Ep 055 - The B2B Podcast Growth Blueprint with Tom Hunt (Radically Transparent)

January 19, 2023

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In this episode of Confessions of a B2B Marketer, I jumped on the Radically Transparent Podcast hosted by Jennifer Gutman. Jennifer and I discuss the two-step formula for achieving fame in the B2B world, my professional journey, tactics for raising awareness of a podcast, and two relatively untapped opportunities for promotion.

As a podcast host, you know that promotion is key to growing your audience and increasing engagement.

But how do you go about promoting your podcast in an effective way?

Professional entrepreneur Tom Hunt has some great tips on how to leverage blog posts and guests to promote your podcast. First, Hunt recommends using blog posts as a way to promote your podcast. Blogging is an effective way to reach potential listeners and build relationships with them. You can use blog posts to share helpful information related to the topics discussed on your show, or even just provide updates about upcoming episodes.

Additionally, blogging can help you establish yourself as an authority in the industry by providing valuable content that readers will find useful. Next, Hunt suggests leveraging guests on your show as a form of promotion. Inviting guests onto your show can be a great way to reach new audiences and increase engagement with existing listeners. Guests can bring their own followers along with them, which can help expand the reach of your show significantly.

Additionally, having interesting guests on the show will make it more appealing for potential listeners who may not have heard of it before.

Finally, Hunt recommends using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook as another form of promotion for your podcast. Social media is an excellent tool for connecting with potential listeners and engaging with existing ones in real-time conversations about topics related to the show or upcoming episodes.

You can also use social media platforms like Instagram or YouTube for visual content related to the podcast that will draw people in and keep them engaged over time. By following these tips from professional entrepreneur Tom Hunt, you’ll be able to effectively leverage blog posts and guests as promotional tools for your podcast – helping you grow both audience size and engagement levels over time!

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Episode transcript

make your thing better than everyone else, especially when you're starting a business. The marketing is probably the thing you shouldn't even focus on because if you make every customer or client like really happy then you will grow.

I do actually want to start with what is fame, Tom, and what is the value fame brings to your customers?

I don't know why, but I just find it quite interesting to understand the concept of fame or how people get famous. I think it was like in 2016 I did a training course called Creating Fame, I think. I can't remember who it was by, but that person explained how people get famous. It's basically a two-step formula. Very simple. The best example to illustrate this is Taylor Swift.

Step one, create a lot of really good content in a specific niche. We take Taylor, she first did this in country music and then she moved to pop music. Third step one. Step two is then just be seen around other famous people within that niche. When Taylor was getting big in country music, she went on other big country music records and then she also brought country music stars onto her records.

She did the same in pop music with Ed Sheeran, for example. That's basically all you need to do is do those two things. What fame is, based around the whole concept, the concept is our brand. That's what we do for B2B brands, as you mentioned, in a very specific niche. We do it in the form of audio content, e.g. a podcast.

We just work with brands to create very specific good content. Then we through that show, get them to be seen with other famous people in that niche, so they in turn become famous. I love that.

I'm now rethinking, right?

Because we octopus, we are B2B centric.

I'm thinking, hmm, Tom, what do we got to do to be famous?

Listen, it's an interesting concept. We're going to dive more into it in a moment. But before we do, I do want to learn a little bit about you because you're quite an interesting human yourself.

The concept of fame, can you give us a brief look, perhaps, into your professional journey?

It's a bit unconventional from what I've seen into the marketing sphere, but maybe how you found yourself in B2B marketing. I studied chemistry. Then in my final year, I was in a lab on my own trying to make a protein. I didn't really like that because I'm not very detail-orientated. Then I was like, okay, I need to go and make some money then. I went and worked in management consulting.

I applied to 30 different companies and then the only one accepted me. I went to work for them, Afton Young. Then I was like, well, this is boring.

No, I'll take that back. I liked some of it, but mainly it was boring. I didn't like it. Then I went to a different one that paid more. Then slightly better work, but it was still boring. Then I started 2014. I was like, I need to do something with my life I actually enjoy. I was like, well, maybe entrepreneurship.

I was like, I'm going to start, ideally, a business and replace my salary throughout the year of 2014. Because I couldn't code and I was interested in the internet, the only other way you can make money is through marketing. Since 2013, 14, I've just been self-teaching myself marketing. Eventually managed to leave that consulting company to start my own business, which was like a small outsourcing company.

Then really since 2015, then I've just been starting and growing small businesses. More focused on B2B though, I couldn't really explain why that was the choice over B2C.

Maybe, I think it's probably potentially easiest like bootstrap a B2B company, specifically like services, which is maybe where we'll get onto fame. There you go.

Listen, I think B2B is such a bad rep for being a bit of boring, but when you're actually working in it, you know that so far from the truth. There's not a single day that's the same. Get real with me, get radically transparent.

What's keeping you up at night professionally in B2B?

Yeah. I think we have this business fame and it's completely bootstrapped. It's essentially self-funded. I would probably say that we have this chart which shows how many new proposal requests we get, how many of them are qualified, how many of them jump on sales calls, and then how many of them become customers.

These here have been slowly going up, I guess, over the past two years, but then it started going up a lot faster like a few months ago. The thing that is probably keeping me up at night the most is whether that chart is going to keep going up or it's going to stay the same or it's going to go down, which would be terrible. That's probably the fear.

I think that the reason why that's so scary is because I don't really know why it's going up. I know you can't attribute everything in B2B, but I'm doing some things and then the proposal requests are coming out of the other side, but I don't really know why or where they're coming from, Jen. This is a problem.

Spoken like a true B2B marketing leader, nothing will keep a marketer up at night longer than inbound demo requests and then not quite understanding exactly the reason of why your chart is increasing.

Just thinking through it, I know the life of a B2B marketer when it comes to especially generating inbound demo requests, it's almost like social media where on social every day is different and when you see a post getting severe engagement and you get all excited about it and the next day you try to craft a post similar and it gets absolutely zero engagement.

What are some of the reasons that you think in terms of inbound demo requests, why the chart may be unexplainable?

I know we said you can't attribute anything, but is there something that you're doing or maybe not doing that you think could be explaining that not consistent increase or the consistent increase, but that flow?

Yes, I think I literally only a month ago got my developer to sort out Google Analytics. I can see the medium source campaign of the button click when they submit that form. That's good. That's helping me for sure.

Now, the other thing I know would definitely help me is on that form asking people where they found us. If people want to go and check it out on the site, it's not really going to fit into the UI that well if I do that. I basically should do that, but it means I'm going to have to go to the developer and be like, we need to redesign this form.

Maybe this is going to give me the impetus to actually do that because I've been on my to do this for ages. I think those two things are going to help. Fantastic.

Listen, in your opinion, what is the best way do you think then besides the two pieces, maybe working closely with your developing team to achieve inbound marketing success?

There's a whole Google inbound marketing and you've got articles upon articles, but really from someone who's living and breathing it, what do you feel is that one piece of advice to achieve it?

Yeah, and it's probably not good for a marketing podcast because the answer is being our focus from the start is actually make your thing better than everyone else. Because if you do that, then the word is going to spread. And so it's really hard for me to say that right, because I spent eight years, I think, in online marketing.

And only in the past two years, I've started to realize that especially when you're starting a business, the marketing is probably the thing you shouldn't even focus on. Because if you make every customer or client like really happy, then you will grow. So I think that's the first thing to help drive inbound. We can go on to other things if you want, but I think that's the foundation.

Should we move on?

Let's move on. Let's move on because there is something that's been bothering me that I actually want to speak to you about. And I've been waiting for this moment to do it publicly. But I want to talk for a moment about podcasts because I think many of our customers, many of my peers, many of my colleagues, that seems to be a very hot topic right now.

And I know that you're a pro. You host a podcast. You host a podcast.

And I'm curious if maybe we can dive in a little bit deeper because I often get asked this question, right?

Jen, how did you start the Radically Transparent Podcast?

What tools do I need?

What do I need to do to make a successful podcast?

So I'm just going to throw that question your way, Tom.

What can B2B businesses do to start a podcast profitable or even just get the ball rolling?

Because it's just become a medium that is so relevant and so I see it as successful. Yeah. So I think there's three things that most B2B people, when they start a show, don't get right. And the first one, you guys, from my experience of your show, get really right, in my opinion, which is you have a strong position and reason for existing, which in the show is the theme of transparency.

Yeah. And so I think that's the first thing if you're considering starting a show. Let's say the example I gave is always like, if you have an email marketing software company, you can start podcasts at like three levels of niche, if that makes sense. So you could start a marketing podcast, you could start an email marketing podcast, or you could start an open rate podcast.

And so I'm always like, typically it's easier to start more niche and then get more niche later if you grow. And so you start the open rate podcast and become the number one email marketing, open rate podcast in the world pretty fast, probably. And then you're going to meet the 20 different open rate experts in the world. And then over time, maybe you can become email marketing and then marketing.

And so it's getting a niche that makes sense, that's different and interesting, and that's uncomfortably narrow. So that's the first thing. Second is being strategic, especially in the early days, being strategic about guests is quite unlikely in the early days for you to be able to measure or even get any ROI from the listener side for your company.

But if you're bringing on, if you're doing a bi-weekly show and you run the show for a year, you're going to bring on 24 guests. If you bring on guests, it could be partners or could potentially be customers.

You can't pitch people, right?

But if you're building 24 good relationships, because you do build a great relationship when you bring someone onto your show, then you can start to show the CFO that you have built these four relationships. You've got two partners and made one sale for a customer. And so then the CFOs, this is great, let's keep reinvesting and then you'll grow the audience. And then you can get the ROI from the listener side.

The reason fame started is because I actually spent a year being head of marketing at a BTP SaaS company. We started a podcast, long story short, 13th guest with a VP of sales operations at a company that everyone knows, ended up chatting with our CFO and buying all of their software, all of our software for the 183 salespeople. So it's like a 10x ROI on the show. It was like 13th guest.

And so obviously they're still investing in the show. So they became the first client and they're still a client today. Number three then is it ties into number two, which is just be consistent for six months. It's much easier to be consistent if you're like getting business benefit from guest relationships. And then the whole like fame concept ties in with that as well.

Because if you're picking your guests, they're famous in the niche, then it's quite hard to measure, but your brand will become elevated. And so when your outbound people are like going to try and book demos, ideally someone, they send a cold email, they get a message back being like, yeah, I saw your podcast or I heard your podcast. That's like the dream. So I think those three things. I would agree.

I want to get radically transparent about a topic that we might not be able to, there may not be an answer to, but I think that's okay. Right. Because when I first started radically transparent, one of the first things I did was try to understand how the hell I'm going to measure this.

And I think that that might be a golden question that many of us marketers are asking ourselves, right?

Like how do you measure the success of a podcast?

And I'm curious to understand, Tom, one, how are you measuring your podcast?

And then two in general, like with a concept of fame and just in general, how do we measure the success of this?

I mean, what are we tying this to?

Yeah. So I break it down into qualitative and quantitative. So early on you, in the first like three months, you want to see some qualitative feedback, either from guests or from listeners that they're actually like enjoying the thing. That's the first thing you want to show if your content is actually resonating. And I wouldn't really be too concerned about all the other metrics until you have that. That's the first thing. Okay.

And then qualitatively, there's probably four things I would be measuring. The primary metric we set or goal we set for every client is downloads. And we want to see that growing by 10% every month, if there's no paid spend to invest. And so total downloads is essentially the total consumption of your content. If your goal is to actually help your listeners, then consumption EG downloads is the best goal for that.

Next, we want to see followers. And we typically just track Apple, Spotify, Google podcasts. We want to see that increasing by like 5% a month. Now I'm going to stop you there.

Question, when you track, are you using a third party tool to track that?

Or are you just hopping into each Spotify, Apple podcasts separately?

Yeah, it's a good setup. We have a sister company called Bcast, which is podcast testing software. The show downloads from every directory. He doesn't put in follower data though. And I don't know if that is possible.

So yeah, we log into Google, Spotify, Apple to get the followers. And then we just, we basically have a tab in a Google sheet that we just fuck all this into. Then number two, number three, we, and we actually going to go to five now. Number three is rankings.

And so I want to see, are we like breaking into the top 50, top 25, top 10 of the category, which we've chosen in our target geography. That's interesting to see. And like people in the business really like to see that typically. Like the CEO likes to see you rank number three in the marketing category. So rankings and categories, then also ranking for keywords. So you like keyword research, but for podcasts.

So if your core keyword here might be like marketing or B2B marketing, you want to see that you're ranking top 10 for that term. So this is a good way to judge success rankings for keywords and in categories. Then just two more. Number four is Apple podcast is the only directory that shows you how much of each episode everyone is listening to.

So we like to take an average of all of those episodes to get like an average consumption for all episodes. And we just want to see that go up slowly over time. That shows your content. You're getting slightly better with your hosting, slightly better with your guests. So we want to see that edge up slowly over time because retention is ultimately the foundation of growth.

And so it's going to be much easier to grow if you retain. And then finally, it's yeah, looking at all your guests and understanding if you've built like a good relationship, like two-way relationship with your guests over time. So those are probably the five qualitative metrics. But then before that, you want to make sure people actually like your show.

Listen, I think that's valid.

I mean, if nobody likes your show, what's the point?

So thanks for sharing that with us and getting transparent about that.

I want to go into the conversation around downloads and listens, but more into, once you have your show, how are you promoting it?

What's the secret sauce?

Because from what I know, social for us is a huge driver to get people to listen to our podcast. I've also learned that there's podcast people and that there's really not podcast people. So we've put this up on YouTube as well for the non-podcasters out there.

But how are you raising awareness?

I mean, are you doing paid?

Are you doing organic?

What tactics are you using to get your podcast out there into the podcast first?

Yeah. So I think that's like, we have six promotion pillars that we're probably not going to go into now. Most of the stuff that it's like all the stuff you can read.

If you Google it, how to promote a podcast, any blog post is going to tell you to like put out video snippets and post on LinkedIn and get the guests to share, make sure you have like the right keywords in your name description. So I don't think we need to go into that. Like anyone could go get that from a blog post.

I think there's two opportunities right now for like a relatively untapped. And it's like seven years ago, you could get an Instagram influencer to like post your thing. Your like e-comm thing for like $50, even if they had hundreds of other followers, because they didn't know their value. And I think this is happening right now in podcasting.

So if you search for best niche, whatever niche you're in podcast, that typically on page one will be these blog posts where people have written blog posts to get traffic. They're typically just like bloggers in that niche, trying to get traffic to sell out or whatever. And so what you can do is quite easily go to all of them and like make deals to get your show included.

So either you do a link exchange or you get them to come on your show as a guest in exchange for being featured, or you just pay them. And so this then, and you'll be, you'll be very pleasantly surprised for the amount that you have to pay to get your get a link in there. And you can also get a backlink to your own domain through that as well.

If you, to, if you send them to the podcast page on your domain. And so that is a big opportunity and I shouldn't really be sharing this because it's like our secret weapon. That's the first one.

The second one again, so leveraging guests is obviously massive, but what you can also do to like increase the chances you get, like extensive guest sharing is when a guest books in typically maybe the book in Fucanandly, you'll put a question in there and it'll say, if we write a super engaging, interesting summary blog post of this episode, would you be prepared to post that on your domain?

And they just say yes or no. If they say yes, you write that up, you insert the link to the podcast, insert the link to your own domain. They publish that you get the backlinks and it also will probably increase the amount of promotion they'll do for your show because typically if a blog post goes live on a business's domain, it goes through their normal like social promotion process.

So like increases, A you get backlinked, but B it increases the likelihood that they'll share for you. So there's all the basic stuff anyone can get from blog posts, but those two are like quite hot right now.

Well, thank you for sharing that. We will all now go ahead and include that into our podcast strategy. Two more questions for you, Tom.

My next question, a little bit of a curveball, but I'm curious to know what podcasts are you listening to or what books are you reading to get inspired in your craft?

Yeah. Good question. One book I'm reading right now is the best book on copywriting I've ever read. It's called the Adweek Copywriters Handbook by Joseph Sugarman. That's like the absolute foundation.

And why am I reading that?

I think I realized that in our business, like in a B2B service company, right, that's largely remote, that doesn't really meet people in person, writing is like so, so, so important. And so I'm reading that book. I'm probably going to get my whole team to read that book. And so anyone who's going to help you with LinkedIn posting, help you communicate with clients, help you communicate with your team.

So I would highly recommend that anybody in the B2B world read that book. Thank you. My last question, because like I said, you're quite a fascinating B2B marketer, professional entrepreneur. And before this episode, I had done my due diligence. I went on your LinkedIn, like every podcast host does, to completely stalk their upcoming guests.

And I was curious to know, can you share something with us right now that we actually cannot learn about you from simply reading your LinkedIn profile?

Yeah, I think maybe one of my biggest inspirations is a four year old dog that me and my ex-girlfriend actually have that we co-parent now. She's called Bear. She's a toy Cavapoo. She's the best. And the reason why she is an inspiration is, so famous like the brand, but then the actual business corporation is called Be More Bear, limited in the UK.

And it's because she is, I don't know, she's just so like present in it, in the moment, right. And I think that is like one of the keys to happiness. And so it is like a little motto that we have is Be More Bear. And so I think that's not on my LinkedIn profile. Probably it's never going to be, but that's something that you can know about. I love it.

Be More Bear. We will end the show there.

If anybody's looking to learn more about fame, to speak to you about perhaps podcasting or any of the expertise that you shared on this show, where is the best place that somebody can meet you?

I would just search for Tom Hunt in LinkedIn. Or if you like beefy podcasts, search for Confessions of a Beefy Marketer in any podcast app. And those are the two best places. Fantastic.

Tom, thank you for joining us today. We look forward.

Hopefully, you know, we built a relationship good enough as you shared that we're going to be able to have you back. But thank you for joining us today.

Thanks, Jen.

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