podcast, which hasn’t actually launched yet but it’s about to. We were going to test out the concepts. One of the things that we like to do is market test, market proof, make sure the topic is of interest to the core audience. We went on twelve podcasts to talk to Amazon sellers and innovation and inventors. We wanted to see where the market was and see if there was a play for our new podcast, which is actually launching in a month, Product Launch Hazzards. This was testing it quite some time ago, a couple years ago. We were testing the early stage of the concepts. We used a placement agency to place us on this podcast because we didn’t know these hosts and we didn’t want to do the research so we had another company do it for us.
John was being represented by them as well. What he was doing was he had just launched his show and he was boosting it by showing up on other people’s podcast with the right audience, which is a really good method. One good way to promote your podcast is to go on another podcast, if you have complimentary. The person who was placing us happen to be the same and she introduced us to each other. He was one of the first articles Tracy ever wrote for Inc. It was like the first dozen or so, ten or twelve that she wrote. He was one of them. After being introduced with him, we knew we needed to interview him. We did an interview and then we’ve had just this wonderful connection, relationship where he’s introduced us to fabulous people since that moment.
It’s been definitely one of those mutual relationships of networking and sharing and introducing others. We would invite him to events down here in Orange County. He’s in LA and then he invite us to events up in LA and became this wonderful thing. Along the way somewhere, we started this business which has become Brandcasters and Brandcasting You. He saw what we were doing and he’s like, “That’s an upgrade from what I’m doing with my show.” Now, we produce his show. It has happened at an event before that we are such good friends. We’re sitting next to each other having to chitchat. People would be like, “Are you brother and sister?” Because Tracy and John are both dark in color and everything like that and we’d be like, “Kind of.” It’s just become that kind of relationship. In fact, Tracy and John have spoken from the same stage at least once at the City Summit.
We really hope you enjoyed that interview with John and this discussion about really what you can do to get more out of your podcast and use it as a tool for your business. It’s just one method, one way that John is doing it but he’s doing a lot of things. It’s a successful model that we would love for many of you to follow because we think it’s going to serve your business on a whole better and serve your time better too. Don’t forget to reach out to us anywhere on social media @FeedYourBrand. We have our Feed Your Brand Facebook page. If you haven’t liked it, you may want to go do that because that’s where we share all of the posts from all of our clients. If you have a comment, something you want to share relevant to this interview with John, leave a comment down below.
Thanks for listening. This has been Tracy and Tom on Feed Your Brand.
- Important Links
- The Successful Pitch Podcast
- Ego Bait episode
- The Successful Pitch
- Washington Speakers Bureau
- Tracy’s Inc. column
- How To Ask For What You Want… AND Get A Yes
- TV Sizzle Reel
- Jon Levy
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About John Livesay
As a keynote speaker, John has captivated audiences in settings ranging from Gensler’s top management retreat to Coca-Cola’s CMO Summit. He is also the author of The Successful Pitch: Conversations On Going From Invisible To Investable and the host of “The Successful Pitch” podcast, which is heard in over 60 countries.
John has appeared on TV (CBS, FOX and ABC) as the expert on “How To Ask For What You Want And Get A Yes.” Audiences love him because they know he’s been in their shoes. During a 20-year career in media sales with Conde Nast, John worked across all 22 brand n their corporate division, and was the recipient of salesperson of the year honors.
John currently lives in Los Angeles with his two King Charles Spaniels who welcome him home after he returns from his keynote talks, reminding him of the importance of belly rubs. He is an active supporter of Project Angel Food, which delivers food to people who are homebound with critical illness.