There is so much more to success than having a podcast to generate leads. For those who have been in this space for long, podcasting is about establishing credibility within one’s own niche and building an audience and community around you. This, in itself, is a great success builder. In today’s discussion, Tracy Hazzard brings over a guest who has been using his podcast for its credibility factor. She interviews Jeremy Evans, the founder and managing attorney at California Sports Lawyer. Through his podcast, Bleav in Sports Law, Jeremy takes a deep dive into his niche and tells us how he utilizes the platform for his business other than just generating leads. He also shares with us how he encourages engagement, invites guests, and produces his show. Listen to this episode to learn about this unique perspective on success using podcasting and how Jeremy uses it to build his authority in sports law.
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The Credibility Factor: Building Authority In Sports Law With Jeremy Evans, Host Of Bleav In Sports Law
I am interviewing someone a little bit different because it’s a tightly niched podcast, but it’s also a part of a bigger network. I thought it would be an interesting model for you all to look at as success in podcasting is at all different levels. I’ve got Jeremy Evans from Bleav in Sports Law. Bleav is the network’s name. That has to do with those that are in law and in entertainment and athletes. It has to do with the whole ecosystem around those that participate in this sports and entertainment industry. Their whole network has many shows on them and Sports Law is one of them. It’s Jeremy’s show. He’s the Founder and Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer who represents entertainment, media, and sports clientele. He is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles.
Jeremy and I met because we’re both a part of a similar group, a group that is looking at advising and helping those in the sports and entertainment industry. I’m obviously doing that on podcasts and he’s doing that on entertainment law. Various things happen in those groups where we exchange ideas and all kinds of things together. That’s how we met. His clients range from Fortune 500 companies to athletes, entertainers, models, television, and film producers. Also, studios, entertainment, media, and sports businesses in contractual, intellectual property, formation, distribution negotiation, and deal-making matters. This is the deep niche that is Jeremy’s podcast. He’s a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA, with the Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and an emphasis in American Politics. Thomas Jefferson School of Law with a Juris Doctor. Pepperdine University School of Law and a Master of Laws in Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law.
Prior to opening up California Sports Lawyer, Jeremy worked as a graduate law clerk at the Superior Court of California, advising judicial officers in civil and criminal law and motion matters. Jeremy has an interesting podcast. He’s an interesting guy in how he approaches it and how he’s utilizing it for his business. It doesn’t generate a lot of leads. You’ll know him say that, but it is a credibility factor for him. It is helping to build that. It’s so deeply in the niche, I believe that that’s the binge factor value for him with the right clientele, because they’re attracted to the two things. They’re attracted to that community that surrounds the network. Hopefully, the network is bringing you listeners. That’s the goal of any network. We’ll talk about that at the end of the show. Looking at it from that perspective, that deep dive niche, and then surrounding yourself with other podcasts that are around topics that are around that of core interest to that audience and community is a success builder and a success factor in and of itself. Let’s talk to Jeremy Evans, Bleav in Sports Law.
Jeremy, thanks so much for joining me. I’m excited to talk sports law. You’re going to think it’s an in the weeds topic, but it’s not. What you talk about is so universal across almost every single sport I can think of.
It’s a multibillion-dollar industry and it’s interesting because before I got into sports, I didn’t think about getting into it. It was more like, “I want to be a district attorney.” I want to do this based on whatever shows I was watching, Law and Order or whatever. Once I finally got into it, I did a baseball arbitration competition in law school. That sounds nerdy and it is. I did that, but it opened up these opportunities to me where I was like, “I can do what I love and make money at it.” Maybe that’s obvious to a lot of people, but to me at the time, it was like, “I’m going to pursue this.” Once I got in, you realize that it affects everybody. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it’s not the law part, it’s the business aspect, it’s the marketing and it’s the advertising. It’s all those things that get me up in the morning. That’s the stuff that excites me. The law stuff, that’s okay.
Is that how podcasting came about? You’d been thinking and analyzing this marketing and outreach and things. Is that how podcasting came into your purview of like, “What am I going to do?”
I would say that I applied on LinkedIn for a job at the Bleav Podcast Network and it was to be their in-house counsel. I thought, “This is going to be a great opportunity.” I ended up getting on the phone with the CEO of the company, a great guy. He goes, “Jeremy, we think that you’re a great attorney, but we think you’d be even a better host of a show.”
They’re like, “I’m sorry, but we would like you to be a host.” It had never occurred to you to do that before?
I had thought about doing podcasting and I’ve done a weekly column for years now and I’ve got over 300 articles. That was out there and I appear at events. I put on events. I clearly knew the marketing value. For me, I wanted to have a distribution platform and it’s the quote by Jonathan Perelman, “Content is king, distribution is queen and she wears the pants.” For me, I didn’t want to do some random podcast. I wanted to have a platform and a tool to do it. When Bleav came along, they basically set it up for me and there was no cost to me, it was an easy thing. I was like, “This is perfect. This is what I needed.”Podcasting allows you to be an expert in a subject. Click To Tweet
That’s the power of joining a network and not everyone’s so lucky to get to join a network. What advice did they give you when you were getting started in terms of prepping you to be a host because you’ve never done it before?
I have appeared on television before in major news networks and I obviously was okay with speaking, but you are right. Having to record by yourself, even if there’s video, it’s something you definitely have to become comfortable with. The best things that they told me were the average commute time is about twenty minutes. You generally want your shows to be twenty minutes long. I was like, “I can go 15 to 20 minutes.” I’ve also realized that when I looked around at most media, there are shows like the Joe Rogan Show that’s three hours long. Most people don’t have time to sit there and do that. I was like, “What can I get out there that is straightforward and direct and people can listen to and get used to?” Three hours was too much. I didn’t have that amount of time. I didn’t think people would listen for that long.
That’s an old school podcast misconception, the average commute time because we know there is no commute. Most of us aren’t commuting at all. That doesn’t apply anymore. You’ve figured that out in the way that you started creating content as to what people are responding to. We found out early with our very first show and we followed that guideline and did that rule, what happened was people were like, “I would like more. I would like you to go longer.” I was like, “You want us to do more? We’re in it.” We didn’t expect our audience to do that. I interviewed someone from The Buffer Podcast and because that’s social media, their listeners said, “We want less. We want soundbites. We want five-minute episodes.” They have no attention span. You have to listen to your listeners.
For you, we’re going to dive into your bingeability factor, but for your genre, you’re educating. When you’re doing educational, sometimes more is important. You always have to look at that size to be right for, “Am I teaching enough here,” but not overwhelming, and is it the right amount of time for that? It’s a good thing that you’ve developed that over time. You did different formats, though, and you’ve switched. Is that a quarantine thing or was that purposeful? You used to do some interview chats at the beginning of the show and now you don’t have as many in the most recent part of your feed.
The recent ones, no. It’s more about the availability of people and what they’re comfortable doing.
It wasn’t that you’ve found it didn’t work.
To be honest with you, I would love to do an interview for every show. It’s getting the right people. I will say that I provided a list of about 70 different contacts, CEOs of different companies that I’ve connected with, major talent and business leaders that I’m hoping to get on the show. I provided that to Bleav, basically saying, “Reach out to these folks and see if we can get them on the show.” The hope is there’s going to be a lot more of that.
Another process is to work with a couple because in your industry, the sports industry, there are publicity firms that specialize in that area. I’m going to refer a couple to you that I know in LA, so they can send you their clients, which makes it easier for you because they’re constantly feeding you the right profile people. You can grow your show there and get those accomplished. It has been challenging right now. It’s challenging to get the interview scheduled. Not everybody’s working, especially in sports and entertainment where you are where you play here. Everyone’s up in the air. It’s like, “What am I doing right now?” They’re hesitant to maybe even do interviews right at this moment. How have you enjoyed it? What have you found to be the best part about podcasting or maybe some of the things you thought you would love and you just don’t?
What I try to do every week is I’ll set out a list. I’ll think about topics that have happened during the week and I’ll get ideas from reading the trades. Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Billboard, Front Office Sports. I keep up in the industry and what’s going on. From that, I’ll develop ideas and I’ll go, “This is interesting. What are the trends here?” I’ll try to look at it from a legal and a deal-making standpoint. I’ll usually write a weekly column and sometimes even the podcast will be about the weekly column. If people don’t want to read it, they can hear about it on the podcast. I’ll expand more when I talk than I would if I was writing something.
It’s interesting because I will say that it’s funny. When you set up an interview, you go into it thinking, “This is going to be a fantastic interview. This is going to be great content.” What I’ve found is that unfortunately, whether it be people not being comfortable with interviews or even more than that, it’s that they can’t divulge certain information. I’ll have a major person on the podcast and I won’t even be asking controversial questions, but sometimes I feel I get corporate responses and I’m like, “We should have a little bit more fun here. This is not supposed to be a gotcha thing. I’m not a journalist.” That’s probably one of the biggest frustrations and surprises, honestly.
The funny part is that you think that people understand podcasts, but maybe they don’t and they haven’t listened to many. They don’t understand that distinction between what they’re trained to do on TV and the sound bites for radio when you’re doing a small spot and they haven’t gotten into this all, “This is more casual. This is more intimate.” It’s more of an industry education with whoever publicist is and whoever their media people are, getting them used to the fact that this is a different media type and they need to be trained differently. We’re all breaking them in in the process for those of us doing the interviews. I agree with you. If it doesn’t come out right, it doesn’t come out right. Have you not aired something because you were unhappy with it that you thought it was not good enough?
No, thankfully I’ve not had that situation. I will say from a technology standpoint, it’s been frustrating on one or probably two occasions where we’ve recorded. Unfortunately with people being at home, it may take 30 minutes to get set up because I’ll usually use Zencastr or something else. We’ll take 30 minutes and I’m like, “All you have to do is click the link. Go to the link, make sure your computer has a microphone in it and your volume is on.”
That’s why we keep it simple here. We’d only use Zoom now because it does happen. It happens when you use these other systems that you get people only have a phone. They don’t even have a computer that they’re being your guests from. Especially when you are in a place at which you’re broadening out who you’re reaching to and they’re traveling and they’re busy and it’s hard to get them. Having the easiest technology, the easiest way for them to connect up with you is going to be better in the long run. I could see that being frustrating because you only have so much time with someone. That’ll cut your interview short.
There was one time where I had to send in 50 or 52 edits to the recording to bleep out background noises, children in the background, dogs in the background. The episode sounds great, but ultimately it took a while to get there.
Let’s talk little production things. Did you listen afterwards and make your edit notes or do you write it down while you’re recording?
I’ll write it down while I’m recording, but thankfully I’ve been pretty good in the sense that I’m used to public speaking and I’m okay speaking by myself. That’s probably the easiest thing. Those parts go smoothly. I have to edit if there’s an odd exchange with a guest. In terms of a transfer, I’ll ask a question, there will be ten seconds of pause. Thankfully, I’ve been good at recording once and then it’s good to go.
That’s my preferred way is to go with it. It saves time for everyone. Let’s talk about our five things that we do to try to create successful shows and then we’ll get into your bingeability factor. What are some of the best ways you found to increase listeners?
It’s usually by bringing in other people. If I have a special guest on, they’re more likely to share the information or share the podcast. I had on the Chief Development Officer for the Rose Bowl and then another gentleman who runs a major global sports sponsorship program for a big company. It was interesting because they shared it with some of their students in their class and shared it on social media and the numbers went way up.Branding is both about who you have connections with and what content you are putting out there. Click To Tweet
That’s how you also hit some binge numbers. Getting other people to share it is a great way to increase listeners. What are some of the ways though that you are able to encourage engagement with those listeners?
That’s something I’m learning every day. Social media is such an interesting place. I’ll use all platforms to share it. Bleav does a good job of posting it every week on their Instagram account. I’m learning there. Engagement probably could be more. Maybe the better guest I get on, maybe that’ll increase. Maybe more people realize that the content I’m putting out is helpful. I know I get a ton of views on the articles that I write, but getting those people to transfer over to the podcast, I’m learning. I frankly don’t know what the answer is. It’s tough on social media because engagement is great, but especially in a time like now, you almost feel you put out on an opinion out there and you’ve got 50,000 people with a different view. That part is tough.
We talked a little bit about how you’re going about getting guests, but do you have some criteria on how you ensure that they’re the right fit for you?
Number one is I have to know them. I’ll get invites for people to speak on the show and unless they’re top talent and I know that they can deliver, I’m not going to do it. I’ll get people that’ll say, “I want to promote my book,” or “I want to do this.” I’m like, “That’s not what the show is for.” I want to be true to the listeners that are out there and I don’t want them to be listening to some book review on a book I’ve never even read. It’s a good question, but I have to be close to them. I have to know them, be connected to them. I’ve had to have talked to them once before and they have to be in the industry. I would say I try to steer away from attorneys in the sense that I bring attorneys on, but I don’t want it to be strictly like this is lawyers on the show. Those are usually my criteria. I know them and they have some connection to the industry.
If you don’t know them, but they intrigued you, do you have a pre-call or do anything like that?
I have a phone call and feel them out or I know somebody that knows them, I’ll inquire. There was one time I got invited to do a radio show and we did a pre-phone call and this wasn’t even my show. This was a radio show I was being invited to. The pre-call was nothing but F-bombs on the entire show. I was like, “There’s no way that I’m getting on this show.” There were some controversial things that were said, I was like, “Don’t invite me.” It’s like, “I’m good.”
Those are some things that a lot of people have to pay attention to. Getting great guests isn’t like, “It’s a big name.” It’s, “Let’s check all this stuff out and make sure that it’s going to be right.” You’re the curator for your audience and for your listeners. If you don’t curate well, then they’re not going to keep listening. Smart moves there. Producing in a professional way. You’re working obviously with a network. You’ve got production help on the other side, but what do you do on your end to make sure that this is the most professional production you can put together?
That was something they helped out with a lot because they would recommend a certain microphone or certain platforms to use. I’ve found that recording from my laptop is completely fine. Make sure that it turned the air conditioner off and that the fridge isn’t going crazy. I was living in an apartment and usually where I record, the door is right behind me. Thankfully I’ve not had dogs running down the hallway or anything like that. You try to improvise and you hopefully can take a pause and then cut it out later on. That’s pretty much what I’ve been able to do.
Do you write an outline or a script to when you’re planning your solo topics?
I do. I’ll usually write the weekly column and then unless there’s some huge hot topic going on and I’ve already written the article, I will definitely write an outline. I will have 3 or 4 major points I want to touch on and those ended up being the best shows. I can look at an article or look at the topics I’m going through and it works out fine.
It wouldn’t be podcasting if we didn’t talk about monetization. Our last thing is you’ve thought in monetization because you’re already working with the networks, there are ads in place, but did you think about what it would do in terms of alternative monetization? Has it been working for your business? What is it doing for you and how has it monetizing what you do every day?
I don’t have 1 million followers or 100,000 listeners. In that sense, the money is not going to be there from an advertising standpoint. It’s there, but it’s not going to be huge numbers, but I agree with you 100%. The monetization is in the fact that when people look me up on my website or whatever they go, “He has a podcast.” Frankly, it allows me to be an expert in a subject. I have to do the research before I can comment on it. I’ve loved it in that sense. It’s cool to have. Regardless if I had one listener, I would still be proud of it. I would go, “I put time and effort into this.” It’s nice to have your own show and to be able to be like, “I’m a producer.” At least in that sense, it’s cool.
The authority building aspect of it is probably serving you very well. Let’s talk a little bit about bingeability factor. Everyone who listens to the show knows that obviously the show is called The Binge Factor for a reason. That’s because we believe that when people binge, they consume more and they want more. They want to buy and they want more of you. They already begin to know, like, and trust you faster. Those trust factors and I imagine trust-building is an extremely important part in your business because the sports side of it is ripe with lots of scam artists and lots of people who take advantage of others. The sports figures that I’ve worked with, many of them go through 5, 6 marketing firms in the two years they’re working with me or things like that. They are very used to being sold a bill of goods that doesn’t fly or doesn’t work. In your business, you have to prove that trust. What do you think? Do you think people are bingeing on your show?
According to the listener numbers, probably not.
That’s a good point. I want to break that down for you and for the readers out there. When we see a lot of people join our first couple of episodes or we have high numbers only on our most recent. If we see it on our first three and our most recent, but we see high numbers there that are not translating into a normal average amount in the middle. That means that we have people who are checking out our show, which is good. They’re finding us, but it means they’re not subscribing and listening all the way through. These are indicators. It doesn’t matter whether you have 100 listeners or 1,000 listeners or 10,000 listeners, it’s still the same indicator. Our first few shows are the way people get a taste of us.
There are those binge listens to come into the most recent because they want current information, so they’ll check out the most recent one. You will always see higher numbers on those. When you see a nice transfer between the new numbers you see, so let’s say your episode one this week got 100 new listeners to it. You’ve got 50 on the episodes that follow, half of the people who tried you came in and then listen to more episodes. That’s great. You have a 50% transfer into subscribers from listening to that first episode. That would be amazing numbers. You should be thrilled with that. Some people have it where it’s 10%. Knowing what that is, that’s how you’re going to see the bingeability because then you’ll see them going one after the other. The more episodes you have of course, the more they’ll reach out to you and tell you they’re bingeing on you. That’s when you know.
I will say that the couple of things that have happened that are encouraging. Number one is I do get people reaching out to me saying, “I listen to your show all the time,” which is great. It’s very humbling and I’m like, “That’s awesome.” The other thing I’ll say is that the numbers have gone up every month that I’ve been doing the show. There are some positives there. Sometimes it’s a thing of being tough on yourself about, “You don’t have one million followers the first month. What’s wrong with you?”
You’re not out there playing NFL sports with the access to a million people. Give yourself a break.Organizations allow opportunities for people to connect, take on leadership, and meet people. Click To Tweet
It’s a good question and it’s a fair one too.
Here’s what I think. Every show has a binge ability characteristic to it, whether you’re talking about millions of people bingeing on you or hundreds of people bingeing on you. What matters is that it’s the right people bingeing because you have a business to run at the end of the day. What I suspect is happening for you is that your topics are leading people in and they’re finding you. They’re saying, “I learned about this. Now I want to know about this, this and this. I see episodes. I’m going to keep listening.” At some point in that process, they will hit the subscribe button. Once they’ve done a couple of them, they’ll go, “Let’s subscribe because there are going to be new things coming in. I don’t want to miss it.”
That translates into your bump in subscriber base. I suspect that they’re coming in and jumping around a little bit before they start bingeing on it. If someone’s saying like, “My kids got drafted, what do I do?” I could see a parent going in and finding your show from the great keywords in the things that you’re talking about, going in and going, “I should know about this and I should listen to that.” From an education standpoint, it’s an educational show if you want to inform yourself about how an industry works. The critical factors in that industry, what I should know now. You’ve done a fabulous job of that. You’re not a boring lawyer, Jeremy. There’s nothing boring about it. That doesn’t surprise me. We have a friend in common, Brandon Leopoldus, and Brandon doesn’t hang around with boring people. That’s also helpful. You’re talking in plain English and you’re not making it boring and too legalese for us.
Thank you. I appreciate you saying that. You’ve brought up a great idea in the sense of looking for topics that are helpful to people versus topics that I wrote. I originally chose it because I thought it was interesting to me. That’s a good point. You could help some people, but also increase your listeners.
Do you have any advice for someone out who’s sitting on the fence out there thinking, “I’ve got a law firm. I’ve got an accounting firm. I’ve got these kinds of things. I’m a professional. I don’t need to do this?” Do you have advice for them about the power of or whether or not what they should consider before starting a podcast?
I get questions like that a lot from other professionals or law students or college students or someone’s been in a career for 40 years. I always answer it by saying, “The power of anything I’ve found is in geography, branding and community.” The fact is the zip code still matter. If you want to be an entertainment and sports, you probably need to be in Los Angeles. There are some exceptions to that, but that’s generally the rule. Branding is both about who you have connections with in terms of your alumni base in terms of where you went to school. It’s also about what are you putting out there in terms of content. That can be through an article or a podcast. Of course, it could help you. Community is the last piece. I always say that join organizations, like you were talking about fuel earlier or Sports Lawyers Association, California Lawyers Association. These types of groups that allow opportunities for people to connect, take on leadership and meet people, to me, I find that all my business comes from that three-pronged prism. Podcasts fits right inside there.
Jeremy, thank you so much for sharing with us. I appreciate it. Bleav in Sports Law is available on every directory out there. Check it out and check out how Jeremy runs his show, check out how the Bleav network runs and go check out his binge factor for yourself.
Thank you so much.
I hope you got a lot out of that episode from Jeremy and learning about how he structures his show and the struggles that he’s had in terms of setting it up and figuring things out. He’s like all of you out there who I talk to every single day, still figuring out and how much support are you getting and how much you are figuring out on your own. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a part of a network. There are very few who are in that lucky situation like Brooke and Aricia, when I talked to them from Wondery. You’ll remember that episode, Even The Rich podcast from Wondery, they had tremendous support and they were hired voices. It’s a totally different model than those of you who are using podcasting to build your business.
You’re in it. It is a marketing vehicle and you’ve got to participate in that process. No matter how great the network choices that you make or the communities that you’re with, at the end of the day, you still have to make a lot of decisions, pre-production decision and postproduction decisions, about how you want to both prepare and develop and record your show. Also, then how you’re going to promote it on the outside. How are you going to promote? How are you going to engage? How are you going to funnel through or warm-up leads that come from your podcast? That’s all on you no matter what happens, there is no network support that we found in any way, shape or form at anyone across the industry. I haven’t come across with one that supports in that model of business.
Obviously, we try to do that here. It’s part of our model of how you utilize the admixing system. At the end of the day, it’s so custom to every single person’s business, like it’s custom to Jeremy’s business about how he’s going to use it and what he’s going to do with it. You have to make those choices and you have to participate in that process yourself. It’s interesting when you are choosing and you’re looking out for a network, here’s some advice that I’m going to give you because Jeremy’s a great example of that. First off, I don’t love the name Bleav. It’s not a great name to say and then to figure out how to spell if someone’s typing it into a search engine. I understand it and it’s an in the industry term for them, but the reality is that it doesn’t work well when you’re announcing your show and you’re going out there.
My advice for the network is go ahead and change the name. That doesn’t work great for yourself. The reality is you should give yourself a jazzier name so that you can say something sports law. In this case, you’d pick something cool. Sports Law for Top Athletes or something where you’re qualifying it to target your audience deeper within that community of listeners. You’re also making a more unique name that’s a little bit easier to type in and that will get them to you directly. I had a hard time getting to Jeremy by typing his name. There are a couple of Jeremy Evans as hosts out there on different shows. It took me a little bit to get to him when I was typing in general search information. Tying the two things together, you want to make sure people can find you when you go and give a talk somewhere. Those things are important in choosing a network.
The other part about it is make sure the network is doing a good job of driving listeners and leads in the target audience, which is why you want to choose a community Jeremy’s chosen here. Every single podcast that’s in their niche and in their network is driving to the same audience out there, which is new and upcoming athletes, people in the entertainment and sports industry in general. They’re all warming them up for whatever they might want to talk about. One might be talking about sports. Another one might be talking about high-value insurance and another podcast might be talking about marketing on social media. Different things and aspects that deal with that industry as a whole and you’re now a part of that group.
If the network’s doing a great job of driving leads and traffic into it, then your podcast, as long as it’s a good show Jeremy’s is, which is very detail-oriented, it’s granular, lots of interesting things and good stories that he tells about how it applies. You’re going to draw people in and they’ll naturally be drawn to you. That’s a great lead generation and an organic lead warmup but from a narrow audience. If you did that in a broad audience, maybe the only place a radio station you could be on is in the LA area because we have so many sports and entertainment figures in the LA area, but then you’re missing Mike Trout down the freeway because Orange County isn’t listening to that radio station.
This is where you want to attract in a region. That’s where podcasting can do a lot better than general subject matter radio, where it’s too broad for you to do that show on. Deep dive niche network, and then having a great show, that’s a combination for success and Jeremy is on a great path for that right now. Take a listen to Bleav in Sports Law, Jeremy Evans. Check it out for yourself and check out the Bleav Network and understand how they’re structured. Maybe you can find one and/or maybe start one in your own niche. The number one thing to remember is it’s your job if you’re going to head a network and it’s also your job when you vet a network to make sure that they’re spending money and doing a good job of driving listeners in your niche. Driving listeners into that category and grouping so that all the shows will benefit. I hope that this was interesting for you and I’ll be back next time with another binge factor and another great podcaster out there for you to model success by. Thanks again.
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