Podcasting With Tracy Hazzard From The VIP Access Podcast With Melanie Herschorn
Starting a podcast show is more than just releasing episodes and patiently waiting for listeners to come by. For it to be an engaging show with a proper return on investment, effective podcasting techniques must be implemented. Tracy Hazzard shares her most important tips in starting your own show in this discussion with Melanie Herschorn of The VIP Access Podcast. She explains why breaking down a podcast into seasons is not a practical decision, how far episodes should be done in advance, the best monetization strategies, and more.
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I’m Melanie Herschorn, the digital content creator and marketing strategist, and coach for women business owners. Welcome back to another episode of VIP Access. VIP stands for Visibility, Impact, Profit. This show will get you inspired and fired up about content creation and marketing yourself and your brand. Each week, you’ll get marketing and mindset strategies, actionable tips, and the motivation you need to land more clients, nurture your leads and position yourself as an expert in your industry. We also go behind the scenes with powerful women in business to discuss strategies, messaging and more. My mission is to empower you to stop spinning your wheels and to make your mark with your marketing. Ready to wow your ideal client and create a community of raving fans? Let’s dive into our episode.
Our guest is Tracy Hazzard. She’s a seasoned media expert with more than 2,600 interviews from articles in Authority Magazine, Buzzfeed and her Inc. Magazine column, and from her multiple top-ranked videocasts and podcasts like The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand, which is one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcast.
Tracy brings diverse views from what works and what doesn’t work in marketing, branding and media from thought leaders and industry icons redefining success around the globe. Tracy’s unique gift to the podcasting, marketing and branding world is being able to identify that unique bingeable factor. The thing that makes people come back again, listen actively, share as raving fans, and buy everything you have to sell, which is of course very important. Tracy, thank you so much for joining us.
It’s my pleasure, Melanie.
Let’s talk about podcasting because you are the podcast queen. People don’t realize how incredible a tool it truly is for your marketing, branding and for your business in general. What turns you on to podcasting in the first place?
I didn’t want to have my hair done for video, number one. That’s the original story is we had the choice of doing that years ago, and video was harder back then. It’s easier now and it’s about 60% of my clients. I do all of my podcasts on video too right now. That’s no longer an excuse, but it was at the time. Podcasting was more accessible. It was easier to edit. It was easier to construct a show, lower cost to get started. You just needed a microphone and a recording computer. At that time we used Skype, but we since abandoned that and use Zoom all the time now.
These things were easier to do. It’s a smaller pond. That’s what I always like to say to people. They’ll say, “Tracy, but we just hit 1 million podcasts on iTunes,” and I’ll say, “Yeah, but only 300,000 of them are actively posting.” It’s a small environment. When we consider how many billions of websites there are and YouTube videos that are watched every day, it’s still a small playing field. That’s really important. When you can still be seen, heard and found somewhere, you need to go there.
I find it so crazy that I’m the only person with the last name Herschorn in all of Apple Podcasts, in the whole world.
I’m the only Hazzard, except for another Tracy Hazzard, but she’s a musician.
She doesn’t count.
The funny part is that because of how often I post, as opposed to how often she releases a new song, I beat her out in search engine every single day.
That’s fantastic. Is that your married name?
Yes, but I’ve had it for many years now.
When I got married, I said to my husband, “I love you, but I’ve been Melanie Herschorn for 28, 29 years. When you google me, it’s me, and I’m not taking your last name. Sorry.”
That was pre-internet for me. Nobody knew me, and my name was incredibly mispronounced all the time. I was like, “Everybody knows The Dukes of Hazzard, so they won’t mispronounce this.” It was just a cool last name. I gratefully took it and upset my father in the process.
We can’t make everybody happy. Let’s talk about the longevity of podcasting. If you keep it up, it can do great things for you. You pointed out the fact that there might be 1 million podcasts, but only 1/3 of them are actually active.
If you can do anything consistently and constantly, you’re going to find a great return on investment, but most people won’t stick it out. They’re not in it for the long game. Podcasting is a long game. The best part about it is it has a compounding interest. It has a compounding effect over time. Your authority in the marketplace grows, your Google ranking will grow, your iTunes or Apple Podcasts ranking grows, whatever you want to call it. All of those things grow over time the more you put into it. The more podcasts you create, the more consistent you are doing it every single week.
I was speaking to a real estate podcast host. She was saying, “I was thinking about doing seasons.” I get this a lot. It’s a very common thing from publicity firms who work with people who want to start a podcast. They just want to drop ten episodes, “Let’s see if it works.” It does nothing for them. I was like, “You don’t even recoup the amount of time and energy it took you to set up the show and do that with ten episodes. If you’re going to do that, at least do a 25-episode season, because then it’s a full page on the Apple Podcast lists. It looks like you tried a little harder than doing ten. Ten looks like you quit before you got started.”If you can do anything consistently and constantly, you're going to find a great return on investment. #TheVIPAccessPodcast #MelanieHerschorn #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
When they only do a season, what happens is that all of a sudden you’d been putting away money every single week into your savings account, into your kids’ college savings. All of a sudden, you say, “I’m going to skip the next three months.” Nothing changes. You don’t compound the interest. When you come back, you have to start again to start that compounding model again. It doesn’t have the same effect. It’s even worse in the digital world because once Google decides that you dropped off the face of the Earth, it’s going to take you months to earn their trust again and get back in the process. A little hiccup in the process isn’t worth it.
Not only that. It’s going to take you longer if you stop than if you keep going right now.
We’re out here to build trust. If your business is about coaching or about serving your community with consulting services, providing whatever it is, there’s a lot of competition out there in every industry, whether you’re in financial management, real estate, publicity. There’s a lot of competition for what you do. How do you set yourself apart and build trust with the community? Building trust is built on integrity, doing what you’re say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to show up every week, and you show up every week, that speaks volumes to people in terms of them coming back and trusting you with their business.
I was literally born to be in front of a microphone. This show, they’re going to have to pry the mic out of my cold, dead hands to get this one to stop. You’re right, it’s so much about the long game. That is about marketing in general, content marketing specifically. People often go, “Let’s put something out there and see what sticks,” and then nothing happens and they give up. I feel like with podcasting specifically, it is important to not only maybe have your own podcast, but what about being a guest on people’s podcasts? What can you speak to about that?
I recommend guesting because what you’re doing is you’re crossing audiences. The idea of guesting is that the audience has to be a right fit. A lot of my podcasters are content marketers, or content marketers recommend a lot of the podcasters who come on my platform. My coming on your show here is a logical connection of audience. Plus, you exposing your show to my audience by sharing it out on my social media, I’m sharing someone who got more expansion on the interest of area of which I can offer my audience. It’s a nice collaboration between us in that process. If you’re guesting under that model of matching audiences, you’re going to do a lot better, both from who you bring on your show and whose show you go on.
When people say, “What’s the ROI?” What do you tell them?
I’m into alternative ROI.
I like that, “Alternative ROI.” Is that trademarked? I love it.
I don’t think that one is. We call it alternative monetization here because that’s what people ask. In podcasting, they tend to ask about the monetization model, not about return on investment. I’m always into a multi-level return on investment. I want to have an authority return on investment, so that’s an alternative model, where I’m building up my digital authority because that’s where I care about because that lasts.
If I can build up my Google ranking over time, the organic traffic to my website, my keywords, if I can build all of that at once, I want to do that from doing one thing. I want to be able to also then keep and maintain my mail list and my audience. Retention is an extremely important return on investment that we overlook. It’s a whole lot harder to get a new client than it is to keep one that you already have. It’s the same thing with fans and subscribers. That’s an important ROI that I look at all the time.
The last one is that I need to be relevant and want to make sure that I’m out there, and people know that I’m a thought leader in this industry. Producing that content and making sure that’s constant into my blogs, my social, my YouTube channel, into all the different places that I want it to go. Making sure that all of that happens is an extremely valuable return on investment for the things that I want to do as a marketer. When I look at it at the end of the day, the real return on investment is how fast I closed my sales. That’s what I found is mine. It’s different for every person. We close sales much quicker. People don’t reach out to us until they’re ready. I don’t have to go through a funnel. I have a pipeline.
When people work with you, is it to start up a podcast of their own, or are there different facets of how you work with them?
We have multi-levels of it because we help existing podcasters maximize their show. We have a hosting service that comes with coaching, so we can help people’s show grow. We work with just as many existing podcasters who already have shows but who want to get more. They realize they’re onto something but they maybe didn’t have all the strategy and the right pieces to start with it. Maybe they’re ready to maximize it and make some money off their shows, because we have some unique software and features of how we can do that once a show is established. Then we do work with lots of people to set up and start. Our trick and our special sauce is the strategy piece. If you start yourself with the right strategy, and sometimes it’s a hypothesis, you might be wrong of what people love.
When we started our very first show, which was on 3D printing and totally geeky, we had this premise that we would build an audience and we would sell them files of 3D printed designs. They said, “No, we don’t want that from you. In fact, we wouldn’t pay anything for that. What we really want is for you to keep producing this information.” You might be wrong about what you should make, but you’re not always wrong about the audience connection.
We want to start with a strategy. We want to test against that strategy and then shift the show to make sure that it stays with that. That’s why most people work with us because we do all this stuff for you like there’s no technical stuff. Our advisory and strategy along the way are going to make sure that you achieve the outcome and goals to set for yourself.
That’s really across the board with content marketing. It is about strategy, but it’s also about always having new content. Feeding that content beast. How far in advance should somebody plan out their content for a podcast for example?
I have a lot of podcasters who are a year out like seriously, they do interviews and they have a year out. That’s partially because they’ve set a pace for themselves of how much budget they want to spend and what they want to do. I run five shows myself. I’m the host of five different shows. Some of them I don’t post. I’m not the only host, so I don’t post every single week. Somebody else does 3 and I do 1. For the most part, I want to make sure that I’m not more than 30 days out. That’s because the energy of having someone interviewed on my show or having a topic being relevant becomes irrelevant within 30 days. The excitement over it and their willingness to share and the value that you get lowers the farther out you do it.Audience retention is an important ROI that is often overlooked. It's harder to get a new client than keep ones you already have. #TheVIPAccessPodcast #MelanieHerschorn #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
I understand people want to take vacations. They want to take time off. They want to bank them up. I get that and I do have banked back up. They’re evergreen topics that I want to cover, but they’re not urgent. They’ll be there in case I get sick and my voice doesn’t work or an interview falls through. I always have a few of those on hand. If I’m 30 days out, there’s no way I’m not in the rotation of being able to make up for that at a moment’s notice.
For our audience who don’t know what evergreen is, it’s basically something that is valid and relevant now as it will be in a few years from now. It’s not really tied to something timely. If you don’t have something evergreen, let’s say you’re talking about an election at a specific time, then the election already happened, what do you recommend to somebody who has banked things and now it’s obsolete? What do you do?
I actually have a show that does that. They’ve had to lower their timeframes so that they’re really only about a week and a half out. They’re about ten days out from when they post. What they do is they air the raw video immediately. Within 24 hours, the video goes up unedited because most of us don’t edit video. We just stick a bumper on the beginning and end.
YouTube will go in, then the podcast follows within a week, then the blog post follows a few days later. It’s coming out, but it also helps them push out the social for it. Immediately, they can promote the video, then they can promote the podcast, then the blog or any images, charts or anything that goes along with it. It gives them a continuous week and a half long promotion of every episode anyway. It actually works out really well for them.
If that’s all the same stuff, it’s all the same content. They’re able to use it in an entire week and a half promoting it. How cool is that that you can do one thing and use it to cross-promote and repurpose? Do you want to speak to repurposing and the beauty of it?
We repurpose in an extreme way here. My shows have a lot of episodes, and a lot of it is always evergreen or things we reuse or point out new things. I have a meeting with my social team to try to simplify it because we have too much content to post. We want to make sure the relevant things are coming up, and how we decide what we pull out of our evergreen actually is the way that we’re looking at. For every single show we create for our clients and for ourselves, we have up to seven assets possible.
When I say assets, that’s something you might share on social media, post on your website, put somewhere. We have video, we have the audio, which is going to go into the podcast, and we have a blog. The blog goes on our website. Those three things are core to everything that we do. The blog has a graphic header. It has a square, a thumbnail that might be on the website. That’s two more. Then we also have a video clip that we use. That’s usually a raw clip that we’ll share on someplace like Instagram or LinkedIn, where you don’t want the fancy bumpers and you don’t want to have lots of graphics. You just want to have this nice little 30 seconds or so that gives a teaser about what the episode is about.
Sometimes we do a longer one. We might do up to ten minutes on LinkedIn. That’s if the topic is really important. We have the clips, so those are there as well. We have audiograms, which is basically taking our voice sound wave and showing a visual of it. Even though we have the video, the audiograms do really well. We repurpose those and they do well in Facebook now. We started in Instagram and kept sharing them to Facebook. For some reason, they’re doing so much better than our regular posts that we use those anyway. People like to turn the captions on and don’t always want to listen to the sound of something, so they can see that caption running below it. They can see it without having their sound on. That works well there. It also works great in Pinterest. We repurpose in Pinterest as well.Audience retention is an important ROI that is often overlooked. It's harder to get a new client than keep ones you already have. #TheVIPAccessPodcast #MelanieHerschorn #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
Those are some of the many things that we create. We also create graphics for every single guest that comes on a show. It’s a quote graphic of not only what they say, but what I say as the host about them. It sounds like a little testimonial-ish, so they’re more likely to share it than they would. We actually call that ego bait because it gets them to share it. Where if you gave them a graphic of their quote, it feels like they’re posting into their own social media a quote from themselves. It’s a little odd. It makes you feel like you’re dead. It’s a little weird.
People are hesitant to do it. We found that flipping it and having it be something you say about them works a lot better. That being said, we also do want to have great thought leader style quotes that we then use elsewhere. You’re looking at seven-plus different assets that you could create from one podcast episode. Also if you think about it, it’s from one Zoom meeting with either yourself or with the guests.
Tracy, thank you so much for joining me. This has been so awesome to talk about podcasts. I love it.
Thank you for having me, Melanie.
Thank you so much for reading. We can’t let the fun end here. Please join our private Facebook group at VIPDigital.live/community, where you’ll get live trainings and other great tips all about digital marketing. If you’ve enjoyed this, head over to iTunes and leave me a rating and a review. This tells iTunes that you found the show helpful, and they’ll share it with more women entrepreneurs like you. As reviews come in, I’ll be reading them on the show, and you will get a shout out. Have an amazing day. Remember, your message matters.
- VIP Access
- Inc. Magazine column – Tracy Hazzard
- The Binge Factor
- Feed Your Brand