Sometimes, it pays off to be clear about what niche you are serving in your podcast. Dr. Mark T. Wade, founder and CEO of Virtual Summits, is pretty straightforward about it: his podcast is about virtual summits, so he names it the Virtual Summits Podcast. The podcast features strategy sessions and interviews with summit hosts, summit coaches, and other people in the virtual summit space. Recently celebrating its 150th episode and first anniversary, the show is going strong, and Dr. Mark is consistently besting himself as a host. Have a listen as Tracy Hazzard sits with him to get into what makes his podcast binge-worthy.
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Podcasting In The Virtual Summit Space With Dr. Mark T. Wade
I have someone I’m bringing on the show, a host who is someone whose show I wish I knew about before. That’s the best part about being a host of a show. You get to experience and you find out people you didn’t know had podcasts out there or you find out people who have something in your niche or other things about that. You’re like, “Now I’m a fan. I’m going to binge listen myself.” I’ve prepped for this. Of course, I prep for every episode. I usually try to listen to at least three, but I think I’ve listened to about five or six. I’m probably going to binge the whole thing because it’s so fascinating. I’ve got Dr. Mark T. Wade. Mark is a podcast host of the Virtual Summit Podcast. It is simply what it says it is. This is not a fly by night, popped up in the last three months podcast. That one has been here for a while. He celebrated his anniversary and he had his 150th episode, which was a special. You want to check those out. Dr. Mark T. Wade went from brick and mortar to multimillion-dollar online business using a strategy called The One-Day Summit. He created multi seven-figure businesses in the brick and mortar online education, business and Software as a Service space, including his Virtual Summits Software.
Mark now helps entrepreneurs scale their online businesses with proven strategies such as The One-Day Summit Formula. He hosts the show Virtual Summit Podcast and a sold-out mastermind including the likes of John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn, Lewis Howes and Jeff Walker. He is contagious. I can’t tell you how there’s so much buzz going around about virtual summits right now and buzz going around in different industries about things that are hot in podcasting. As you know, we hear a lot of buzz here too, but when you get someone who’s so passionate about it, but also has such depth of knowledge, then you want to take a listen, which is why I brought Dr. Mark T. Wade on the show.
Mark, thanks for joining me. I’m excited to talk about your show.
It’s going to be fun. I can’t wait to jump into it.
Your show is right out there, right in front. Simple name. It’s what it’s about. Virtual summits. Did you think about that too hard and go like, “This is an excruciating choice, should I name it that literal or should I name it something different?”
I did put a decent amount of thought in it. I got insights into it as well. My best friend happens to be John Lee Dumas. I get the benefit of bouncing some ideas off the top podcaster. Funny enough, him and a lot of the other people I asked about said, “No, don’t do it, Mark. One, don’t put podcasts in the name. Everybody knows it’s a podcast,” things like that. I actually went away from what I was being told. I did it based on my personal experience. I’ve created several successful multi seven-figure companies. One of the lessons I’ve learned over the years is the importance of unique expert positioning and being clear with your niche. I also had the luck there was no other podcast out there in that niche or with anything in that name at that time. I said, “Why not make it easy, make it clear, make it straight forward? It’s what people are looking for anyways. It matches my brand and it’s in alignment with my UEP, my unique expert position. Let’s keep it clear and simple.”
People out there know because I give this advice all the time. This is common that there is a violation of the standard rules or my view of how you should do that. You violate it in the best way. Normally, I don’t recommend people name their show after their brand because it’s too salesy, but it’s also so clear. This is what people want to learn, what they want to know. By naming it that, you made a straighter path to you.
There were two other things to that one that I put in. It’s clarity because in my world, I’m dealing with summits. I have a lot of products and services that are all summits. I have a done-for-you service, I have a workshop that’s done with you. I have coaching. I have courses, I have all these things and they all have summit in it. People were starting to get confused. They’re like, “Is this the workshop I did or is this the course?” I realized actually early on that I need to start making things as clear as possible. This is the podcast, Virtual Summit Podcast. I wanted it to be about virtual summits because I wanted it to be directly for my brand and for the company. I could have talked on a lot of other things.
I’ve had other successful podcasts in the past in the health industry. I wanted it to be specifically for people who were looking for information for summits to then bring them into my business, not the other way around. That was one of the reasons I did it. I had actually heard ironically, a buddy of mine got to interview Gary Vee and Virtual Summit Software is a SaaS company. He had a SaaS company in another space, another industry. He was asking Gary what he should do to get clients. Gary said straight up, “Create a podcast that’s about your business, solve those problems and direct people in.” I will say it’s been one of the best things that I’ve ever done for my company as far as generating leads and sales.You might end up with a blank page when you're constantly thinking about creating content that is powerful and impactful. Click To Tweet
It’s easy. You’re just recording. There’s a lot of planning and structure around it, but you’re recording. It’s not as fancy as people like to think it is. We got microphones we’re in different spaces than we normally are. No big deal.
It’s definitely not the most difficult thing I do for sure. I did want to make it a little bit different as well, and specific. The point of a podcast is you bring people on, you interview people, you have expert leverage you gate, you gain awareness in other niches in the industry. For me, the only people that get on my show are people who are in the summit space. They either had to do a summit or they’re a marketer for summits. They’re a coach for some. I didn’t go, “Random marketer, come on and teach what you would tell a summit person to do.” You’ve been in the summit space. You’ve had the battles, you’ve had the success.
You’ve been there and done it again and again. I know. I like that. That’s why this shows all only podcasters who’ve been there, done it. Occasionally I’ll bring in an author, who’s they’ve had series because we want to hear how that translated. For the most part, that is so important that we want people who have been in the trenches who get it. They’re not giving you advice from the top down. They’re giving you advice from the gritty bottom up.
As you know and teach, it’s important. You’ve got to think about your audience. What’s in their best interest? For me and what I’m doing and trying to do, it would be unethical or at least not as high value for my audience to bring around a person who doesn’t know what a summit is. The information they may give could be amazing, but it may not relate over to summit, but I didn’t want it to be interviews. Mine is a combination of every week, there’s an interview and a strategy session. That’s the part that it takes a little bit more time and energy. That doesn’t make it quite as easy. I find that my audience actually loves that they’re shorter. They’re 10 to 20 minutes. It’s one specific topic, one specific thing that I teach on. Also, it does help me in the long run, not from leads and revenue, but I get 100 questions a day on the same thing. I can say, “That was answered.”
You said you were friends with John Lee Dumas. John and I were bookending the Utah Podcast Summit. He’s at the start and I’m the end keynote. We’re going to have a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it. Did he push you and say, “You should start a podcast,” or did you decide and you went to him and go, “I want some advice?”
Yes. He pushed me. He is so pushy like that. John, if you’re reading this, you are.
He’s an advocate. He’s like, “Everybody should be a podcaster.”
He’s so aligned, he lives and breathes what he teaches, for sure. I can tell you that. We’re neighbors. I get to spend a lot of time with him. It’s not my first podcast. I’m a healthcare professional by trade. I have two doctorates and a couple dozen certifications. When I started an online institute called The American Posture Institute, which is a multimillion-dollar company, the world’s largest provider of postgraduate online posture education. I started a podcast in that niche as well. That went on to do very well. I knew podcasting was important, but I also knew the work that goes into it and the amount of time and energy that needs to happen to make it high quality. You could throw one together, but you don’t get a high-quality podcast like this one just throwing it together. There’s a lot of thought and planning that goes into it. When he was asking me over like, “Mark, you’ve got to do a podcast.” Finally, I was like, “You’re right, John. I’ve got to do a podcast.” I did it. He was right. It’s one of the most powerful things I’ve ever done for my business.
You did an anniversary episode and then you did your 150. I want to talk about your anniversary episode first because an anniversary recap is a great idea. You did that well. Tell the audience a little bit about how much thought did you put into that episode and how much time did you take to plan that?
That one took a little bit more time than normal because I did research into all of the episodes. It was actually also fun. I did change up the show a little bit. I started off with three episodes when I kicked it off. Three episodes a week up into 100 episodes. That was a lot of work. Once we hit 100 episodes, I pulled it back down to two. One interview, one strategy session. When we got to the anniversary, we had quite a few shows at that time and I thought, “This would be cool. Instead of me taking the opportunity to teach on something, which they get, let’s reflect on all the great things that have happened in the last year.” What I did is I went back and I looked at all the numbers and I found the most popular episodes. I thought, “What would be cool is not to celebrate the audience,” which we did. Also, celebrate the guests and the shows and this recap could help people go, “I haven’t listened to that show. Maybe I should go listen to that because that was popular.”
You started out with your most downloaded shows and you did your top 10 there. As you mentioned it on the show, most of them happen to be in your first 25, and there were a few outliers. That’s actually common because most people will find a show. Maybe they’ll get through 25 episodes of it. They’ll say, “This isn’t for me or I’m not going to try these things.” They don’t listen as frequently from that point forward or they drop off. That’s a common thing, which is why it’s so silly when I hear PR firms and guests out there go, “No, this is a startup show. Let’s wait to see how it does have.” If it takes off, yours is going to be one of the most popular episodes. You should be in the first 25. Don’t make that mistake. You decided to supplement it, which I was so glad you did, because otherwise, you would have missed the great shows that came after. You highlighted some of your favorites or ones that you thought that should not be missed. I think that was a smart strategy, Mark.The success of your podcast depends on your interviews. Click To Tweet
Obviously, people come in. They get the first ones that’s the most. Also, it’s been there the longest. I knew that they were getting a little bit of an unfair advantage. I wanted to also highlight what I knew because I was there. I did the interview, but how powerful and creative and great the information was. I was looking at this one is let’s celebrate the audience. Let’s celebrate some of our past guests, but also let’s highlight this as a recap of some of the episodes that are the ones you should have on your radar.
I love that you do a topic once. It’s a common thing that so many go into the model because they think this is the model of how you podcast and they never add those topic episodes. You put them in from the very beginning. I think that was smart for you both from a standpoint of what you hope to accomplish with your podcasts, but that it helps to give the audience that freshness too. I learned something from this guest now, how do you apply that? What do you do with it?
It was fun too. Being fully transparent, it was as much for me as it was the audience. It was good to sit back and reflect. I couldn’t believe a year went by that fast and no pod fade. I was happy about that. I was grading myself a little bit as going through there and taking that. It took me longer than the other episodes I prepare, but I think it was also because I was reminiscing over where I was at businesses at those times, because in episode one, the business was in a way different place than where it is now.
One of the things when you get to 150 shows and you mentioned it both in your anniversary episode is that you wonder like, “Can I keep talking about this? Is there anything new?” How do you keep that content fresh for yourself? How do you keep it so that you can keep that audience engaged?
The struggle is real, but I think it’s more of a mindset thing than a reality. I think sometimes as topic experts, which you are if you’re doing a podcast, you start to think, “I’ve already covered everything.” For me, what I tend to focus on and where it is, is specific, not covering generic or general or broad topics. Some of my episodes, the ones that I’m doing strategy-wise are so specific and niche. They’re one little thing, but I can talk on those for 20 or 30 minutes and whoever’s needing that information, that’s great information. They absolutely love that. The interviews are easier. The interviews for me are, “You’ve done a summit, you’ve been successful or you coach or help people with summits.” I go about those a little bit different as well. We can get into that later if we need to. From the content creation standpoint, where I end up running into that blank page syndrome is when I try and get too big for my britches. I’m like, “I got to come up with something super powerful and impactful.” Some of my most popular episodes, people are like, “This was so great, Mark.” Steve Jobs was channeling through me when I wrote that. I didn’t even know what came out of me.
It always shocks me that sometimes the best episodes are granular. For me, some of ours are techie and I’m like, “That’s what my audience wants to hear about?” We did one on the sound, getting a little bit better in your environment. At this moment, I’m hearing a little crackle on Mark’s end and it’s an internet issue that’s going on because bandwidth is being stressed while many people are working from home right now. Bandwidth and your communities and other things. When we’re normally recording, it’ll probably be fine. All of a sudden, people’s shows that were great, their sound is affected. All of a sudden that was our most popular episode. We were like, “What the heck? I didn’t think people came to us for that,” but they do.
A lot of times, it’s to find a small topic and dive deep into it. I love it because it keeps me sharp too. It keeps me constantly testing myself and thinking deep into topics. I enjoy it as well.
I’m going to get to your binge factor in a moment, but first I want to go through our five things that we ask every guest who comes on the show about some of the best ways that they’ve developed to produce their show and to do things. The first thing is the best way to book great guests. You’ve had some great guests on your show and you also have criteria. What are ways that you vet them and you book them?
The top thing is they have to be in the summit space. We get approached by a lot of people that want the audience, so they want to be on the show. For us, it’s you have to be in some space. My audience is summit hosts looking for tips, tools, resources on success and summits. If you’ve never done a summit or never worked on a summit or in a summit, you can’t give them valid information. If that criteria doesn’t meet, we don’t even move forward. After that, it’s which spot do you fall into? We have a ratio of how much of what we want, but we have summit hosts, which is our largest portion. Those are the ones who are everyone else. They had an idea, they had this thing that they wanted to create and they actually went through and created it.
They had success and failures and challenges and things like that. That’s what we’re getting into. Outside of that, we then take a few each month of these other spots, which is summit coaches or consultants, two completely different things. We try and find summit marketers and some of the affiliates and summit sponsors, which there’s less of those. That actually becomes a little bit more difficult. That’s how we decide who gets in. I don’t limit people based on you had a successful summit or not. For me, it’s not about the success. Did you learn from it? Can you share that? If you do enough summits, you’re going to have a bomb summit. That’s how it is. Those are the lessons that everybody needs to hear about. Those are the ones I want you sharing and teaching and showing.
It’s so funny. I say, “I interviewed top and successful podcasters,” but so many of them come on and they don’t feel successful. They actually feel they’re not doing things right. I love it. I’m like, “No, you have no idea. I looked at your numbers. I looked at this. You’re doing something right in one area, even if you feel you’re not in another. You’re learning something along the way. You’re good.” That’s great. Do you actively have ways in which you increase listeners?
We are very conscious of everything we do. It mentions two things. We have a Facebook group, Viral Summits and our podcast. Those are the two areas that we’re constantly organically trying to grow. Every time I do something, if I’m on a podcast interview, if I’m getting interviewed on a podcast, I’m mentioning the show and all of our email communication. The first indoctrination sequence always pushes people to the show. It’s in our resources area. Essentially, we’re always talking about the show. Every time I do our live weekly training in our Facebook group, I always ask, “Who’s listened to the show?” I’ll make it a game. “Put down how many episodes you listen to. If you haven’t listened to any, put a zero.” The next week they’re back on the show. “Mark, I’ve listened to one episode.” It’s a long journey, but you’ve got to constantly be talking about it. From a social media standpoint, we have a Facebook page that we’re constantly releasing our episodes. Occasionally, I will run some paid traffic to our engaged audience to remind them of the show and things like that. Those are the main things we’re doing, but we’re talking about it all the time.It's the host's responsibility to make sure that the summit is powerful and impactful. Click To Tweet
Your show sounds great. You’re a great host, you have great sound going on. What else do you do to produce it in a professional way?
It took time to do interview training. It’s something I preach to summit hosts. The success of your summit depends on the impact of your interview. What is the summit? It’s a series of interviews. If you have your podcast or you’re doing interviews. The success of your podcast depends on your interviews. I actually did a decent amount of interview training, a variety of different things. Have apprenticeship, if you could, with several top successful podcasts like John and Jill and Josh Stanton and Michael O’Neill, all friends of mine. I got top tips and takeaways and I actually then taught it. I taught my community, “Here’s what you have to do.” It was not like I had blank page syndrome. I sat down. I’m like, “Who am I to be teaching how to interview?”
I’ll tell you what, when I got to the end of that course, the end of that program, I was at a completely different level. I had realized how crappy some of my beginning interviews were because I was doing all these mistakes. The first one is to get some actual training. I can’t believe how many people who do interviews have never had any training. I get it. You’ve got experience. That’s cool as one half of the equation, but a professional athlete doesn’t go, “I’ve done 100 at-bats. I don’t need any more training.” You’ve got to constantly hone your skills. Every professional anything has a coach and is constantly honing their skills. The other thing is if you want to get good at it, teach it. It doesn’t mean you’ve got to create a business teaching it. Teach it to yourself, teach it to your kids, teach it to somebody, but that will hone and refine your skills.
I have interview tips. It’s one of my masterclasses that I run. I shared it with my good friend, Dustin Matthews, who started his podcast at that time. He studied up and he studied everybody and he’s so methodical about everything. He studied my thing. He applied all my tactics plus them. I was like, “Cut. I got to add this to my course.” He was blessing me. Most of it was that there’s a lot of things you subconsciously do and you don’t realize it. Until you go about to teach it, you’re not as aware that you’re doing that. That’s why I love that tip. That’s a great tip, Mark. Encouraging engagement is the next question that I usually ask. What are some of the best ways? You’ve been sharing it out there. You’ve got your Facebook group. How are you getting them to engage with you?
Engagement is two ways. Engagement happens for us in our group. Obviously, it’s hard to engage on a podcast because they’re listening, I’m talking. I’m constantly pushing them on the podcast. I’m always pushing everybody to the podcast. Once I get them onto the podcast, I know that they’re going to dive deep and they’re going to become loyal fans and friends. Once I have them on the podcast, then I’m constantly pushing them to the next stage in the relationship, which is our Facebook group, which is where I’m active at. I do live trainings every week, so they can actually have conversations back and forth. Our biggest engagement comes from those live trainings we do every week in the Facebook group.
I also do something where usually it’s once a month once a month. Every 4 to 6 weeks, I do a summit newbie consultation. I’ve got a pretty steep fee for people to have a consultation with me. When we do these cons summit newbies, I will do a consultation for free with somebody who’s still getting started working on their summit and we’ll record that and that goes onto the podcast. It also mixes it up a little bit for the podcast, but what that does is it gets people being like, “I want to do that.” They can reach out with that. Those are two of the biggest things. I push them to the Facebook group because I like engaging and interacting. I like to be able to see their names. I’m a pretty loose comical personality, if you will. I like to have fun with my people, with my tribe and that’s where I do it the most.
The last one we ask is about some of the best ways to monetize. You have ads in your show. If you haven’t checked out the show, it’s the Virtual Summit Podcast, as we’ve been talking about. Go check it out. He’s got ads in there and you’ve got a nice voiceover artist with a great accent. That works out well for you. There’s more than that that’s helping you in your process of monetization. What are ways that you found monetization flows from the podcast?
Keep in mind, those ads are for my company, so I’m not actually charging, I’m not monetizing from ads and I’ve been approached by people for that. It’s not that I’m not open to it. For me, the monetization comes a lot more for me getting the people into my programs and products. It’s worth me losing a couple thousand dollars that I could get right now in order to get tens of thousands of dollars later. The monetization, which if I’m being fully honest, I was surprised at how right JLD was going to be when it comes to how impactful my podcast ended up being for our company. It’s every week our clients and our customers, they tell us they love us. For one, they are raving fans and at least 50% of them came into our world by first coming into the podcast.
It blows my mind. It makes perfect sense. It makes perfect sense. They come to listen to the podcast. They become loyal fans. They like what they hear. It gets some of the information they want. They build some know, like, and trust, and then they’re ready to move forward. In our shows, I’m constantly highlighting our resources area, where we have a lot of great free resources to get started with a summit. From there, then they go into our sequences and when it comes to products and programs, we have amazing offers. If you’re trying to go, “I’m going to start this podcast tomorrow and make money the day after.” For me, it didn’t work out like that. Within a few months, we were making a lot of money that was coming directly from the podcast or you could say indirectly from the podcast, but it wouldn’t have happened if there was no podcast.
This ties into your binge factor perfectly. I usually like to ask the guests, the host, to tell me what they think their binge factor is. I’ll give you my view.
This is where I feel I’m tooting my own horn, but it’s my personality. I am who I am. I spent most of my life being a professional, a doctor, and I had to wear the suit and tie and I had to act a certain level. Once we gained success in the online space and I moved out of the healthcare professional arena into the entrepreneur space, I was like, “I’m letting my freak flag fly.” I’m going to be me. You’re going to love me or you’re going to hate me. I’m cool with either one of those. If you love me, we’re going to be BFFs. In my podcast, in my episodes, it is me. I think I’m funny. I make jokes. I’m sarcastic. I let my personality shine. With that being said, it’s not a nonsense episode. I still get straight to the point. I give incredible information. The people are entertained while they’re also educated. It’s one of the things we preach in the summit space is summits are, at this point, quite boring. They don’t want to listen to a boring podcast episode. They also don’t want to listen to 20 or 30 boring summit interviews.
I want to learn something, but I want to be entertained. We call that edutaining. That’s what we call it on our end. You definitely have an edutaining show, but my analysis of your binge factor is that there are so many, even in your interviews, which are a little more public service like here’s what’s going on out there. Interviews are a necessary thing in a podcast to also broaden your audience. There’s a purpose for them. When you do them, they’re always very useful, actionable, granular solutions to problems I’m probably experiencing if I’ve even dipped my toe in the virtual summit space. Whether I’ve been a guest or I’m trying to put together myself, there’s always something that I can relate to at that useful level. I believe that’s why people keep going through your whole catalog and binge on it. It’s merely that it’s like they don’t want to miss that next tip.
I also say we take a stance. We have a flag in the sand. We say some controversial things, not rude or whatnot, but for example, we’re anti list grabbers. We say that straight up. Half the summit coaches out there are teaching models or methods that are literally to steal the list from speakers. By us saying, “We are absolutely 100% against that,” it creates a riff, but the people who agree with that are like, “Yes, this person is telling the truth. They’re taking a stance.”
All my readers out there going, “That’s why Tracy invited Mark on the show,” because I say the same thing all the time. I’m sorry, but I’m not sharing my list with you if you. If the first question, and I said this on my coaching call with my clients, that when someone comes to me and they say, “I’ve got a virtual summit. I’d love you to be a speaker on it.” I get requests probably every single day because there’s one going on every single day right now. The first question they say is, “We need to know if you have a list of 5,000 or more,” then I say no. That’s my instant no and that’s what it is. It’s not that I don’t think that there’s something out there that’s valuable to my list and I am not willing to share it. I am willing to share that, but that’s an instant red flag for me. I’m still glad you say that. It is good to be controversial like that. I think that’s probably true. Having a very opinionated view but having it backed with so much experience that you have there. Truly, you have multiple binge factors, but these are some of them.
I want to talk a little bit about virtual summits. Obviously, you started this way before and of a sudden, we’re all a stay at home and we all decide, “I got onto virtual summits.” You had your stake in the ground way before this. It’s a good thing John pushed you because you starting made a huge difference in having that authority platform to say, “This is the guy. This is the person who knows what he’s talking about and not someone who pops up.” I bet you, if you looked at your competition, everyone popped up in the last three months.A lot of times it’s not the podcast itself you’re making money from, but the way it gets people to buy your products and programs. Click To Tweet
There are all kinds of virtual event and virtual summit experts out there right now that came about in a month ago. That’s fine. It’s everybody’s positioning and that’s cool. I like it. My stance in summits anyways has been we need to evolve summits. I’ve been doing summits for a long time. For me, I got into the summit space because I’ve been running summits to create successful companies, generated hundreds of thousands of leads and millions of dollars from summits. I never wanted to be a summit coach. What actually got me into the summit space was our virtual summit software. We built that for our company because we were running two to four multi-day summits, four to eight one-day summits every year. There’s nothing that I have found that’s free that’s more powerful than a collaborative marketing strategy, like a virtual summit. For us, we do them in all of our businesses and with the virtual summit software, the big mistake I made was thinking you could create a SaaS company, it would take care of itself.
I’m listening to you and I’m thinking, “We have such parallel.” I never wanted to be a podcast coach. When we developed our SaaS and admixing system, people couldn’t deploy something if they didn’t have a good show to begin with. Now I had to teach podcasting and help people and create consulting. We have very parallel. This is the mistaken thinking and that you’ll develop technology and everyone will know how to use it.
It was a naïve scenario by my part. We invested a lot of money into it at that time. I went in. I was like, “Part of my legacy is helping others build their legacy.” I like helping others get their message out to the world. I said, “Let’s jump into this.” I jumped full-time. That’s how a postural neurologist goes from health into teaching virtual summits. We do that. I jumped in, we started helping people with the software and then I realized there needs to be some educational component to this to help people. I got activated. I’m like, “There’s so many boring and bad summits out there and it’s not from a lack of access to information.
It’s from a lack of somebody saying like, “We’ve got to be better.” That’s where I took a stance in our business to say, “Summits have to evolve.” You can’t do the same old, boring interview style summit. It’s very parallel. We are constantly talking about edutainment and our side, edutainment style summits or binge-worthy style summits. From there it led into a bunch of other opportunities and honestly, it ends of the podcast, which is one of my favorite things to do in this business.
I’m so glad you said that because I’ve been sitting back up in my game here. One, because I’m competitive and I might want to outdo your buddy at the Utah Podcast Summit. I’m trying to up my graphical presentation so that when I’m on any summit in the future, people are like, “She’s got the tech thing going on.” I’m working on it that and side because you’re right, it gets so boring. Even though I know I’m a good speaker and I’m dynamic and energetic and people learn from me, but I’m like, “I’m bored with doing this.” If I’m bored doing it, then other people are bored listening to it. We’ve got to up the game there. I’m glad you’re working on that too.
People need to hear that and know that it’s not the speaker’s responsibility, it’s the host’s responsibility to make sure that the summit is powerful and impactful. They’re fortunate to have powerful and beneficial speakers like yourself on it. I’m excited. I’ll make sure JLD knows that he’s got a little competition.
I love that there’s such dynamic people in the space. I love to be a part of that collaboration part of virtual summits. You probably have a lot of repurposing tips and we talk about repurposing all the time with podcasts. Are you producing blogs and other things, but are you taking your virtual summits and moving them into podcasts as well?
I actually do the opposite. With our one-day summits, what we are teaching people to do is, one, repurpose. We always start at the summit level. That’s usually who we’re teaching, talking to, coaching, and things like that. I’m not the expert in podcasting, so I can’t pretend to be like a podcasting coach, but what we tell them is, “You’re doing this summit. You’ve got lots of content. It’s all about repurposing.” Creating contents, it’s like nails on a chalkboard for me. I love using my summits to repurpose across all our platforms. Our videos go onto YouTube or the videos then go and get the audio pulled in and transcribed. Now, we have blogs. The audio, what we’ve been telling people to do, this is a new thing, is create a popup podcast with that summit. It’s not you have to keep feeding it forever. It’s there. It’s a content tool that people find they get access to you and they come forward. It’s also a positioning tools to say, “I have a podcast on that.” They’re not going to be as powerful or beneficial as a live podcast that’s ongoing this, but you’ve got the content. Why let it sit there and collect virtual dust on a virtual shelf? Put it out there.
That’s exactly why part of our podcasting strategy on our platform is to allow multiple feeds so that you can quickly and easily put a popup show together. Scott Carson, he does that brilliantly. He has his Note Night in America, which is every Monday night, and that has its own show series. The reality is that they’re all working together to cross-promote each other. By keeping them separated, he can dial into the niche audience. If you’ve got people who are on the one on one stage of learning virtual summits, you don’t want to bore the advanced people who are ready to get those tactics from you and get that next level stuff. By separating them into multiple feeds, that’s one of the reasons we make that standard in our hosting process because we wanted people to utilize it, to do a better job of serving our audience and serving the reuse and repurposing of all the things that they’re producing and doing. What a shame if you do one thing with it.
That content was so good. It’s so valuable, it shouldn’t disappear.
Tell me, what’s changed now? You’ve been doing virtual summits for how long?
I’ve been doing virtual summits for years.
You’ve been through virtual summits for years and a lot has changed and the technology has gotten more supportive of you, thank goodness. Things aren’t working quite the same anymore. What do you see as a categorical shift in virtual summiting right now?
The biggest shift I’ve seen, we’ve had a dramatic increase. On our platform alone, there was 1,500 virtual summits. We’ve already seen that many already at the beginning of this year. There’s a lot more people doing summits. One of the biggest things we started teaching this and it happened for me by accident on our very first summit. We start teaching the One-Day Summit Formula. What we’ve seen is the shift from quantity of content to ability to consume quickly. With a one-day summit, it’s like it sounds. It’s one day, but it’s not a full day LinkedIn content. It means your audience has one day to consume it. What we’ve been seeing is as powerful as virtual summits are, some people will see and be 40 episodes in five days. I don’t have time for that. They won’t even participate. If they go, “I can get the answer to my problem in one day,” Amen. We’ve actually seen huge uptake of this model. For me, it’s a proud father moment. We brought this into conception and now I see them happening everywhere and they’ve even created and evolved from there in different ways. We even saw AWeber has been using One-Day Summits to increase their exposure into the conferences they’re speaking at.
We see it in SaaS. We see in coaching, we see it in every market niche now, but it makes perfect sense. Your audience doesn’t have a ton of time. They want a solution to their problem. They want it right now. It’s like learn this in a day. Done, easy. That’s been the biggest shift I’ve seen as far as summits overall. I have seen, unfortunately, a shift from the speaker side. Speakers are getting tired of that list grabber style summit. They’re starting to get a little negative taste in their mouth. Many of them are saying, “I’m not doing it.” That’s unfortunate because summits are extremely powerful and beneficial, but we have to think it’s got to be a win-win for everybody. That’s why I to refer to it as a collaborative marketing strategy. It’s got to be a win for the speaker. It’s got to be a win the audience. It’s got to be a win for a sponsor if you’ve got sponsors. Of course, if it’s doing that, it will be a win for you. That’s the other shift. I think there are some changes coming back to that now because speakers have lost the opportunity to speak on actual platforms. They’re like, “I guess I will take it.” I will tell you this. Like yourself, they’re like, “That’s a red flag. I’m not even dealing with that.”
I spoke on a lot of stages and virtuals at the same time because I’ve always been a big virtual proponent. For years, I’d been doing virtual summits before most other speakers were adopting them. The reality is that from a speaker standpoint, my time is busy now. I am requested all the time. I have to have a discerning level. When you learn quickly that the list grabber doesn’t do much for you and your audience and your message is buried under the list grab, then you’re not having an impact anyway. It doesn’t feel good to do that.
It’s be better, be different, be above and look at what’s in the best interest of the speaker and try and help them. It serves everybody in the long run. If you have an amazing experience with a summit host, you’re going to have a positive reflection on that. If they reach out in the future, you’d probably be open to doing something else with them versus the opposite experience.
Last question, and I want to end on this because you mentioned this from your very first episode and you mentioned it throughout. You care as much about the success of virtual summits and the technical side behind it. You care as much about the impact that they’re having. You’ve become a great influencer here in the podcasting industry and in your virtual summit space within that. Is there any movement that you could inspire with that influence that is important to you?
For me, it goes back to what even led me along this journey. I’m ex-military and I was pulled out of pre-med and sent to Iraq to fight in the war at twenty years old. That’s when I had my first experience with death. I still remember it vividly thinking, “If I died, what have I done with my life? What impact have I made? Who would hear my message moving forward?” It was no one. I made a vow to myself at that time. If I survived my tour of combat, I’d spend the rest of my life building a legacy. At that point, it was a legacy for me. Who’s crazy enough to get two Doctorates? Who does that? That’s what took me into medicine. That’s why I got two doctorates.
From there, it was to help more patients. That’s why we started the online institute. We went from being able to come help a couple of hundred patients a week to 1,000 to when we went to the online institute. Now we help over 100,000 patients a week. From there now, it’s not just my legacy. I want to help other people build their legacy. For me, the thing that drives me or the thing that I would say breaks heart is I see people out there that were like me. They have an idea, they have this vision, they have this thing that they want to do, but everybody’s telling them they’re crazy. They’re starting to believe themselves that they’re crazy and that they can’t do this.
It’s too big. It’s too hard. Many dreams end up never reaching the accomplishment or the level they should. What’s sad about that is it’s not that you didn’t reach your dream. It’s how many people were you going to impact that are now not ever going to have that impact. That’s what gets me pumped up and excited. I know you got a message. I know you’ve got an impact that the world absolutely needs to see and have. Don’t let anything hold you back or stop you from getting that message out.
Everyone out there, did you feel all that passion and excitement? He puts that into every single episode of the Virtual Summit Podcast. You’ve got to take a listen to Dr. Mark T. Wade. Thank you so much for joining me, Mark.
Thank you, Tracy.
Podcasting In The Virtual Summit Space — Final Thoughts
I’m sure you can see why I thought Mark was going to make a great guest for us, but not only that, you are going to learn so much from him. I wanted to make sure you got to learn a little bit more about virtual summits. I offered him the opportunity to come and talk to my clients and coach them. When I do that, I may make that a bonus episode for you. We’ll see how we do here. I’m very sure that he’s going to have such valuable tips for podcasters, even more depth than he could go into with us. This is the thing. When I went to art school, I think many of you may know that I met my husband there. We went to Rhode Island School of Design. One of the number one things that we do in art school is we have what they call Freshmen Foundation.
You get your feet wet learning how to draw, learning two-dimensional design, three-dimensional design and art history. You get your feet wet doing that. If you go into a painting program, you study the masters. That’s what I think is missing so often in many podcasts, in many programs and in many companies. This deep knowledge of how it works the hard way. Yes, I can do technical great things with software and I can do these new things. If I don’t understand how I’m supposed to fundamentally use it, how I’m going to apply it and why it’s easier and better using utilizing software and tools and technology, I don’t actually know how to use that to its best ability. By having started this years ago when it was harder, when it was harder to podcast, we’re building in this deep knowledge and understanding of how things need to work and why they work.
When we go in and utilize faster technologies and better tools and more dynamic software, when we go into use those things, we have a fundamental understanding of how to deploy them and how to use them. That’s what Mark brought you. He brought to us this deep understanding that everything that he developed has a fundamental benefit to building a virtual summit that does what you want it to do. There’s strategy behind it. That’s right in line with what I want you to get out of this show. I want you to get from every single guest I bring on this understanding that that strategy matters, but also deep knowledge and actionable, useful binge factor. Actionable, useful things combined with that deep knowledge, combined with his passion. Don’t miss the Virtual Summit Podcasts.
Go check it out. Go binge listen to it because it’s worth it. Especially if you’re hosting summits, but also if you’re hosting podcasts, because many of you may think you want to do a summit as the next step. Both places, make sure you go out there and listen to the Virtual Summit Podcast and go check out and follow Dr. Mark T. Wade everywhere on social media. If you go to The Binge Factor, it looks brand new. We’ve renovated the whole thing. We’ve added in some features. We’ve added in a way for you to apply, to be a guest on the show or suggest someone and recommend someone. Plus, we’ve also given a little gift out.
We’re going to be taking in and doing shout outs to brand new noteworthy podcasts. If you started your show, you can apply as well or you can recommend one of your good friends who started a podcast. There are applications for most of those on the bit then on TheBingeFactor.com. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing about your show as and seeing what actionable, useful tips and advice you can bring to other podcasters, other virtual summit goers and makers and creators out there. I look forward to helping you make your impact in the world. Thank you so much for reading. I’ll be back next time with another great episode and another great host.
Don’t miss Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Dr. Mark T. Wade too!
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