Building a Brand through Podcasting with Alex Sanfilippo - Terminal Value

Episode 22

#22 Building a Brand through Podcasting with Alex Sanfilippo

Doug and Alex have an excellent discussion about podcasting and using podcasts to build a brand.

At first glance, it can seem like the podcast medium is too crowded. However, Alex breaks it down by filtering out the inactive podcasts and the ones with less than 10 episodes published.

The net result is a much smaller community than you might imagine of active podcasts. This means that now is an exceptional time to launch your podcast and build a personal brand.

Learn more at https://creatingabrand.com

Doug's business specializes in partnering with companies and non-profits to create value and capture cost savings without layoffs to fund growth and strengthen financial results. 

You can find out more at www.TerminalValue.biz

You can find the audio podcast feed at www.TerminalValuePodcast.com

You can find the video podcast feed at www.youtube.com/channel/UCV5a4QbT-dXhpgb-8HJHdGg

Schedule time with Doug to talk about your business at www.MeetDoug.Biz

<<Transcript>>

[Music]

[Introduction]

Welcome to the terminal value Podcast where each episode provides in depth insight about the long term value of companies and ideas in our current world. Your host for this podcast is Doug Utberg, the founder and principal consultant for Business of Life, LLC.

Doug: Welcome to terminal value podcast. I have Alex. Okay Alex I might butcher your name so forgive me here is a snap snap leaf snap Leo.

Alex: Not even close. But hey I love this because nobody ever gets close, so I love just listening somebody like hey can tell me how to say it I'm like I want to hear you try first. It's Sanfilippo and very few people get it.

Doug: Okay yeah. Alright I utterly and completely butchered it well. Mine's not burgets, it's you know not quite as easy to butcher but I've certainly had many of my own experiences. But anyway.

Alex: I'm sure.

Doug: I'm here to talk with Alex just about the podcast medium and podcasting for brand building. And this is of course a chance for Alex to promote his brand as well because he is the founder of pod match which of course is a podcasting basically a matchmaking service to find podcast authors and podcast guests. So I think the you know of course I'm going to give Alex a chance to promote his brand because that's a part of what we all do when we run podcasts. But really just want to have open conversation just about the meaning of the podcast medium and really what it's doing to media. And I thought Alex in our pre you know our pre-interview chat one of the things he said that I thought was really really profound is that a lot of people are really just looking for kind of feeling like there's somebody to be around because you know we're all kind of stuck by ourselves so with this with the rolling lockdown. So I live in Oregon which is in which has kind of never really gotten out of the idea that nobody's allowed to go anywhere. And of course right anybody who's on the west coast  it probably feels the same what number of other states have loosened up a bit but, yeah. Is this something I can only assume. This is something you've been noticing that a lot of people are just really feeling like they need to have some kind of voice in their life. 

Alex: Yeah. Interestingly enough. First off I'm so glad to be here Doug. Thanks, thanks for having me.

Doug: No problem. 

Alex: And I did notice initially when all lockdown happened. I know this is not like a covid podcast or anything like that but I noticed there's about a 20 percent drop in podcast listenership and it wasn't just mine. I actually checked with some of the hosting providers. I have some relationships with the people that own them and they said in general was a big dip and they didn't think it was going to come back very quick and it jumped back really fast. And it's because the initial shock of wow I can't leave my home anymore or you know maybe being a little bit dramatic. There but like it was a lot harder to get out and see people. People realize that oh no I need to hear other people like I'm alone most of the day or I'm just around the few people that I live with right. I need an outside voice and we saw podcasting come back with a vengeance. I mean within just a couple months by July it was the heaviest it had ever been. So it's just a couple months that it dropped down and then went back up and I've actually found that the podcasts are doing the best Doug or interview podcast like this.

Doug: Yeah.

Alex: Because people are hearing a conversation that maybe they used to hear at a restaurant or in a coffee shop. It was like they were just a round conversation and the truth is we all know this. But people need people and so podcasting has been a really cool medium that's like okay I need to still do something today. I'm working but I want to feel like I'm part of a conversation. So they'll find something they relate to something that really makes them feel at home and they'll just throw that podcast on let it run in the background and I think that's why it's such a cool medium. I mean yeah there's some video in it as well but a lot of it you can just play a podcast on audio and that's just a really cool thing for people and it's been a great service to the world in this last year.

Doug: Well and that's one of the things that kind of wonders. I wonder what the behavioral aspects have been like because of course for me I used to listen to podcasts most when I was commuting. And of course now I'm not commuting anymore because I come into my office and

Alex: Right.

Doug: That's, that that takes me about all of 30 seconds and so you know that, that me yeah I think that the way people interact with podcasts has got to be a little different now. But I think that the point you made I think is really profound which is just that you know having you listening to a conversation. I think is something that a lot of people miss because you know when especially even if you have a family. Like I have my wife and we have two kids we also have two cats, two dogs and eight chickens.

Alex: Oh wow.

Doug: But the conversations get you know the conversations get very repetitive. I talk with my kids about their homework

Alex: Yeah.

Doug: A lot. And so but yeah I think that diversity of conversation is really something that a lot of people are missing. 

Alex: Yeah. I found that a lot of us like you're saying like the conversation we don't mean for it to. It's just that when you're always around the same group it kind of goes in the same direction right. And I think that people even in the corporate world whether you have your people back in the office or wherever they're at. Letting them listen to podcasts or even encouraging that sharing ones that you like is maybe like a corporate leader and sharing it with people like in your organization helps them really it gets their brain moving in a way that maybe it's not because they're not having those opportunities anymore. It's a really fascinating thing I'm not a doctor or a scientist but I bet I'd be willing to bet if somebody did some study on this. You'd find that people that are listening to podcasts even in their

corporate lives it's probably helping them really engage with the work more than anything else right now because again if they're working from home or maybe they're just struggling their jobs

Doug: Yeah.

Alex: Because they feel like they haven't seen the light of day in forever. This type of thing is really helping them again getting that brain juice like flowing and moving so that you're able to actually do something.

Doug: Yeah.

Alex: And again, I'm not a doctor. I just said the words brain juice so you know I'm not one. 

Doug: It's that well and one of the things that I have definitely noticed about podcasting of course it's you know as a medium it's just exploded. And but yeah you really do get some colorful personalities on a number of podcasts.

Alex: Oh! Yeah.

Doug: You know, I think you know now. You definitely have some flashes in the pan. You have a lot there's a lot of 5 10 15 episode podcasts that just die after a little while. But there's, there's a lot of them that have been going for a bit. And you know it's you know there's really no friction to getting an audience other than people just really figuring out who you are. And so you know just basically on your experience. How have people been most successful in you know using a podcast ability the kind of their personal brand or like a company brand? Because I'm thinking about this you know, you say like for example you know you know say that I'm an executive with a you know say with a community organization and I'm trying to outreach or build a community brand or get people to know who we are or try to get you know to outreach so that people know hey we're here to help. You know this is a rough time for a lot of people and a lot of people need some help and you know we're here to help you. Podcasting feels like a really great way to do that you know and I just love you since you're, since you're so ingrained in. I'd love to get your input on what are some of the best ways of especially mission-driven organizations. How they can use this medium to really help fulfill their mission?

Alex: Yeah Doug, this is a really good question. It's not discussed enough because I think that many organizations and people are like oh I just want to start a podcast and we all say it because we see a lot of them. Here's the thing like top line podcasts we're about to. I  think we're getting close to 1.9 million podcasts but here's the thing if you actually dive into those stats and look at how many of them are active it's under 700,000 and then if you look at how many more active with under with more than 10 episodes it's under 400,000. So yes top line it's like yeah a lot of people have podcasts we were like oh everyone has a podcast now but, here's the thing if you look at the ones that are active they're actually beating even 10 episodes it's only 400,000 and the rate of people listening to podcasts just finally passed 50 percent  in the United States for people under the age of 55. So 50 percent of the United States that are under that age are listening to podcasts on a monthly basis. The level of listenership is growing faster. The number of podcasts are getting started not the number of podcasts that are staying. So podcasting is still like I think for me, I still call it in its infancy. It's early stages, there's plenty of room in this industry but the reason people stop is because they didn't have a clear vision from the start.

Doug: Yeah.

Alex: So if you're, if you're a corporation you're like oh I want to do a podcast. You need to get crystal clear on what it's going to do. It can't be your company's news, it can't be your HR department talking, It can't be stuff having the industry you have to pick one thing and figure out, okay. What really are the people that I want to listen to this going to benefit from? What's ideal? And for me personally, if you have an organization with more than 30 people in it doing some sort of daily podcast for people just in that organization is really cool. And there's a lot of service providers out there that I even know and that's what they specialize in. They will make a podcast for you so all you have to do is record and then send it out to people. And if you tell people when they're walking to the office or while they're clocking in listen to it for five minutes and do that in some sort of conversational way maybe like two of the the c-level people in the organization or two of the company leaders or just interviewing employees that type of thing is really cool. And I think way under utilized right now. But I think it's really smart as long as again you figure out who it's really going to be for and why you're doing it and it can't be a bunch of things. It's got to be the one most important thing.

Doug: Well and I'm going to date myself when I say this but one of the first podcasts that I started listening to was actually grammar girl. And the episodes were only about three or four minutes long. They were really short but they just you know, they were just punchy, had one topic, explore that topic and then it was done. And you know because of course the thing too is that you know, if you're on you know say you're going out for a run and you're going to be out for an hour or so and you just put a series on you can catch up on like 40 episodes.

Alex: Right, yeah.

Doug: Fast.

Alex: Super accomplished right, Doug. You're like wow look at me 40 episodes.

Doug: You know, just got knowledge all over the place but yeah. I mean and now of course I don't even know if grammar girl is still going. But yeah that was one of the early, early podcasts.

Alex:  I think it is because this is super weird but I actually just stumbled upon that podcast today for the first time ever. And I remember thinking I was like that's a funny name. Literally today like that happened an hour ago. So I believe it is still out there. Just a small world, that's crazy.

Doug: Yeah, yeah that is, that is tracy. I'll also see if Adam Curry is still doing the no agenda show. I mean, I don't know, yeah he is the pod father so.

Alex: Right.

Doug: But yeah that's really interesting. I mean because yeah I think I didn't even really think about the context of a podcast from internal communications. Because yeah If you have like say a five minute daily that won't take very long to do. You can just basically do it unscripted, you don't have to edit it very much, it can be audio only, you can just you can really easily encode it just set it up for download. Yeah that's, that'd be that'd be outstanding. I mean and I think it's especially good for companies say well they're going through the growth stage.

Alex: Right.

Doug: Because right. And when your company is really small and you're say less than 10 people. Everybody really knows everybody but once you get higher more than about 30 or so you're gonna start getting some pockets where people don't know what each other's doing. And then once you get over about 50 or 100 then you know the chance that everybody's going to know what's going on is going to be zero. And so you know it's always impossible with larger organizations to keep everybody aligned. But if you can at least make sure that everybody knows kind of the one or two most important things that are happening just on a daily basis or say like a few times a week basis it's a really easy medium for doing something like that. I mean goodness you know podcasts host providers or if if you don't have a lot of requirements it is not expensive at all.

Alex: No it's not.

Doug: To get a podcast hosted.

Alex: Yeah you know it's something you just mentioned there is when you get to that level of let's just say more than 40 people it gets real tough to have like a personal touch with everybody. If you're high up in the organization or if you're not no matter where you are you're not going to know everybody even at that level. And there's this, there's a saying that I talk about a lot whenever I talk about culture but it's “what's talked about in the halls is more important than what's written on the walls.” So we have a mission statement, we have a culture code right all that stuff sits on a wall but if it's not what people talk about the halls that's a problem and I find an internal podcast or even just a podcast you say hey company everyone listen to this. It gives everyone something to talk about as long as it's on par with the culture that you want to set that's going to get it talked about in the hallways which is really going to be the culture that gets developed. So, I know this is kind of like an interesting point here that many people haven't thought about but  I think it's actually a pretty important one. 

Doug: Yeah, oh no  that's a really important one. Well yeah definitely an important point. Yeah we're the conversations is kind of going a little different than I'd expected.

Alex: Right.

Doug: Well because the thing that I like about the interview format is that you know it's not scripted. In fact, the way that I personally prefer to do interviews is to intentionally have them not scripted.

Alex: Right:

Doug: Because I think there's only really one rule of podcasting and that's to be interesting to your target audience. And of course, target audience for this podcast is going to be you know executives or you know executive or business-minded people for companies and nonprofits. So it's it's kind of more of a B2B type of podcast. You know, 

Alex: Right.

Doug: You know not gonna be you know you know what farts and giggles and things like that.

Alex: Right.

Doug: But you know, but still you know that's the idea is to be interesting. And the cardinal sin of podcasting is to be boring and so the one of the things at least that I like about a lot of podcasts is that sometimes they sort of go in you know kind of tangential directions. Now if they ramble too much, which I'm in danger of doing right now. But if they get boring, but sometimes those interesting directions are kind of what kept me coming back because I'm like okay. I'm not entirely sure which direction this is to go but there's usually one or two nuggets you can pull out of just about every conversation especially with an interview format that could.

[Music]

[Sponsorship Part]

Doug: Hey there everybody, I'm just taking a quick break here to tell you about the sponsor for this episode. So this episode of the podcast is actually sponsored by podcorn. Now for those of you who don't know, podcorn is actually a podcasting sponsorship platform so if you go over to podcorn.com what you will see is you'll see opportunities for either brands to sponsor podcast episodes or for podcasters to promote brands in exchange of course for sponsorship revenues this is actually really great platform for a couple of reasons:

  1. What it does is it really makes it possible to monetize your podcast in a pretty frictionless way the platform is very easy to use and;
  2. It  really helps niche brands to be able to reach...

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Where Value-Obsessed Leaders Learn the Secrets of Ascending their Business to World-Class