Successful podcasting is not so much about having millions of viewers as it is about having a guesting strategy by which your rapport with your guests helps build your show and your business. Peter Winick, founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage and host of the Leveraging Thought Leadership Podcast, is among these people. For more than 20 years, he has helped individuals and organizations design and grow their thought leadership platforms and grow revenue streams from them. Tracy Hazzard recently wrote an article about his podcasting strategies that drive his show into a continuing success. He joins her again on the show to talk more about guesting strategy, building rapport, and getting new clients. Don’t miss out on this episode!
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Thought Leadership Podcasting With Net New Client Metrics With Peter Winick
Host Of The Leveraging Thought Leadership Podcast
We’re going to talk about thought leadership. We’re going to talk Leveraging Thought Leadership with Peter Winick. Peter and I already met because I wrote an article about him. Normally the whole process works here where I interview someone on the show and then I write the article about them. I already wrote the article about Peter before and I’m inviting him on the show to come back because I thought he could share some valuable insights into how he’s using a show.
This show is not set up to be a big audience, big reader grab. It’s set up on that guesting strategy side. The strategy by which your connections and your rapport with guests helps you build your show, and helps you build your business. That’s why I wanted to bring Peter around because that is an interesting aspect. It is probably the number one most effective aspect. I hear from people who say, “I have a successful show.” It isn’t, “I have a successful show because I have millions of readers.” It’s, “I have a successful show because my business is successful because of my podcast.” That’s where Peter falls in.
Peter Winick is the Founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. For the past two decades, he helped individuals and organizations build and grow revenue streams through designing and growing their thought leadership platforms, as well as acting as a guidance advisor for increasing business to business sales of Thought Leadership Products. His clients come from a diverse set of backgrounds and specialties. They include New York Times bestselling business book authors, members of the Speakers Hall of Fame, recipients of the Thinkers50 awards, CEOs of public and privately-held companies, and academics at prestigious institutions such as Yale, Wharton, Dartmouth, and London School of Business.
Peter has built his career in Thought Leadership Leverage to serve the needs of these individuals and others like them. He uses his entrepreneurial experience in spirit along with a passion for using relationships to leverage growth to help CEOs, business owners, and internal practice leaders looking to grow revenue, revitalize, marketing, and improve customer experience through applying the principles of Thought Leadership. Leveraging Thought Leadership as a podcast is an interesting, deep dive into the interview process, connection, and rapport building through the guest’s process. I can’t wait to talk about that with Peter and I can’t wait for you to read it. Let’s go to the interview.
Peter, thanks for joining me. Leveraging Thought Leadership. I love the topic. It’s focused, which I think is probably why it’s working well for you.
When we chose the topic area, we went narrow-based on our objectives. We’ve stayed with it. We don’t deviate from it because it’s always easy to get distracted and say, “That doesn’t fit. It should fit.” It either fits or it doesn’t.
I wrote an article about you. Normally I do an interview and then I write an article. I wrote an article about you and then we’re doing the interview afterwards because there were some things that intrigued me about what was shared in the Q&A. You said, “The first nine months of or year were fun. I learned a lot, but it didn’t move our business. We have a flywheel effect in place that is amazing for a brand. It is incredibly cost-effective way of acquiring net new clients.” That’s what I want to talk about with you. How does this flywheel work? What is working for you on this guesting and getting new clients? Why is that working for you?
I have to step backwards and then answer the question directly. Years ago, probably a dozen plus when I started blogging, I went to a friend of mine who had 7 or 8 well-known blogs at the point. I said, “Give me some tips. What do I’ve got to do?” It was this Yoda-like, “Patience, young man.” I wasn’t quite young, but his whole thing was, “Don’t commit to doing a blog, commit to doing a hundred.” I had not necessarily the same a hundred but that same mindset when I started the podcast I’m like every other entrepreneur, I’m impatient. I don’t have time to waste. I want to do something, I want to see a result, immediate gratification, and all that except it doesn’t work. If I would have done 5 episodes or 10, that was a waste, wasted money, time, effort, and energy.Good podcast guests can also potentially be good clients. Click To Tweet
I committed to, I don’t remember what the number was 50 or 6 months or some significant investment to work out the kinks and then see any results. I was watching the metrics but it wasn’t until almost about a year into it. That things sort of the compounding interest effect, where things started happening. In the beginning, for example, going back to your question, I cashed in a lot of chips with friends, colleagues, etc. I have a good network. I’ve got access to lots of authors, thought leaders, speakers to people that we wanted to be as guests. I would ask people to come on and they would do me a favor and chat, voila. We have a podcast that would start to happen, which was interesting/weird/odd was all of a sudden, and out of nowhere. These podcasts agencies or guesting agencies or columns with specialized PR firms started pitching to us all these different, impressive folks. This is funny because our numbers are horrible from a download.
That usually happens in the beginning anyway.
Oprah, Tim Ferriss, you had nothing to worry about. I’m not even in the same universe to pretend to nip at your heels. All of a sudden people were spending. What that led me to understand is certain types of people are spending money to get these people, to pitch them, to being on our show. Why is that? Some of it is the brand that we’ve had, there’s a halo effect. We’ve had some other great people that look like them, act like them, and behave like them. They want to be in that crowd. We then developed rigid systems and processes. If someone pitched us, we would look at that and say, “Not only would they potentially make us get good guests but as important, plus or minus, would they potentially make a good client?” That’s what I’m more worried.
I’m equally interested in because I am interested in putting out a good podcast. We have a bunch of systems and processes in place. We never put a guest on raw. We always do a pre-podcast call. More often than not, the nature of that call is, “Let me tell you who I am, what I do, how I do it, who I work with. Tell me your story.” We’re getting to know each other and it’s a non-sales to sales call where very often the potential guests, which was taking this call seriously because they paid someone to get to us, this is a win for them, is intrigued, “What do you do? How do you do it?” Happy to talk about that, but we’re prepping for the podcast. That model has been effective. It has some of the benefits of a sales call but everybody’s much more chill, relaxed, and listening with intent.
That’s great. It’s also building a rapport, which is part of why your show has bingeability characteristics. It has this sense of you are starting farther into the conversation with the people that you are interviewing. You do already feel that you have a rapport with them as a listener. That I think helps with the understanding of transfer of authority between thought leaders. You’re an expert in the thought leadership space. If this person wasn’t a thought leader, then you wouldn’t have a rapport with them. It’s building on that authority, the value that you’re bringing to the guest, and to your shop.
There’s real power in the screening process. I don’t want people to listen into, hear their dentist or something. I’m sure there’s a podcast for that.
There are podcasts for that but a totally different model. We talk about bingeability factors here. What you’ve got is that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about what’s going on in thought leadership and the role that it plays in growing businesses. There is this, “It could get sad. It could get like everybody’s saying the same thing.” How do you keep it mixed up as you’re going from interview to interview?
I find this funny, there will be guests or people that are their publicist that’ll send us a, “Can you send me a list of the questions in advance?” I’m like, “No, that would be called an email conversation,” and, “What will we talk about?” and I’m like, “I’ll figure it out.”
That’s my, “No, I’m not going to interview you,” list.
I’m like, “Okay, I’ll see you.” Then it’s like when they’re reading from a list or a script. I do my homework. I want to know about them. It’s my platform. If they’re used to being interviewed around, if they’re doing the book tour, they can do the book spiel and they can do it in their sleep. It’s not like, “I don’t care about that, but that’s not what we’re going to talk about.” I want to talk about the stuff that no one’s asked you about yet. “How come you publish with this publisher and not that publisher?” “What’s the impact of COVID on your speaking business which was the driver to your mate?” This was a little bit more of the behind the scenes business stuff. What makes the conversations interesting is they haven’t had them 100 times.
They’re open and they flow with it, then they’re taking it at ad hoc. You’ve made some changes to your show in days, you have a cohost. Why did that happen? When did that happen?
That happened less 45 or 60 days. What happened is, again, the podcast is there to serve the business. We don’t make money directly from the podcast. As our business changes and evolve, we decided to evolve the podcast. Traditionally the markets that we’ve served or the individual author, speaker, thought leader, consultant, academic, and we still do that all day, every day. However, a few months pre-COVID, we realized that there is an opportunity for us to take the expertise and the skillset that we have and work in a different market. The way that came to us as a coconut fell on our head was when two large Fortune 100 companies reached out to us within two weeks. We’re a twelve-person firm. We’re not Deloitte.
I miss a lot of things. We’re not in our space. We’re somewhat maybe well-known but certainly not in the Fortune 100 space. The two calls were much similar, “We’re investing in Thought Leadership. Your name, your firm’s name keeps popping up to the top. Somewhat due to the podcast. Can you help us?” From that, Bill Sherman, my Chief Operating Officer, is now co-hosting the sessions that we do. We’re calling it the Organizational Thought Unit.Interesting conversations are ones that you haven’t had a hundred times before. Click To Tweet
You are having a shift in theme too?
The shift in the theme is it’s not only authors, speakers, and thought leaders. We denoted in the graphics and all that on the episodes because not all of our traditional audience would care about that and vice-versa. We’re looking like Bill has interviewed the head of Thought Leadership at AARP. I interviewed the head of Thought Leadership at Cognizant. We’ve got a bunch of others lined up, big brand name companies. These are functional thought leaders in big multinational organizations and nonprofits. Not the named author of a New York Times bestselling book. We pivoted a little bit there and it seems to resonate early. We’ve only put 10 of those in Canada out of the 250 something we got.
I heard a couple. It is shifting, but it hasn’t shifted in its style. Bill has adapted and modeled the same style that you do. It’s great because it’s always a toss-up whether or not when you get co-hosted. If you’re going to have the same rapport and relationship with the audience, at the same time, which I think you’ve done successfully. You’ve also done a few topic-based episodes, roll-up style episodes where you have multiple guests. They’re focused on topics like trust or keynote speaking. To the average person that sounds cool and, “I’ll have multiple guests and have all these features.” It’s a highly-produced show, but it’s also a lot more work on the other side of it too.
We did those as an experiment. I wasn’t convinced that it was worth the effort. I don’t know when we’ll do those again. The concept was, “Let’s do a highlight reel instead of each.” Our shows are only twenty minutes like yours. I try to keep them short and tight, but then we realized that when we’re promoting them on social, a lot of our guests have significant audiences. We thought, “If we take New York Times Bestsellers and we put together a montage of five New York Times Bestsellers and my interview in each of them separately for 3, 4 minutes that we pulled from a show. Put it together and that would be interesting. It was basically a lot more work for the same downloads and reach. I don’t know when. If we’ll do that again, to me, it’s one big experiment.
It’s always that a lot of people do that style episode on your 100th. I noticed that you did that as well. I think he did a two-parter on your 200. You do that and it seems, “This will be fun and easy,” but it’s not easy. You have to pick the spots. You have to do that. You can’t sub that out to someone because it needs to be the right clips with the right people to effectively send the message that you want to send to future guests, to clients, to the right people.
I have a great team. That was the gist of it is going through each of the episodes to stitch it together so it doesn’t look like you have a junker cargo buy in, that’s got a blue fender and a green hood. We didn’t want that.
Well done on those because I know how difficult those are. When you started from the first episodes, there’s that you have skills as an interviewer. You had skills before you started the show. Where did you get those skills and how did you continue to develop them as you’ve gone through your 230-plus episodes?
The first way I came to realize I might have these skills is by realizing the skills I don’t have. I was blogging because that’s what you did. Putting content out in various forms for years. I don’t particularly enjoy writing and I don’t think I’m that good at it. I’m adequate. We’ve had blogs that have gone viral, and I’ve done hundreds of them. I then said, “What do we do all day?” I’m with clients talking all day, I’m in meetings all day. I do that fairly well. I’m then, “This podcast thing sounds like a typical phone call that I do. I can relate and I don’t need to do a lot of prep.” I don’t need to do a lot of work like with blogging where you get a little nuts with it. That would be one factor. The other factor is I’m constantly consuming content. I’m on an audiobook. I read lots and lots of books. I’m not an audiobook guy. I think with like ADD, I’d have to put it on 10x to get the speed that would keep me going. I do listen to a lot of podcasts. I’ve got a couple of things along the way, because there have been some authors that I love that have podcasts that are awful because it’s a different skillset. Others that are also awesome podcasters but their books are horrible and everything in between. I try to pick up what I can and make it conversational.
What do you think are some of the things that you learned the most from doing this that you’d love our readers to have who are aspiring podcasters, aspiring business builders? What have you learned that’s worked for you that you think are key factors in building a show?
One is you’ve got to separate the church and the state. Meaning, I’m lucky I chose not to do this until I had the team around me or part of our team skilled up to do everything I don’t want to do, and not good at in terms of the technical. There are a tremendous amount of invisible systems and processes involved in the precast process production and postproduction social media. There are 50 things that need to happen and I only have to do one thing which is hit record and talk for twenty minutes. I’ve got the easy job. I knew that I didn’t want to be involved in the other stuff. We’ve got tight systems and processes in place every step of the way.
The goal was to treat me like a seven-year-old, “What do I have to do?” “When do I have to do it?” There are all kinds of stuff that I don’t want to know. I’ve got enough going on, we’re a company. I think if you’re not in a position to do that, and you don’t need to be. Make sure you have a full understanding of what it takes. The tools get better and better every day. We were going to do this 4 or 5 years ago. I was at that point, I was traveling a heck of a lot more than anybody.
That’s why I have a business. A few years ago, I had to figure out all the systems, processes, and teams. People then were, “Tracy, do it for me.” That’s how I have a company. You’ve hit on what many find extremely hard. It’s still not as easy as it should be for most but it is improving every single day here as to how to start a show and support systems. There are some things you cannot do that must be done by you and your team. In your case, because of your guest’s strategy of wanting to be connected to the right people who could potentially be clients, who refer you to clients, you are the only people who would know that. You cannot sub that out.
We’ve explained over and over again, a lot of these are the types we’re looking for. Still many of them, 7 out of 10, they send us, “That’s a dog trainer.” Some of it is about incentive. Part of it is when you understand some of the agency’s incentives, they get paid many on a per placement basis. There’s a lack of alignment. I engage some of their services, as a guest, prior to launching the show to learn a little bit. I want it to be on the other side of the mic for a while. I realized, “They’re trying to convince me to say yes to everything. I’ve got better things to do with my time. I don’t deal with micro businesses. I don’t deal with a stay-at-home mom. There are lots of things I don’t do, I have no reason to.”
That’s not a part of your show. Normally on this show, I will go over the five things that you’ve learned about booking great guests and doing some of these things. You’ve already done that. We already covered that in the Authority Magazine articles. I do want to share what you consider your bingeability factor. Normally on the show, I always ask the guest what their bingeability factor is, but you gave that to me before so we’re going to go over that. I normally give my view of it. It’s a psychoanalysis of your show. Your bingeability is in the tight focus, obsessively-focused on the unique needs of our tightly defined marketplace. That’s great. That seems like that was strategic from the beginning. Did you hone it in over time? Did that happen? Did you hit on it and knew it?Your podcast serves your business. It has to evolve as the business evolves. Click To Tweet
We knew from the beginning that this isn’t a hobby. “Why are we doing this? We’re investing real marketing dollars in a format in the hopes that it yields a return. Only if it was going to do anything else that any of our other marketing investments do would that be true.” This is where I think people get jammed up, whether it’s social media outbound. They get enamored by the medium. It’s like, “No, you’ve got to have a tight marketing strategy or his strategy in the place first,” which will dictate what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.
Let me add onto that. My bingeability factors for you is that what you have is a high shareability factor as opposed to the bingeability factor. You have about 75% of the traffic that comes to your website that will translate to your show overall that is coming from social. That means that whatever you’re doing in your relationship building on the show with the guests, they’re sharing it. Your team is doing something right and the guests are doing that.
That’s part of our process in that. I realized that 9 episodes out of 10, the guest is far more well-known, interesting, and probably has a bigger following than I do. That’s not an accident.
A highly shareable show should become a more bingeable show. Those two things do go hand-in-hand especially if there’s synergy in the thought leadership. It’s the thought leaders that you’re interviewing their audience is right for your audience. They’re interested in that. That’s where we see the bingeability can help the growth of a show. In your case, the shareability can help the growth of a show. It helps you get better guests and at the end of the day, as part of your strategy. For the new podcasters out there, those ones that are sitting on the fence aspiring to be one, but they haven’t taken the leap yet, what’s your advice?
Number one, think about it’s a year from now and all your dreams came true relative to podcasting. Why are you doing this? Be really clear. It could be fun. It could be ego. The more clarity and specificity you can get around that, the more you can stay focused and stay tuned into that. If you’re doing it, “Everybody else is doing it.” That’s a dumb reason. “I’m doing it to grow my brand.” “I’m doing it to build my network.” “I’m doing it to find new clubs.” All there are great things, but document them and hold true to them.
As you’re saying that, it’s starting to occur to me that though there are probably a lot of things too, it’s cool to be a podcaster nowadays. There’s an authority building factor to that. What has that effect been on the other side of your business? You getting asked for more speaking events, or maybe asked to be featured in publications. Has that had an effect being a podcast host on this particular topic? Has it grown your ability to do more of those things?
A little bit of speaking, it comes about a lot of guests’ opportunity based on people understand the style and all that. Also think from a value prop to my potential clients. We can talk about podcasting with authority because we do it. Not, “Maybe you should podcast. Here’s what we’ve done. Here’s what we’ve learned, etc.” The other piece that’s interesting is in my conversations with prospects oftentimes if they’re serious at this point, they’ll say, “I was listening to an episode, then you said this.” They were quoting me in the initial calls. I’m like, “That’s a little creepy.”
Back to me, that’s an awesome thing.
“I heard you when you were interviewed, you said this and I think I have that problem.” The other thing that lets us do is we’re good on the back end of hash-tagging and all that internally. If I’m talking to somebody, I know their issue is they’re struggling with, “Am I going to publish in a traditional manner or in a hybrid or nontraditional manner?” After all, it will take me five minutes, I can say, “By the way, here are three episodes you might want to listen to. There’s a publisher, Greenleaf Publishing, and here’s a publisher at Wiley. Here’s someone that did it both ways. I think those three would be interesting things for you to listen to that adds.” They know what they’re doing.
That adds a lot of value. That follow-up is critically important. That’s the last thing I want to touch on before. What do you think is one of the key factors besides mentioning and sharing episodes with them in getting those guests to share your show?
Asking and it can make it easy. There’s one email that I could say, “Tracy, I posted our episode. Can you share it?” then you’re, “Sure.” There’s another one that hears we do all the heavy lifting. “Here’s something you can put on Instagram.” You got it, you have a job. You don’t need me to give you more work to do. If I’m asking you for a favor, the burden is on me to create the graphics and do all that stuff, which we do. We then start letting them know before we remind them, etc. It takes a couple of times. There are people that are amazing at it and there are people that aren’t. They don’t have the team. We are constantly reposting all that. Recycling, if you will, old episodes through social. It’s amazing watching a guest from an episode a year and a half ago, the ones that are tuned in on social will constantly still retweet it, share, and comment and all the things. It’s part of what I would consider good guest etiquette to be doing those things.
If you can’t be a good guest, that doesn’t bode well for your show as a host, either if you want to ask them on your show, so you’ve got to do both. Peter Winick, thank you for coming on the show. Leveraging Thought Leadership is a great podcast. All of you should check that out and see the things that Peter is doing. Check out those interviews and hear how he’s building rapport of the course of the interview.
Thought Leadership Podcasting With Net New Client Metrics — Final Thoughts
I hope you found that as interesting as I did, this thought leadership idea around podcasting, contributing to that, building the platform around it and being a place that people want to guest. This is a robust conversation that’s going on overall in the business building and growth area marketplace. Peter Winick tapped into the middle of the thought leadership around platform building for speakers, authors, and experts. That in and of itself is what’s driving the show growth for him. It’s driving his shareability factor as we talked about because it’s prestigious to be on his show. Look at all the great tools and the ease at which he’s made it so we can share it. All of those things are tying together and helping his show grow, in the way that it’s helping to make his business grow.
That’s why I’m always bringing you some diverse ones. Defining a successful podcast isn’t always in terms of the number of listeners. I want to be clear about you with that. Peter’s listenership has nothing to do with the success of the show because the listeners aren’t his clients. That’s not what’s growing his business. It’s a different model of building a podcast, but that is working for him tremendously. He believes that’s one of the easiest and simplest path that he’s taken yet. As you put it as all he has to do is show up and record. Luckily, he’s built that whole team around him too. That has worked in his favor as well.
Make sure you check-out Leveraging Thought Leadership. If you think your show or you want to nominate a show that you’d love to be a guest on the show, you can do that at TheBingeFactor.com as well. We’ve got a couple of features and we’ve got some new things coming up as we continue to revise, build, and grow this show to be better for you, our readers, out there. Thank you for reading. I’ll be back next time with another binge factor.
Don’t miss Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about Peter Winick too!
- Leveraging Thought Leadership
- Thought Leadership Leverage
- Article – Be Obsessively Focused on your Market’s Need to Create a Bingeable Podcast with Peter Winick of Leveraging Thought Leadership
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