Creating a Podcast with IMPACT featuring Tara McMullin (Transcript)

In today’s episode, Tara is going to divulge all the ways in which we can make an impact in our communities through podcasting and so much more.

This is a transcript of Work Less, Earn More, Episode 34. Listen to the episode here.

Tara McMullin:

Why not just ask for the sale? Because these people are invested week after week after week in hours of your content for the express purpose of the thing that your product or service does. I think if more podcasters asked for the sale directly from their show, they would see better results from the podcasts they’re producing.

Gillian Perkins:

We became entrepreneurs because more than anything, we want freedom. We want to be in control of our own schedule, income, and life. But unfortunately, that isn’t always the reality of being a business owner. I’m Gillian Perkins, and I’m on a mission to take back entrepreneurship for what it’s supposed to be. In every episode, I’ll share with you how to get the most out of every hour you work, so that you can work less and earn more. Let’s get to it.

Gillian Perkins:

Hey there everyone, and welcome back to another episode. Today I’m joined by Tara McMullin, who is the founder and host of What Works and the What Works Network, which is a platform for connecting small business owners so that they can talk about what’s really working in their businesses. She’s also the co-founder of yellowhouse.media, which is the company that produces this podcast. I mean, I don’t mean this the wrong way, but she kind of had an in. She was going to get on the show at one point or another. Actually, I asked Tara, and I was really honored to have her say yes and to come on the show today, to talk to you about creating a podcast with impact.

Gillian Perkins:

There’s a lot of resources out there on the internet about how to start a podcast, both the tech side of it and also maybe how to plan a podcast that will be popular. But we want to take a different perspective today, and I’m going to ask Tara about how we can really plan a podcast that will not only be successful in terms of numbers, in terms of listeners and that sort of thing, but also in terms of the actual impact that it has on your business and on your revenue.

Gillian Perkins:

So hey there, Tara, welcome to the show.

Tara McMullin:

Well, thanks for having me, Gillian, I’m so excited to be here.

Gillian Perkins:

Well, I’m excited to talk to you about podcasting, because as you know, this is something that’s still pretty new to me, and I’ve still got questions about how to really build a podcast and how to have it impact my business as well. I’ve got all sorts of personal questions that I want to ask you. But I wanted to actually start out by asking you about something that you wrote on my intake form when we were planning out this episode. You said that if you only had 20 hours per week to work, you would focus on, quote, “Creating exceptional podcast content and being present and engaged with your online community.”

Gillian Perkins:

I thought that that was a really strong statement because I don’t think that those are things that most people would focus on if they only focused on a few things in their business. Could you start out by telling me why you would focus on podcast content and engaging with your online community?

Tara McMullin:

Yeah, absolutely. Those two things are really the core activities of our business, the core drivers of the What Works business. I should clarify that I’m speaking specifically about What Works, which is the business that I’ve been running for over a decade now. I’d probably choose different things if I were talking about Yellow House Media, maybe we could talk about that another time. But for What Works, and in really thinking through how my podcast drives our business, those are the things that I do actually spend a huge chunk of my time on.

Tara McMullin:

I should probably also clarify that I have teams for both of the companies that I run, so I work with a lot of other people. Well, a lot is relative. But I work with people who can take on a lot of the admin work, a lot of the customer service work, a lot of the technical work. My job really is creating exceptional content. Mostly that happens in the form of our podcast. That content drives the relationship that people have with me, it drives how they find out about our show, about our product. It drives just sort of the positioning of our whole business.

Tara McMullin:

That’s a very very big and important piece of what I invest my time in. Then in terms of the community piece, we have a community-based business model. Everything about the What Works business model is oriented around bringing people together, around creating a space for them to gather in, around facilitating and leading conversations. The more engaged I am there, the more present I am there, in actually making those conversations happen, and actually connecting person to person to person, the more valuable that product is. The more we make it valuable, the more people want in on it, the more people stay engaged, and the less likely they are to leave the community.

Tara McMullin:

Those two activities really do drive how our business develops and how it grows.

Gillian Perkins:

You’ve chosen these two things because podcasting is really what is giving you that visibility and driving new people to sign up for your program, and then the second thing, the community, engaging with your online community, that’s where you’re really delivering the product to your customers. You’ve got the marketing and the delivery covered by those two things.

Tara McMullin:

Yeah, that’s exactly what I was going to say. It’s marketing and product delivery, which I think when you say it like that, then it’s like, “Oh yeah, of course those are the two things that you’re going to spend your time on.” But when I say, “Oh, it’s exceptional podcast content and engaging with our community,” it sounds fancier or maybe more luxurious than it really is. But marketing and product delivery is what it comes down to, exactly.

Gillian Perkins:

It also sounded a little bit to me like, how are those the things that are driving your business? It sounded a little bit more vague almost, but once we look at it in terms of, this is marketing and product delivery, then it seems really straightforward and obvious.

Gillian Perkins:

Let’s see. Where do we want to go with this? One thing I wanted to touch on was the fact that you do run two different businesses, so how much time do you actually spend on each of those businesses?

Tara McMullin:

Yeah, that’s a great question. I work about 40 hours a week, so in many ways it’s very much in line with the idea of a 20-hour-a-week business, except that I don’t spend 20 hours a week on both businesses. It’s probably closer to about 30 hours a week on What Works, and about 10 hours a week on Yellow House Media. My husband and business partner is the one who works full time on Yellow House, and then I consult on strategy, I do business development for Yellow House, and I also do a lot of product development for Yellow House as well, and I’m sure we’ll talk more about that later on as well.

Tara McMullin:

But that’s where my activities are kind of centered on that side of things. Then on What Works, it’s a lot more management, it’s a lot more the marketing and product delivery. It is product development as well, and other forms of marketing too, but that does take up the majority of my working time.

Gillian Perkins:

At What Works, those two core activities, the podcast and the community, your marketing and your product delivery. Those are really the things that are making your business money, because you need to have new customers coming in, and then you need to retain your customers. You’re using your podcast to drive those new registrations in your program. Talk to me about how your podcast does that.

Tara McMullin:

Not only does the podcast drive new signups, the podcast actually provides the content backbone for our community as well. One thing that makes our community different from a lot of membership sites that are out there is that our community is not actually content based. We make all of our content free. The podcast is free, articles that I write are free, resources that I create are free and available. The value proposition of the community is really around bringing people together, curating conversations, creating connections, creating space for people to gather in to have really productive conversations.

Tara McMullin:

The podcast essentially becomes the inspiration for those conversations. We have these public conversations, where I bring someone onto the show and we talk about a particular aspect of their business and what’s working for them, and then we take that conversation and we bring it back into the network and we say, “All right. What does this look like in your business? How are you doing this? How are you doing this the same way? How are you doing it differently? What other questions do you have about this?” We use that to flesh out the conversations that are just kind of naturally occurring there.

Tara McMullin:

There really is kind of a symbiosis between the podcast and the community itself, which makes it easier for us to manage the whole thing, it makes it more efficient, but it also provides a really close tie between the call to action in any given podcast episode, where we say, “Hey, if you’re enjoying this, join the community.” That means that then, essentially the way we think about it is that the podcast is sort of the free level of the community, which is paid. They essentially have the same value proposition, access to candid conversations about what’s really working in a small business, but on the podcast side, I get to decide what those conversations are, and in the community, while we’re there as I said guiding conversations and facilitating conversations, our members are also creating and guiding and facilitating conversations as well. They have a lot more say in what gets talked about there, and it’s a lot more self-driven by our members, or member-driven I guess I should say.

Tara McMullin:

That on kind of the strategic level is how the podcast drives enrollment in the community. But just sort of on a more tactical level, we run ads in our own show, like many people do, like you do, to tell people what we have going on. We tie those ads to the content in the podcast and therefore the content that’s happening or the conversations that are happening in the community as well. On a strategic level, it’s very tied together, but on a tactical level it just flows really seamlessly, so that when we are open for enrollment and we’re bringing new people on, we’re essentially saying to them, “Let’s keep this conversation going. You’re already engaged, you’re already loving this, you already know that these are the conversations that you want to have. If you’d like, over here, you can have those same conversations but actually participate in them.”

Tara McMullin:

It becomes a really clear call to action, it becomes a really clear and logical next step for people to take who are engaged with the podcast, love the podcast, and really want to know what more they can engage with. Does that make sense?

Gillian Perkins:

Yeah, absolutely, and I can really see how your podcast and your community are so closely connected that the first question that comes to my mind is, what came first? I’m kind of thinking you probably started them at a similar or the same time. But what came first conceptually?

Tara McMullin:

Yeah. This kind of gets into the long and winding road of my business. Like I said, I’ve been working for myself for over a decade now, and so it’s gone through a lot of different iterations. What has actually happened over the last few years is that the podcast and how we offer and what we offer has become more and more closely aligned. I wish I could say, yes, I had this flash of brilliance where we started the podcast and we started this product, and it was strategically tied from the get-go, and I had this content strategy all figured out, but I did not.

Tara McMullin:

In the beginning, it was a real mess, and like many people, I started a podcast because I thought podcasting seemed cool, and I had always thought that being on public radio would be really cool. I just wanted to have a podcast, and I knew I could grow an audience that way, or I knew people would want to engage with me in that way. But I didn’t have an idea beyond audience growth or audience engagement, how that would actually serve my business.

Tara McMullin:

At the time that I started the podcast, our business was doing something similar, but in a different kind of model. We were offering coaching and training products, the way lots and lots of businesses do. But a few years ago we pivoted into this community based model, because it’s something I’m super passionate about. Over time, it became clearer and clearer that the podcast was actually the perfect vehicle for explaining what we do and how we do it differently.

Tara McMullin:

Which is not to say that I think you have to have a community to make podcasting make sense, although I think that’s a great combination. But the strategy of how those things came together really took a lot of time, and it really took me asking, what purpose does this podcast serve? How are people engaging with it? How can I use that natural form of engagement to get people interested in what we’re offering at any given time? Then also really paying attention in our community and saying, all right, what are the things people are talking about? How are they talking about them, and how can I bring that into the podcast to make those two things fit better and better?

Tara McMullin:

Really, the podcast came first, the community came second. But even for a number of years, they were still pretty disconnected, and it’s only been in the last couple of years where we’ve had this very tight aligned strategy, and that’s really when everything sort of started to change, and get a lot easier, and feel a lot more comfortable, and just very easeful. That’s sort of how it evolved, but it was very much an evolutionary process.

Gillian Perkins:

You know, I actually think that it’s really inspiring that you didn’t just have this flash of brilliance, right, and become enlightened to this business model, and then execute it. But instead it was this more evolutionary process, where you slowly developed it over time, and you figured out how to pivot each aspect of it. Pivot the podcast, pivot the program, until they finally really synced up so, so well. Because I think that a lot of the time, we all wait for that flash of brilliance. We wait for that big idea that’s going to make it for us somehow, and so we can spend a lot of time waiting or procrastinating because of that. But I just think it’s inspiring that you just got started, and you started a program. Initially you didn’t even start the program you have today, but you started just offering some sort of something that was valuable to someone, and then you started talking on a podcast, and over time those things aligned.

Tara McMullin:

Yeah. One of the really interesting things that I learned in that process, too, was how to market my business without being in the teacher seat. Now, I love teaching. I love training, and I love marketing that way. But when we moved the business into a community-based model, I was suddenly no longer the teacher. I was the facilitator. I was there to create conversation and connection, and my role really changed a lot. But I tried to continue marketing that product from the teacher seat, and in a kind of teacher-student relationship, and it did not work. It was so frustrating, and it took me a long time to figure out, okay, people love when I do this, and they love this product, but they’re not making this connection between these two things. Why is this not happening?

Tara McMullin:

It was really hurting our sales, and it took me a while to realize that I also needed to be in the facilitator seat, have that facilitator relationship when it came to my marketing as well, and that’s really when the light bulb went off around, okay. I’ve been doing this on the podcast for years. The podcast is me being a facilitator, and it’s not like that in every show, and again, it doesn’t have to be that way on your podcast for it to work. But for me, it was a really natural way to make the connection between what we were putting out for free, how I was building an audience and furthering the relationship with the people who were paying attention, to how we were creating value for them in the community as well.

Gillian Perkins:

Remind me. You said, which one came first?

Tara McMullin:

The podcast came first

Gillian Perkins:

In its current iteration?

Tara McMullin:

Yes, exactly.

Gillian Perkins:

Okay. You were acting as a facilitator on the podcast, and you realized you needed to step more into that role in your program as well.

Tara McMullin:

It was the role that I was occupying in the community, but it was not the role that I was marketing from, or trying to sell from. I would go on and I would teach a webinar, and it would be great and people would love it, and then I would try and sell our community, where I am not teaching anything.

Gillian Perkins:

Okay.

Tara McMullin:

They would be like, “Oh, that sounds great, but where can I buy you teaching a course?” I’m like, well we don’t sell that anymore. That’s how it became clear, then, that what I was doing with the podcast was actually what I needed to be doing with our whole marketing strategy, and the podcast really needed to become our core marketing strategy.

Gillian Perkins:

I see. You came to realize that all the pieces were already there, and you just kind of needed to cut out the things that didn’t really fit into your puzzle.

Tara McMullin:

Yes, exactly.

Gillian Perkins:

Let’s talk about how someone can maybe more intentional

Tara McMullin:

Yeah!

Gillian Perkins:

Figure out this process for themselves. I’m imagining that people right now are in one of two main situations. If they’re listening to this episode right now, which obviously you are listening to this episode right now. Probably it’s because you are thinking about starting a podcast, or you’ve started a podcast, and you’re thinking about how to grow it and how to make it be more impactful for your business. But if you are thinking about starting a podcast, you might already have the product, or you might not have the product yet. Maybe you’re just starting to work on  creating content in your business, just like a lot of people will start a blog or start a YouTube channel. They don’t have a product yet.

Gillian Perkins:

Or maybe you’re running a business right now, and you’re thinking of starting a podcast to complement it. How about we talk first about, if someone already has a product and they’re thinking about starting a podcast to complement it and to hopefully market their product, what are some steps that they could go through to ensure that they are coming up with a podcast concept, and with specific episodes, and with a format, that are really going to have that impact and to effectively market what they are working to sell?

Tara McMullin:

Yeah. First I’ll say that the reason we wanted to start Yellow House Media is because I didn’t know anyone else who even had an intentional content strategy, or an intentional strategy around their podcast in terms of marketing. I think for anyone who is thinking about podcasting, or maybe they’ve started a podcast already, if you don’t have an intentional marketing strategy around it and you’re just making podcast episodes, you are not alone.

Tara McMullin:

You’ve got a business. You’ve got a product, and you’re looking at podcasting as a marketing channel. The very first thing to do is to get really cozy with your product, and really look at the value proposition behind that product. What are you helping people accomplish? What are you helping them achieve? What kind of change are you making for them? Because ideally, your podcast is going to create a complementary change for that. Maybe you set people up to make the change, or accomplish the thing that you do with your product. Maybe you do it in a very similar way, like what we do, where there’s a free version of what the value of what we do is, and then there’s a paid version of it.

Tara McMullin:

That value proposition really is the same. There’s all different sorts of ways that you can look at it, but you need to be very, very clear on the value you’re creating, the promise that you’re making to people with your product or service first. Because that’s the genesis of your idea for the show. If those things are disconnected, you’re going to feel disconnected every time you go to say on your podcast, “Go buy my product, go buy my service.” It’s going to feel weird, and we want those things to be as connected as possible.

Gillian Perkins:

If we have clarity about what that promise is, what that outcome that we are promising or creating with our product is. Then should the promise of the podcast or the outcome that the podcast is helping to create, should it be the same?

Tara McMullin:

It can be the same, but it can also be complementary and not quite the same. Where I like to really guide people is thinking about their product as the logical next step from their marketing. Sometimes, like with my podcast, the logical next step is to a higher level of service. It’s the same value proposition, it’s the same promise, but we provide a higher level of service. The logical next step is just saying, “Ooh, I want more.” That’s it, and that’s the main difference.

Tara McMullin:

For a lot of people, it’s more about creating a setup for the logical next step. My friend Claire Pelletreau, has a really great example of this. Claire has a podcast called Get Paid.

Gillian Perkins:

Yep, I interviewed her last week.

Tara McMullin:

Claire is awesome, and that podcast is awesome. And it is not the same as what she does in her business, but it is a great driver for her business, because it creates a setup. Get Paid is all about asking people about how they actually get paid, and what actually goes into the money that kind of flows through their business. But what she sells is Facebook ads. Facebook ad training, both for business and Facebook ad consulting and delivery.

Tara McMullin:

If you’re thinking about getting paid, if you’re thinking about making money, if you’re thinking about leveling up how your business makes money, Facebook ads are a logical next step for you. It makes it really easy for her to have this premise of the show that naturally flows into a very specific logical next step, but a logical next step nonetheless. You can have the same value proposition between your podcast and your product, or it can be complementary, but either way you want to think through, what is the logical next step from someone listening to a podcast episode to someone buying my product or service?

Gillian Perkins:

In Claire’s case it’s really interesting, because her podcast and her product really have different topics.

Tara McMullin:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gillian Perkins:

But they actually ultimately have the same promise, which is essentially, to make more money. Right?

Tara McMullin:

Yes, exactly.

Gillian Perkins:

Even though they’re two completely different vehicles for accomplishing that, or getting that result. I think that that is a really interesting example to bring. Could we have a couple more hypothetical examples? What if someone was a health coach, and they had a group health coaching program? That’s their program, they’re promising to help people become more healthy with their program, they’ve got this seven step program. You do one step each month, and after seven months you are the picture of perfect health.

Gillian Perkins:

How could they, or what would be some different podcast concept ideas that they might want to consider to guide people to be interested in that program?

Tara McMullin:

Yeah, this is actually a great example, because it almost brings in the next step of the process, which is thinking through what makes your business or your product different. We talk a lot with our clients about what the premise of the show is going to be, and really the premise is a positioning statement for the podcast. There are a lot-

Gillian Perkins:

Yeah, we talked a lot about that when we were starting this show. I know that initially, what drew me to you and made me want you to produce my show was just, “Oh wow, Tara McMullin can produce my podcast? That sounds like a good idea.” I was really drawn in by your personal brand, and by my interest just in working with you. But then what really closed the sale and made me say “Yes, absolutely, sign me up” was the fact that I was really interested also in making sure that my show had a unique premise, that not only had an impact on my business, but it wasn’t just another business podcast talking about general business ideas, general business strategy. I wanted to make sure that it had a purpose, and that that purpose really drove the direction of the content, so that I didn’t feel aimless with the content and the listeners knew why they should tune in for future episodes.

Gillian Perkins:

You gave me some really good advice about how to figure out what that premise is.

Tara McMullin:

Yeah, yeah yeah. Exactly. There’s so many business podcasts out there, right? What makes your business podcast different? We know what makes your business podcast different, we’ve talked about what makes my business podcast different, and both of those things are related to the value propositions behind our business, and the positioning behind our respective businesses.

Tara McMullin:

It would be the same thing with a health coaching program. What makes this health coaching program different? Some health coaching programs are going to focus on weight loss. Others are going to focus on energy levels. Some focus on skin, right? You want to have glowing skin, so that you can kind of see your health from the inside out. Some health coaching programs are going to be around decision making, or routine, or mindset, or mental wellness.

Tara McMullin:

I really like to focus on that. What makes you different? What makes your business different? What makes your product different? I want to figure out how that difference can inform what we’re going to talk about on the show, and then how we can use your voice, your relationship to the listener, the format of your show, to really highlight that difference.

Tara McMullin:

Let’s say your health coaching program is really focused on helping people feel more energetic, feel like they have just boundless amounts of energy. That’s what I would use to jump off from for how I would construct the premise of that show. What are the different aspects, the different angles of energy? Maybe part of it is mindset. Part of it is fitness. Part of it is nutrition. But every single time I hit one of those topics, I’m hitting that topic in relation to how it helps me feel like I have more energy. That way, it’s not just another interview about nutrition. It’s not just another interview about strength training. It’s an interview or a podcast episode about having more energy through the vehicle of nutrition, or through the vehicle of fitness.

Tara McMullin:

That really can take what is a good show and turn it into a great show, but at the same time, it’s also making it so much easier for you to sell your product. Because if you have a product all about wellness with the focus on energy, and then you say, “Well I have a wellness program that’s going to help you up your energy reserves over the next seven months,” boom, done. If I love the podcast, I’m going to want that program. I’m already sold. I’m sold on that idea, because I’m sold on the podcast.

Tara McMullin:

That’s the perfect kind of marketing, right? That’s the kind of marketing where there is no sales process, because those people are already sold. They just need to know where to send the money. That’s how I would think about that.

Gillian Perkins:

The simple general idea of this formula, if we could say that, is that first we figure out, what is my program going to help people get? What is that result it’s going to create for them? Specifically, how is that different than maybe my competitors, who are offering similar outcomes? With that difference, then, we could then create a podcast that is maybe on that general topic, but every episode is designed to help people get more blank-blank-blank. To help people figure out what works. To help people figure out how to work less and earn more.

Gillian Perkins:

Then that kind of gives that consistent driving message through the podcast, so it’s not just a podcast on a topic, but it’s a podcast with a purpose.

Tara McMullin:

Yes. Exactly, you said it perfectly. It’s positioning, it’s branding, it’s your relationship with the listener, and it’s all tied up in just having that very strong premise, that very strong purpose behind the show. It’s really what can turn a podcast from something that’s nice to listen to, or fun to produce, into something that really drives results in your business.

Gillian Perkins:

Then from there, once your podcast has that consistent driving purpose, then people are tuning in for that purpose, because they want that outcome. Then the sale is really easy, because what you’re selling then is the complete system, step by step. You’re listening to every episode so that you can learn how to be more energetic. If you want the system that will get you there in a specific amount of time, or in a specific way, then you can purchase the program or buy the product.

Tara McMullin:

Yeah, exactly. This is probably a great time to talk about the fact, too, that a lot of people think about podcasts as sort of top-of-sales-funnel activities, where this is where I’m going to find all of the people, and this is where I’m going to build my audience. That can be true, but it’s less true than people would like it to be. It’s actually-

Gillian Perkins:

That’s what YouTube is good for.

Tara McMullin:

Right, exactly. YouTube is great for that.

Gillian Perkins:

It’s the best.

Tara McMullin:

Email marketing lists are great for that, there’s all sorts of things you can do to build an audience. Podcasting can fit into that category, but it’s actually, I find, way further down in the sales funnel. It’s way closer to the sale, and this is that reason. And it’s why we advise our clients to spend less time promoting their email list, or their opt-in freebie, although that works and you can do that. But why not just ask for the sale? Because these people are invested week after week after week in hours of your content, for the express purpose of the thing that your product or service does.

Tara McMullin:

I think if more podcasts asked for the sale directly from their show, they would see better results from the podcasts they’re producing.

Gillian Perkins:

I remember that when we were talking, when we were having a strategy call for this podcast and we were deciding what the promotional strategy for the podcast would be, and I don’t mean how we were going to promote the podcast, but what we were going to promote on the podcast and how we would run those promotions. That you shared with me a couple interesting stories about people who were selling, even expensive products or programs on their podcast directly, without any more funnel after that. Do you remember what some of those examples were, and could you share those with us?

Tara McMullin:

Yes. The one example that I am sure that I shared with you that comes to mind immediately is Racheal Cook. Racheal Cook is a business coach, and has a great podcast, which the exact name of is escaping me because I believe she changed it in the last year. But Racheal Cook is the person you want to look up. Racheal has a Mastermind program that she sold almost exclusively through her podcast, and she did it in much the way that we’ve been doing product launch formula launches for years and years and years. Video launches, email marketing launches.

Tara McMullin:

But she really put the focus on creating that content, and telling that story on her show, instead of in these sort of more velvet rope kind of scenarios. She did podcast content around the promise of the Mastermind program, and she did case studies with past Masterminders, so talking through their businesses and how the Mastermind helped them. Those were the podcast episodes she put out little bit by little bit. Then I believe, if I’m remembering this correctly and I’m pretty sure that I am, she actually did a kind of mini episode on actually joining the program. Explaining what the program was about, explaining who should join, what you were going to experience, and then inviting people to it right on the show.

Tara McMullin:

She invited people throughout the episodes that were leading up to that launch, and she invited people in this very more direct way. But that’s one example that comes immediately to mind, but even on my own show, on a regular basis we’re selling our community, the What Works Network. But once a year we also do Mastermind enrollments, and those are not cheap programs, and we do sell that directly from the podcast. I am always so surprised, even now, how many people reach out after hearing about it on the podcast, and then sometimes they’ll say, “Oh, I didn’t even know you sent out emails.”

Tara McMullin:

I’m like, hello, I’m an online business person who’s been doing online business for a real long time. I send out emails. You don’t have to read them, but good to know that you came directly from the podcast. It really does work, and you really can sell low ticket, high ticket, middle ticket, everything, straight from the show.

Gillian Perkins:

I would say that, as a listener of podcasts, that has been my experience as well. When I am listening to a podcast, I really evelop my perception of the podcast host, and if I keep listening, it’s because I see them as someone who I want to learn from. I am quite likely to buy from them if they simply tell me on the show about something that they sell, and it’s something that fits with an outcome I’m looking for. I don’t need to get a single email from them, they just need to tell me the URL and I will go and I will buy it.

Tara McMullin:

Exactly. Take my money.

Gillian Perkins:

Yeah. And I don’t want 10 more emails, no thank you.

Tara McMullin:

No, exactly.

Gillian Perkins:

Right? Just tell me where to go and buy it, please.

Tara McMullin:

Yes.

Gillian Perkins:

Okay. That kind of gives an example of what someone could do, and how someone could decide on their podcast topic if they already have the product. What about that other person, who is just thinking about starting a podcast? Right now they have the topic. I imagine that really this doesn’t need to be that different, but they don’t have a product yet. They’re going to pick a podcast topic, they probably already have that in mind. Any tips there on how to figure out that specific premise?

Tara McMullin:

That is when I think that you need to hold the premise of your show very gently. I would still come up with a specific angle, a specific promise that you want to fill, a specific way that you want your show to be different than what else is out there. But then once you have it, I would be very gentle with it. Kind of assume that it’s going to grow and change and evolve over time. I would do what you are so good at, which is copious amounts of audience research, right? What do you want to learn from me? What do you want to hear about next? What are you tired of hearing about that I could give you a different angle on? What do you see missing in the conversation?

Tara McMullin:

Really inform the evolution of the premise of the show by that audience research, and all of that audience research is also going to tell you what direction to go in with your business as well. It’s sort of like those two paths would come together, where you’re going to find an offer that’s the logical next step to whatever it is that you’re talking about, or how you’re talking about what you’re talking about on the show. Just like my podcast and my kind of overall marketing strategy and product strategy evolved over time, the same thing is going to happen. It might take a little bit longer, it might be a little bit more work up front, but starting with something, and starting by putting your stake in the ground with something too. We don’t want to start general, we don’t want to be wishy-washy about our premise, we want to say, “All right, this is what my show is about.”

Tara McMullin:

But knowing that that can evolve, and that as your audience grows and as you talk to them more and more, you’re going to find what that premise needs to be more specifically, and that’s going to lead you into the next steps in your business overall as well.

Gillian Perkins:

Really, when you say hold your premise gently, you’re not saying have it be general, have it be vague, be wishy-washy. You’re saying, be willing to pivot and adjust from there, especially as you start thinking about what product you’re going to sell. Because I feel like people really have to make a decision after they start their podcast, if they are going to come up with that product later on. They either are going to build their podcast app and then decide, “Okay, the very logical product for me to sell is XYZ,” or they’re going to say, “I have now decided what product I want to sell, therefore I need to pivot my podcast slightly to be more strategically aligned with the product I want to sell.”

Tara McMullin:

Exactly, exactly, yeah. Don’t go general. General is always going to bite you in the butt. Make it specific, make it clear where you stand and what you stand for on behalf of your audience, and that will help you build an audience who then can tell you what steps to take next.

Gillian Perkins:

Let’s pivot this conversation slightly. We’re running out of time here, but there’s this thing that I always say, which is nobody can buy your product if they don’t know it exists. That applies to a lot of other things as well, including, nobody can listen to your podcast if they don’t know it exists, and your podcast can’t have any impact on your business unless people are listening to it. Could we spend just a few minutes talking about some of the best strategies for new podcasters to get people to actually listen to their shows? And specifically to get the right people to listen to their show?

Tara McMullin:

Yeah, absolutely. One of the best ways to find your audience is just grassroots networking and marketing. Just sending out emails, talking to people you meet in your neighborhood, and letting them know you have a podcast. It doesn’t necessarily help you find the exact right audience first, but it’ll help you sort of start to spread your reach, and in spreading your reach you’ll find the right people. But you do have to sort of activate your network, you have to activate the connections that you have, by just telling them that you have a show.

Tara McMullin:

When your show launched, you put together the street team and you activated your network that way, because you had an existing audience. But a lot of times when we’re launching a show for a client, they don’t have much of an audience yet. But they have a network. We ask them to put together a list of 50 people who would be thrilled to get an email from them saying, “Hey, I’ve got a podcast, can you share it with your friends?” We have them do something that simple, and I think a lot of times in online marketing we forget about those very personal, hands-on  tactics. We want to do the sexy Facebook ad stuff, social media stuff, and there’s a place for that, but especially with podcasting I think it starts at the grassroots.

Tara McMullin:

The next thing, of course, is social media. You want to get yourself established on any of the platforms that you love, that you frequent, that you’re present on, and tell people about the show there. Make connections with people there, build your network there.

Tara McMullin:

Another thing that works really well with podcasting is episode swaps. That’s where you can find shows that are complementary to yours, and swap episodes with them. Maybe you do an interview, they interview you, you interview them, and you do it that way. Or maybe, they just want to tell their audience about your show, because it’s a benefit to their audience and they want credit for that referral. You can ask people about putting episodes from your show in their feed, and having them send people your way.

Tara McMullin:

I was just talking with a friend of mine about that with our shows. We had a conversation about Mastermind groups on What Works this week, and so Sarah Peck, the person who was on the show, is also a podcaster and she’s going to take that episode and rework it for her podcast. We’ll be able to share with the audience that way, so that’s another really good one. Then the other-

Gillian Perkins:

So far you’ve covered three main ones, right? We’ve got grassroots, then we’ve got establishing ourselves on at least one social media platform, and really building our audience there. Then the third one is essentially collaborations, it sounds like.

Tara McMullin:

Yes, exactly. Then the last one I’ll just put a plug in for is complementary media. Blog posts, email newsletters, YouTube videos. Anything that you can do that complements the podcast is going to help you get the word out about it. Because like I said earlier, podcasts really aren’t at the top of the funnel, they’re further down. An article that you’ve written is going to be something that’s a little lower stakes, it doesn’t require so much time or energy from someone, but it establishes that relationship with them, and then you can say, “Oh, and by the way, I’ve got a podcast episode about this as well, and you can check that out here,” and they’re way more likely to listen to that podcast episode because you’ve established credibility with the article first.

Gillian Perkins:

One of the biggest hindrances that a podcast can have with getting listeners is simply the fact that people don’t know it exists, right?

Tara McMullin:

Yes.

Gillian Perkins:

Just by putting out all of those strategies, we’re really focused on improving that aspect of things. By going grassroots and by telling people, real people, that your podcast exists, you’re changing that. People now know it exists. By going on social media and building your audience there, people will find out your podcast exists.

Gillian Perkins:

There are lots of people out there who want to listen to your show, but they don’t know it exists, so they aren’t listening to it. They would listen if they simply knew it existed.

Tara McMullin:

Yeah. Just one more quick thing, you also have to explain podcasting to people. This is something you and I have talked about too, is that for as ubiquitous as it seems like podcasting is to podcast fans like you and I, a lot of people still don’t have podcasts in their routine yet. They don’t know how to listen, they don’t know that it’s free, they don’t know how to subscribe, they don’t know where to find your show. There’s a certain amount of podcast education, just general. This is what a podcast is, yes it’s free, here’s a great app that I recommend and you need to be able to do in order to get the most people listening to your show.

Gillian Perkins:

Yeah, everyone who is listening right now might have trouble understanding this, because clearly you all are podcast listeners. This is a great time to mention, by the way, if you’re listening on the website, you should download a podcasting app and you should find Work Less Earn More on your podcasting app and subscribe so you don’t miss the next episode.

Gillian Perkins:

For the most part, everyone who is listening right now is a podcast listener. But in launching this podcast, I really had it driven home to me how many people are not podcast listeners, because of all of my friends and family, I pretty much identified that there was one person who listened to one podcast, and she did so on someone’s website. Then there was my dad, who listens to a few podcasts, but he also would go onto the websites for those specific podcasts.

Gillian Perkins:

I wasn’t able to identify anyone who I knew who actually had a podcasting app on their phone that they used.

Tara McMullin:

Oh my word. That is nuts.

Gillian Perkins:

Which just shows the huge untapped potential, and how if you simply tell people what podcasts are, that you can get a big market share just by doing that.

Tara McMullin:

Absolutely.

Gillian Perkins:

If you are working on building your podcast, then that really can be just one of your first steps. Go really basic with that, and anyone who you think might be interested in your podcast, whether you’re talking to them in real life or on social media, start by telling them, “Hey, podcasts are a thing. Here’s what podcasts are, they’re free, you can listen to them, here’s why you might want to listen to them. By the way, I have a podcast about XYZ.”

Tara McMullin:

Exactly. Grab their phone, download an app, just do it right on the spot.

Gillian Perkins:

To strangers, just as you’re walking down the street. Grab their phone, download an app. “Look, this is a podcast, it’s really cool.” Okay, maybe not that one.

Gillian Perkins:

Okay, so let’s wrap this up, because this is getting a little bit long, and I try to keep these not too long so that they are easy to digest. But thank you so much, Tara, for everything that you have shared with us today. I’m sure we could go so much deeper into this, but I do also think that you covered the biggest, most important thing, which is figuring out that premise for your podcast. For me, I know you know that I spent months trying to figure that out, because I saw how important it was. But once I figured that out, it really made so many other aspects of creating the show and marketing the show so much more obvious.

Gillian Perkins:

It made picking those episodes obvious. It made it obvious how I would be promoting my programs in the show. Everything really just fell into place, and so to everyone who is listening right now and maybe thinking about starting a podcast, or they’re still working on developing their podcast because maybe they’re in the early stages of growing their podcast, really just focus in there. Tara gave us some awesome advice, so thank you so much, Tara.

Tara McMullin:

Thank you.

Gillian Perkins:

Before we wrap this up, can you just tell the listeners how they could find out more about you, and specifically about What Works?

Tara McMullin:

Sure. You can find out everything about What Works at explorewhatworks.com, and you can download a podcast player if you don’t already have one, and find What Works on that podcast player as well. Then for Yellow House Media, it’s yellowhouse.media on the web, and if you go into our blog you can find an article about actually creating your podcast premise. There’s a free Google Drive document in there that’ll walk you through that process. You don’t need to give me your email address or anything, it’s just right there, download it, use it, enjoy it, and let me know how it turns out.

Gillian Perkins:

You sent me that article when I was trying to figure out the premise for this show, and it did really help me. We’ll be sure to link that below, but I really mean Sean will link it, yeah.

Tara McMullin:

I won’t link it below.

Gillian Perkins:

Someone. Someone will link it below. There will be a link, not really below. In the show notes. There will be a link, you’ll be able to find that, and if you are working on developing your podcast premise right now, I would recommend you check out that article, because it was really helpful.

Gillian Perkins:

Anyway, thank you again, Tara. This has been fantastic.

Tara McMullin:

Thank you.

Gillian Perkins:

Okay. That was so good, and now I’m going to do exactly what Tara suggested in this episode, and I’m going to tie this episode into why you might want to consider joining Startup Society. Tara is going to be our guest expert inside Startup Society this coming month, and she’s going to guide us through an action plan to work on developing a premise for our podcast, and making a strategic launch plan. If you’re interested in working directly with Tara, learning from her, and getting her guidance to create your own highly successful and highly impactful podcast, then you will definitely want to check that out.

Gillian Perkins:

You can find out more about Startup Society and how you can sign up for membership by checking out the show notes of this episode, or by heading to gillianperkins.com/startup-society. Again, that’s gillianperkins.com/startup-society. Startup Society membership is only $49 per month, and as a member you’ll get access to this brand new action plan with Tara, as well as be able to connect with Tara and ask her your questions, live this month as she’s joining us in the group. You’ll also get access to our entire library of past action plans, which are each designed to help you create specific, tangible, measurable results in different aspects of building your business.

Gillian Perkins:

Again, if you’re interested in learning more about how to become a member, just head to gillianperkins.com/startup-society.

Gillian Perkins:

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Work Less, Earn More. Now here’s what I want you to do next. Take a screenshot of the episode you’re listening to right now, and share it out on your Instagram stories. When you do that, make sure to tag me @gillianzperkins, so that I can see that you’re listening. Sharing on stories is going to help more people find this podcast, so that they can learn how to work less, earn more, and take back their lives. When you share, I want to add it to my stories, so that you can get some exposure that way as well.

Gillian Perkins:

If you really love the show, head over to Apple Podcasts and leave it a review to give the show a boost. Every single week, I feature a review on the podcast, and I would love to give you and your business a shout out. So if you leave a review, it will help the show, but it can also help your business as well. Okay, let’s wrap this up. I’m Gillian Perkins, and until next week, stay focused, and take action.

    Sean McMullin

    Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

    Leave a Comment: