Podcasting Your Brand: Tracy Hazzard from the Transform Your Impact Podcast with Alexa Henderson
Anything you have and do that is of value needs to be known. In this day and age, we need to start thinking of ourselves and our business as a brand. Helping you with that and transforming your impact along the way is Tracy Hazzard, the founder and CFO of Podetize and Brandcasters. In this episode, she joins host, Alexa Henderson, from the Transform Your Impact Podcast, to share with us the work they are doing. She takes us through the process of making a podcast, what it entails to start one, and how to take it to success. You should be working on the thing you can do best. The least you need to think of is how to put it out there. Tracy has the solution to make you the most successful you can possibly be.
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I’m excited to have you with us. We’re speaking with entrepreneurs, creatives, thought leaders about how to create the most impact, live a fulfilling life and make money with your life’s purpose. We have a true entrepreneur with us, Tracy Hazzard. She’s the Founder and CFO of Podetize and Brandcasters. She’s also an Inc. Innovator columnist and cohost of several top ranked podcasts. She’s a multi-awarded designer and product strategist who has worked with leading brands like Herman Miller and Martha Stewart and her rich professional experience makes her a perfect person to consult with what a client means and also creating brands and branding with a purpose. I’m excited to have her on the show. Welcome, Tracy.
Thank you for having me, Alexa. I am excited to be here. I love to talk transformation. I love to talk impact.
Will you tell us about some of the impactful things that you’re up to with your businesses?
I’m excited by everybody else’s impact. That’s how it’s gotten started for me from the beginning whether it’s creating somebody else’s product and bringing it to market. I was a “ghost designer” which is like a ghost writer, but I’m designing products behind the scenes behind and underneath somebody else’s brand. Part of it’s great. Somebody else’s problem to get it to market. They got to do all the sales. My job is to bring it to life, but nobody wants to tell anyone that they didn’t design their own products, so you have a word of mouth problem. No one’s referring you. It’s a common problem we see happening in lots of industries.
That’s what brought me to getting the word out and starting to think about yourself as the brand, yourself as the business. That’s where Brandcasters and Podetize was born. It was born out of this world of I had a need to make sure that people knew who I was and what I did and so do many other people. I wanted to hit find a community, which I didn’t know how to find. I started casting my net, I started casting out there and we started it with podcasting, because several years ago, that was a little easier, video and live streaming wasn’t as prevalent as it is. We do it both ways. We do live streams and we do podcasts, and we do blogs, the whole thing, that’s what Brandcasters is it’s starting from video all the way through to the blog and even old-school like SEO.
It’s not old school, the way that we do it, but it’s still there because it still runs the Google algorithm. At the end of the day, if somebody’s searching for you or you want them to find you. My goal is to make sure that I’m in the waters, that I’m fishing in the waters of people that are out there looking for me. I’m not trapping them and hoping they stay and say, “You’re stuck in my email list now.” No, I want them to want to be there. I want them to hang out with me because they’ve been looking for this. That’s how we got started, then we got people begging us to do it for them. That’s how we ended up in business several years ago. It’s like, “Can you do this?”
Overwhelming some people?
I’m a tech and how-to girl so it’s not overwhelming to me. I realized, I was like, “This is easy, you do this, this, this, and this.” People will be like, “I have to learn all about that, that, that to do this.” I was like, “I already know how to do that.” It didn’t occur to me until I went to go teach it, “This is a lot more complicated.” We have a course on how to podcast. Two people have gone through it successfully and in the amount of time that it normally takes us to do a podcast, which is 30 days or less. It takes people a lot longer because there’s so much underlying technical knowledge that you have to learn or good practices that you need to learn to do it well.
it’s not that you can’t launch it, lots of people do it like, “I threw up my podcast now. It’s live.” “Great, Good.” You should do that. I don’t want you to stop doing that because that’s getting your message out, but if you want to make the most effective use of it, you’ve got to have these good practices, that’s what your competitors are doing. That’s what we learned. I said, “Let me do it done for you so you don’t ever have to worry about the stuff you should know about. You should be working in your impact. You should be working in a thing that you can do best for me, that happens to be the how to.”
That’s great. I love it. When we spoke last time, you said that your goal is to make sure that people are the most successful that they can possibly be.
I attend a lot of entrepreneurial conferences and I’m out there and I see what’s going on and it’s easier for me to have been successful than it is for someone coming in fresh to these communities and going, “That’s great advice. I’d love to take it on.” I have infrastructure. I have support. I have business systems. I have all of that underneath me, which makes it easier for me to be successful because I am now only need to implement the one thing they told me about. There’s all this underlying stuff that they already have, core knowledge or core systems or experience in areas that you don’t have so when you go to implement that one thing that made them successful, it’s not that it’s untrue. It’s that you apply all the other things that they failed to tell you. When I was like, “You have to know about blogging and SEO, you have to know about audio editing, you have to know about all of these things already.” I assumed you did because I do and so doesn’t every marketer or doesn’t everybody and that’s not the case. When we dive deep into it, it’s that infrastructure that gives you success.
Will you tell us about some of the ethics or the ethos that you’ve founded Brandcasters and Podetize?
There’s lots of people out there who are like, “Let me teach you how to do something.” They do it. They go, “Let me teach them.” I dislike that because if you’re teaching it because you did it once successfully, but you’re not continuing to do it, you’re missing out on shifting knowledge, things that are happening in the industry, things that are going on that you need to keep up with. I’m not a fan of my own course because every time I look at it, I’m like, “It’s out of date. We got to redo this video.” We do it in a little more dynamic way. We use our podcast to supplement and support our course because there’s new knowledge.
The minute it gets dangerously out of date. In other words, “This is no longer working. We redo the whole piece to the course.” The course is not our important part. Our important part is making sure that you get to podcasting or you get to live streaming, whatever it is you need to do. That’s the part we want to get you to as successfully and fastest possible, whatever we can provide underneath that. Our goal here is to make our systems, our processes your processes so that we’re acting like you, the brand and it’s transparent. It’s like we’re underneath it and you’re right on in front of it and it makes you look good. That’s where we want to keep ourselves acting on your behalf in your best interest. I’s not about, “Let’s host a podcast. Let’s produce one.” It’s not about that. It’s about making you and your business successful at the end of the day. If that means that I have to give you coaching tools and business tools and more marketing tools, then I will.
What does it look like when somebody comes in and they want to make a podcast? What does the process look like? It sounds like you’re involved.Service is covert selling. #TransformYourImpactPodcast #AlexaHenderson #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
We’re involved. When we onboard somebody who’s never had a podcast before, sometimes we onboard people who’ve never had a website before. As hard as that is to believe like, “Everybody has a website.” It’s not the case. Some people are transitioning out of fabulous careers in industry, they didn’t have their own website, but they want to go out and they want to bring their message to the world of what they learned. There’s also people who want to start social impact and they have a great nonprofit that they want to start. This is their way to get that message out and get a tribe around them. We start sometimes all the way from website, what we do is we simply do that.
We help draw out what is your mission? What are you looking for? What do you want to accomplish with that? How can we attract that best, both visually, in copy, because what you write matters? Taking all of that and putting all the infrastructure and structure underneath it, like, “You’ve got to have a website that’s safe.” People cannot get hacked. How can we do that? How can we make sure that you’re found on Google? How can we do all of these things that that’s all built under it, but more importantly, it’s speed, because what we find is that, so often people think they know what their audience wants, but their audience is different than they imagined. My first podcast several years ago was in 3D printing, which is where you print a physical plastic product.
I know it sounds insane to a lot of people, but that’s what it is. We named the show WTFFF?!, which stands for What The Fused Filament Fabrication. It’s not a swear. Although my mother thought so for about six months before she listened to the first episode and realized it wasn’t, but fused filament fabrication is the geeky term for 3D printing. We thought by making sure that we put that on there, that if you didn’t know what 3D printing was and you didn’t know that was a geeky term, you wouldn’t join our show. It would be a more advanced show. Were we wrong? People showed up at all levels of skills and we found out we had beginners and advanced users and we found that we had to find a way to serve them all. We thought it would be a screener and it didn’t work, which is fine.
What we found out was that the product and the service that we wanted to sell wasn’t wanted, but our information was valuable. What we provided from perspective and innovation was something new and that’s what they wanted. That’s how we develop, then the next level of what we did, we created a complete informational website for that. It’s dependent on having that conversation. The sooner you can get that started, the sooner you can verify your hypothesis brand. The idea that you have, that “This is my audience, and this is who’s going to be attracted to me.” You may be very wrong and once you get them talking to you and communicating, and you find out what they want, you go, “I can do that.”
That’s why they’re attracted to me. What you’ll find is there’s a lot more synergy with who you are authentically than you imagined. That is because you’re out there doing this. You’re speaking, you’re being authentically. You’re talking ad hoc. You’re off the cuff saying things that you believe and understand and have experienced and telling stories. People look at that and they go, “That’s something I would like. I’d like to know more.” They dive deeper into it and they engage with you. Once we find that, we can refine a brand, you can always change your website colors. You can change your logo. Nobody’s going to care when they come along with you. Podetize, our brand, has been through three brand changes, and most of our clients didn’t even notice. We had clients all the time and they didn’t even notice. They’re like, “It’s called something different now?”
You are the brand.
We didn’t want to call it that because it’s not what are our long-term business goals. It doesn’t fit our business goals. We have goals to be plugins for other sites and for other marketers and other things like that. Be service providers for them. It needs to have a little more corporate feel because we don’t want to compete against them. That’s why we developed it and shifted it into what it is. I love to call it Tom and Tracy Hazzard, but nobody cares. Nobody cares about me. They care about themselves and their businesses. That’s what we’ve learned quickly into this journey of going through and transforming people’s podcasts year after year.
Can you tell us a couple of amazing success stories, people that came in that were lost and needed your support and then you coached them into the success?
What we’ve found is that there are three kinds of things that we do. A lot of people will come in and they’ve been struggling to get their message out. We get a lot of coaches, gurus, experts, thought leaders, all in that world. It’s always an enrolling conversation for them. It’s always about promotion. When we switch them up and we start to go content first, it’s a service situation. Service is selling. It’s a different type of selling. It’s covert selling and it’s not covert like it’s sneaky, it’s underneath the whole thing. When we switched them up to this model of service first and they get out of the mode of, “I’m going to do a pitch at the end of every single one of my shows and I’m going to send you to a lead gen, I’m going to send you to this.”
Instead we do things like send them to a quiz so that they can find out where they are and then how can I help you from there? Send them back to our podcast, our blog posts, our videos library because there’s much more in deep information there, people start qualifying themselves and the enrollment conversations become easy. That’s the main way. I’d out someone, but I don’t want to out them in that particular world. I have some great stories about doctors. We have quite a few doctors on our platform, chiropractors, dentists, all kinds of areas of expertise. One of them, his name is Dr. Kevin Pecca and he has a great show, it’s called Expect Miracles. He was starting a new practice.
He was going into New Jersey and buying out an existing chiropractic practice. He had the problem of shifting all of the people who were with the original doctor, who’d been with her for several years, quite a long time. They were devoted to her. How was he going to get them interested in him? He’s young, he’s starting his practice. How was he going to get them to stay? How was he also going to attract new patients? He was starting to think about that and he happened to be out here in California where we are as an intern. We met him and we started talking with him and he was like, “I think this might be something worth doing.”
I looked at him and I said, “We’ve never done something where you’re trying to attract local patients because podcasting is international.” You never know who’s listening around the world, but let’s see if we can do this with you. We’ll do our best to try and give you a local flare to it. What happened is that it worked in and made his system of getting to know his patients easy. They would come in and he’d say, “You’re a golfer. I did this episode with this guy who changed his golf game through chiropractic. He wasn’t my patient, but it transformed because he practices a specific type of chiropractic. He transformed his game from this. Maybe you’d be interested in listening to it. That guy would book an appointment the next week.”
It was always going on like that. He would get patients because off of Google. Google rewards your blog posts that it’s searching through and finding the information. It knows where you are because your website is tagged for the locality. Every time someone searches in their region and say, “I’m looking for a chiropractor.” Even if I didn’t type New Jersey, Google knows that I am in New Jersey and it would look for one there. Because he was producing content that was new rather than having a static website that normal doctors have. His was getting pushed up to the top of the list and he was showing up on the first page of Google and people were clicking it. They were listening to the podcast coming in and saying, “I’m ready to go.” There were no enrollment conversations.Service is covert selling. #TransformYourImpactPodcast #AlexaHenderson #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
That’s how it can work for you. No matter whether you’re doing it from a doctor’s perspective and having a local practice or you have an international coaching program. It can work like that as well. The third one that we do is a lot of experts that are experts in niches like real estate investments and all of those things and we have to come up with unusual and interesting ways because sometimes they’re in regulated industries. We have to come up with ways by which they can have conversations. They can grow their audience. They can keep their list from having high attrition rates, which is where people drop off your list because you’re not providing them enough value. Over time, how can they continue to provide them value and exposure?
A lot of times with that, we do what we call an interview strategy where we find people in the industries that would be of interest. Whether you’re in the real estate business, I want to interview what investors are looking for. Maybe you might be in an industry where you’re in finance and you want to interview people who are providing tools to improve your financial management too. It might be authors. It might be all of that, but what you’re doing is you’re transferring authority back and forth between your guests and you. If they have a higher authority to you, it’s coming back to you and their audience is now looking at you as an authority and someone might provide them more information and it’s going other ways as well, when they share you out, they’re exposing you to their audience so you’ve got to go in both ways.
What I’m hearing has a lot of value, instead of the general sales model, it’s adding more value and it’s based on relationships and coaching and mentoring.
It’s always about service. If we think about that my content, my information, the exposure I’m bringing you is always in service of my listener. I always imagine who she or he is. I’m thinking about that in my head as I’m speaking. I’m imagining your audience, what they’re looking for and how can I can pull a story, come up with things that might add value to their lives. When I’m doing that, I’m in the moment. I’m not selling. What’s happening is when that resonates with them. It resonates because it’s in their ear. It resonates at a deeper level of vibration. When that happens, then I am attracting them back into me for further information so they’re saying, “She sounds like a source for something. Let me check her out further.”
If you think that you can push out into people and have it be effective, it does work, but you have to spend more and more money pushing out to a bigger audience to have that have a return on investment. Why not be at that place when somebody is in pain at 2:00 in the morning and they’re searching for a way to help their child overcome autism and they’re looking for tools and anything that information people who’ve been through what they’re going through. How can I make this? Why wouldn’t you want to be in that place? That’s what you’re there for, to create your impact is to touch the people who need you most. You got to be where they are.
If you could distill it down, what would you say that the one thing that has supported you to make the biggest impact has been in your experience?
It’s my gift as a designer. It’s my gift as a strategist. It’s the thing that has separated and made the products that we’ve designed and developed on the market and we’ve done about a billion dollars for our clients and products. It’s probably way more than that. I stopped counting. What people don’t realize is we hone in quickly on the one thing, the thing that is going to be the most differentiated about a product. People get into their own bubble of it and they say, “I offer this and I’m special. I’m the only one in the world.” The reality is if the consumer is who’s ever going to buy it from you doesn’t see that, no one’s going to transact. It must be consumer focused. It must be what they can see. For me, early on, this is why it got easy for me because on a shelf in Walmart, Target or Costco, people are driving by fast before the internet. We scroll fast. If you are going to catch their eye with innovation, it better be obvious and it better be what they’re looking for. Whether it’s what they’re searching for, what they’re visually looking for, all of those things have to tie together, but finding that differentiator that matters to them most, honing that in is the secret.
You’ve got a free gift?
I write for Inc. Magazine. I write on innovation and product design. I’ve been doing that for quite some time. Over time I would get these horrendous pitches from people. I was like, “Why would anybody write about you? This is awful.” Sometimes it would be like, “I’ll pay you to write about me.” I’d be like, “That’s against all the rules. This can’t happen.” You may not realize that, but it’s not okay. Others, it would be these horrendous pitches like, “You’ve never read my column. You should know that I would never write about this. This is not even in my purview. Why would I write about it?” It was a little flyer I did, it was a little one-pager originally, then it became 4 or 5 pages.
It outlines how you should approach and pitch the media. These are publicity secrets. It’s different than it used to be. It dives into what’s the difference. How do you find a columnist? Who’s a columnist? A lot of our writers are all freelancers. We all have day jobs that are different than our writing is not, I don’t write for a career, Inc. doesn’t pay me to go to interview people. It doesn’t work like that. They pay me for my articles but only if they get enough views. It has to be able to be pushed out. You have to be someone of value. I also talk about in there how I researched someone to decide if I should write about them.
Thanks for joining. We’ve got tons more business owners, entrepreneurs, creatives, thought leaders who are all unpacking the keys to success, to fulfillment and to making money. Can’t wait to give more secrets away.
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