In this episode I interview John Corcoran to discuss the power of podcasting. He talks about his and his clients’ experiences with creating profitable relationships through podcasts. We talk about the big mistakes people are making when they create a business podcast and John outlines how to avoid those missteps.
John Corcoran is a former White House Writer, speechwriter, an attorney, an author and a podcasting and lead generation expert.
He started his career as a Writer in the Clinton White House, and today is cofounder of Rise25, LLC with Dr. Jeremy Weisz, who is the longtime host of the top rated INspired INsider podcast, and former senior producer for the groundbreaking Mixergy podcast.
Rise25 helps B2B businesses to connect with their ideal clients, referral partnerships and strategic partners using a combination of a done-for-you podcast and content marketing combined with LinkedIn.
In both cases, Rise25 provides strategic advice and counsel aimed at helping clients to get great ROI by building proactive relationships with their ideal clients, referral partners and strategic partners.
He is a recovering attorney and the creator of Smart Business Revolution and the Smart Business Revolution podcast, where he shares strategies for using intentional relationship-building to grow your network and your income, and since 2012 he has interviewed hundreds of successful entrepreneurs about how they have used relationships to grow their businesses and their careers.
He is the author of 3 books about relationship building and client acquisition, and has been profiled in Forbes and in the books Entrepreneurial You (Harvard Business Review Press 2017) and Stand Out (Portfolio 2015) by Dorie Clark, The Connector’s Advantage (Page Two 2019) by Michelle Tillis Lederman, Success Is In Your Sphere (McGraw-Hill Education 2019) by Zvi Band, and The Successful Mistake by Matthew Turner, and his writing has appeared in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Art of Manliness, Lifehacker, Business Insider, and numerous other publications, blogs and websites.
Frank Bria: 00:00 The six to seven figures show, episode 64 let’s hit it.
Announcer: 00:04 Broadcasting from the Valley of the sun outside Phoenix, Arizona. This is the six to seven figure show, tired of working so hard and having no time. Take your six figure practice and turn into a thriving seven figure enterprise. And now your host, author, speaker, mentor and strategist Frank Bria.
Frank Bria: 00:29 Everyone welcome to the six to seven figure show. I’m your host, Frank Bria and I am absolutely thrilled to be joined by my good friend John Corcoran, former white house writer, speechwriter and attorney author podcasting lead generation expert. He started his career as a writer in the Clinton white house and is today a co founder of Rise 25 with Dr. Jeremy Weiss, who’s a longtime host of the top rated inspired insider podcast and former senior producer for the groundbreaking Mixergy podcast. Rise 25 helps B to B businesses connect with their ideal clients, referral partnerships, strategic partnerships, all using a combination of done for you podcast and content marketing combined with LinkedIn. In both cases. Rise 25 provides strategic advice and counsel aimed at helping clients to get great ROI by building proactive relationship for their ideal clients, referral partners and strategic partners. He’s a recovering attorney. I love that line by the way.
Frank Bria: 01:29 All the time. We’ll talk about that a second. And creator of the smart business revolution, the smart business revolution podcast, also where he shares strategies for using intentional relationship building to grow your network and your income. Since 2012, he’s interviewed hundreds of successful entrepreneurs about how they’ve used relationships to grow their business and their careers. He’s the author of three books about relationship building and client acquisition has been profiled in Forbes and in the books, entrepreneurial you, you stand out by Dorie Clark, mutual friend of ours, a connector’s advantage and success in your sphere. A successful mistake. It’s tons there. Writings appeared in Forbes and entrepreneur and Huffington post and the art of Manliness and life hacker business journal and numerous other publications, blogs and websites. John, welcome to the show. Frank, I was a pleasure to be with you. Thanks for that introduction, Natalie. Of course. And I love we have to go back to the recovering attorney thing because I always called myself a recovering consultant. So there’s that it’s a talk about that you’re, you’re an attorney for how long?
John Corcoran: 02:41 Well I first became attorney in 2007, so 12 years ago now. And yeah, I mean I have a weird story in that I started a blog and a podcast and eventually the revenue from that replaced my income as a lawyer. And so I just started firing legal clients. That’s how I stopped practicing law. But there’s a 12 step program for that. You know, you’ll never really truly become a former [inaudible].
Frank Bria: 03:04 You just kind of become a recovering attorney for anyone I know. A few like that. It must be a, it’s a regular thing. But you’re doing great work these days with the folks who have podcasts. You’re especially, you’ve got B2B that their marketing is around marketing to other businesses. What are you finding that’s changing in the podcast world that has you doing a lot of work with these folks? Now.
John Corcoran: 03:32 Sure. Well w largely I find there’s a lot more recognition of what a podcast is. You know, a lot of people these days think they shouldn’t start a podcast because it’s too late, which is common in any field, right? But I don’t think it is too late at this point. I think it’s just starting to gather public awareness so that enough people know what it is. I’ve actually heard projections that over the next three years that the number of podcasts, number of podcasts and number of downloads is going to triple because car makers are finally starting to integrate them directly into their entertainment system so that people can listen directly. Cause that’s where a lot of people listen to podcasts, right? Plus everyone has got a phone in their pocket, but there’s, you know, still a, there’s billions of people in this world who don’t have a cell phone in their pocket and many more who are coming online who are going to have a phone in their pocket. So it’s becoming easier for people to consume podcasts. So I actually find that there is, there’s a lot of opportunity for, for people who want to get involved in podcasters.
Frank Bria: 04:28 Yeah. The other thing I hear a lot in this I guess goes down to strategy and I’d be curious what your opinion is. A lot of people, especially in the B to B space have shied away from podcasts because the original sort of, you know, popular strategies around podcast were around audience building and getting sponsorships and things like that and it just didn’t feel like it was aligned with the business model. So you’re working with a lot of B to B folks, so clearly they must be doing something else.
John Corcoran: 04:57 Yeah. I, the thing I say to people is, look, don’t try and invent new metrics. You’ve got metrics for your business right now. You’ve got goals, you want to hit certain numbers, right? The podcast should help you to serve those, those goals. And in fact, I find that it’s one of the most effective strategies out there if you use it to hit those goals. Like I had someone who had a $40 million business who asked me, how do I get to 500 downloads a month? I said, who cares how many downloads you get? That doesn’t, that’s a phony metric. What you care about is your current objectives and if the podcast helps you do that, great. I think it will. But if it doesn’t, then don’t do it, you know? But upon what you need to understand about a podcast is that it is a Swiss army knife.
John Corcoran: 05:35 It’s a tool that can do so many different things. It is networking, it’s client acquisition, it’s referral marketing, it’s strategic partnerships, it’s professional development, it’s personal development. All of this while doubling his content marketing and creating marketable assets that you can share across different platforms that will be up for years to come. I get emails now today that from a, you know, 30 minutes that spent five years ago, you know, from someone who’s reaching out to me, you know, and I haven’t even touched it and you know, in five years. So to me it’s one of the most high leverage types of things that you can do. You mentioned my background, I’ve written books I’ve written, you know, in government, I’ve written for Forbes and entrepreneur and all these different publications and what I found eventually was that rather than putting all the effort to do that kind of content marketing, why not just have a conversation? Most of us are already doing the things we need to do in order to have a podcast that is, we’re already having conversations with people just record it and it creates content that you can then market in multiple different ways.
Frank Bria: 06:32 Yeah, I would agree with that 100% in my experience, I’ve seen it. It’s bizarre. Like you get people who I’ve never met before who get on a call to discern whether or not they’re going to work with us and it’s like, I know you, I’ve listened to all your stuff. There’s something very intimate about the voice or video, whichever one of those methods that you choose to distribute, which you just can’t get through written content.
John Corcoran: 06:59 Absolutely true. People get, they get to know you in a much more intimate way. You know, I find people that I meet at like a conference or something that they’ve listened to a bunch of my podcasts, they feel a level of trust that’s much better for me. But also it is a tool that will get you access to people that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. That’s really what I try and reinforce to people. We all need to up level our network. Okay. I mean, I feel very fortunate in my career, I’ve worked with presidents, I’ve worked with governors, you know, but no matter what stage we’re at, there’s someone else and another level, you know, unless you have the magic touch and any person you call or any person you email automatically calls, you immediately back automatically returns that email, then you’re fine. But if you’re not, if you’re like the rest of us and there are some people who you try and reach out to, whether it’s a prospective client referral partner or whatever, or dream client or something like that, this is the tool that you can use. I’ve had, you know, cofounder of a $52 billion a year company that’s been on my podcast just a couple of weeks ago. I interviewed the former president of a publicly traded one and a half billion dollar company. I can’t begin to mention all the names of the different speakers and authors and things like that that I’ve been able to, you know, have time spending, getting to know them. And then once you get to know them, they, they, you know, then you’ve got a relationship and you can take it from there.
Frank Bria: 08:19 Right, right. Yeah. What do you think is the secret to making that networking relationship pay off longterm? I mean, a lot of people do podcasts and have guests onto then never talked to them ever again. What do you find is the, is kind of the key to, to switch that leverage and stir actually start to build a longer, longer term relationship.
John Corcoran: 08:43 One important point is you need to have alignment between the people that you’re reaching out to, that you’re featuring on the show and the business that you run. A lot of times we see a mistake with that where they have, they have a podcast in theory, but they’re not interviewing people who are good prospects to be clients or referral partners or strategic partners. They’re not using it in that way. They’re just interviewing. A lot of times people, I like to say they get drunk and they’re like, Ooh, I can interview this person and that person. And then you start getting these incoming emails from the PR people who are pitching like people sending out books and stuff like that. And so like, Oh, how exciting. I’m going to have this person, my book, but it’s not really aligned with the business that you’re running. So you should be proactive about it.
John Corcoran: 09:25 You should come to come up with a list of both people that you don’t know already, but also look retroactively retrospectively, look back at your existing network, past clients, past referral partners, tragic parts pastor, treat your partners chances. Are there some that you haven’t talked to in years? Right? And you, it’s a great way to go back and reconnect with that person. Deliver value. And that’s another big point to answer your question, the key is to deliver value to the person you deliver value by having them on the podcast. But then beyond that, you know, what else can you do? Can you provide them with advice not related, not just related to your vocation, although that’s helpful. You know, what advice can you give them? But maybe it might be something else related to a passion that that person has, you know, really just relate relevant to something that they care about but also related to your, your, your expertise.
John Corcoran: 10:13 You know? And so when you’re on the pocket, when I’m interviewing someone on a podcast, I’m asking them about what challenges that they’re currently experiencing. And if it’s a challenge that I can help them with, then you know, when the interview’s over I’m like, Hey, have you tried this, this and this? This is a good way. And there are people that are incredibly high levels sometimes, but their area of expertise is not aligned with mine and I’ve got something that I can give them advice on and they become truly grateful. And then here’s the key point is then you’re leveraging the principle of reciprocity. No, a fellow Arizona, dr Robert Cialdini, author of influence wrote the great book, one of the six triggers. There is reciprocity. When you are value someone they want to reciprocate. Yeah,
Frank Bria: 10:55 Absolutely. And one of the things I want to call out this point, because you’ve taught it in a lot of the material and the content you’ve put out on networking, but this idea of kind of doing your homework in advance knowing the person, what’s really relevant to them and, and being able to speak to it intelligently and, and not try to go outside your, your swim lanes necessarily. But by doing the homework, you kinda know, Hey, these are the, these are the things that are important to that person. These are the things that are that they’re working on. Yeah, that’s a, that’s a really critical point.
John Corcoran: 11:31 Right? Right. And you know, social media provides an amazing tool for that. You can find out a lot about someone by looking at their social media feeds, Googling people these days. You can find out a lot about them, but then the podcast also gives you the opportunity to, you know, touch base, ask beforehand what’s going on with them or when you’re interviewing them, ask what’s going on with them, what they’re challenged by, what you can help them with.
Frank Bria: 11:51 Yeah. Yup. Absolutely. Yeah. I want to pivot a little bit here to talking about how you’re actually working with folks in, in helping the B2B lead generation and the networking with podcasts. What does that process look like? And in particular, one of the things I’m curious about is you guys do a done for you service and a lot of people who are in done for you services and thinking that’s just a horrible business model. It’s really awful. You know, it’s too much work. How are you guys moving through that and able to grow and service the clients as you’re essentially providing that service?
John Corcoran: 12:25 Great question. And I should say I’ve been podcasting since 2012 my business partner since around the same amount of time and for all of that time, really all of that time I’ve been saying to people, podcasting is amazing. It’s changed my life. I found a business partner. I’ve been to people’s weddings, been on vacation with people, so many clients, referral partners, dinners together, just friendships, all that kind of stuff have come because of podcasting. So for that very reason, I think everyone should have a podcast, you know, but in recent years, we pivoted to starting to help people using our own team to help them to grow their podcast. And we we firmly believe that it’s important that you have, that you focus on the things that are the highest and best use of your time. Especially if you have a B2B business and you’ve got a lot of constraints on your time, you’re very busy, that kind of thing.
John Corcoran: 13:12 You should not be getting bogged down and formatting RSS feed and stuff like that. But the other important critical pieces, the strategy piece is making sure that you’re using an industry tragic way. Because as I mentioned earlier, we see a lot of people who are not using it in a strategic way and they’re just interviewing the wrong people and then it becomes a complete waste of time. And then three to six months later, even if they’ve enjoyed doing it, they give up because they realize it’s actually kind of a lot of work and they don’t want to do it anymore. And I’ve made these mistakes in the past. About five years ago, at the end of one year, I’d done a bunch of interviews, but I only published seven and I went to my business, Jeremy and I had just become business partners and he’d systematized Mixergy and everything. And I said, you gotta help me with my podcasts, put the systems in place. And the very next year I’d done 52 publish 52 episodes. And so you think about it, what business wouldn’t benefit? First of all, you’re already having these conversations, but what business wouldn’t benefit from, you know, edifying glorifying, promoting 52 high caliber relationships within your network or expanding your network to new people and then promoting them? I don’t know, a sin, you know, I really don’t know ones that, that don’t, wouldn’t benefit that for sure. Yeah.
Frank Bria: 14:21 So, so what does that involve in terms of what are some of the strategic questions that your clients need to answer for themselves in order to get kind of things moving and, and how does that then flow through into the rest of the work that you do?
John Corcoran: 14:34 Sure. So one of the big ones is what, what I, what I find that it does is that it helps people to really think through if they’re pursuing the right clients. You know, we had one client recently who I S I said, what’s the average client lifetime value? And she hadn’t run that calculus in awhile. She had in the past, this is a, a multiple eight figure business. They’re doing tremendously well, but she hadn’t run the calculus in awhile and she realized there were two. One was doing about $150,000 average client lifetime value, which is not not not too bad. Yeah. And then another was $780,000 and I said, we’re going to go up for that one. But it was wonderful that she’d done that analysis and realized that there are two different types of clientele and, and then that gives you real clarity and like that’s the type of clientele that you want to be going after, but not just the actual end client.
John Corcoran: 15:29 Also the referral partner, the strategic partner referral partner might be someone who introduces you to people like that. A strategic partner might be like, for example, a SAS company that has thousands of that ideal prospect client for you as already existing users and wants to bring you in to come in and speak at their user conference or present a webinar to their users. That’s a huge opportunity for you. And if you can use the podcast to gain access to the decision maker within that company that you’re going to build a relationship with. And then there, and this is something that I’ve done over and over again, we’ve done it for sales force, Tony Robbins company, a Weber, a bunch of big companies where you use the podcast, but that’s the grounding to get you access to build the relationship that then leads to the further opportunities.
John Corcoran: 16:17 Right? Absolutely. In the it seems like just the work that you’re doing to help identify you know, client, are you talking about client lifetime value, these kinds of strategic market metrics that, that’s work that in and of itself pays off. A lot of us don’t do that work until we’re sort of forced to, when it comes time to pull a trigger on something. Oh yeah. I mean there’s lots of stuff like that where we just don’t take the time to really look at the numbers. You know, the other question you asked was about whether done for you is a right model or not. And there are other done for you models that we’ve done in the past. Practicing law is one of them, right? Which highly involved, every different set of facts is different. Every client engagement is different. It requires a lot of mental processing work, highly engaged people get very emotional around a lot of the matters.
John Corcoran: 17:15 So you need a lot of handholding. So there are other done few models that I’ve done in the past, which I’ve moved away from because I realized how limiting they are here. We’ve got, you know, from a business perspective, I believe that podcasting is just exploding in popularity. It’s going, we’re, it’s part of this larger movement away from traditional distribution channels towards more independent new distribution channels and ownership of your own media. You know, any business can be a media producer. Now, Gary van district says that everyone should, every business should be. And so I think it’s of that larger trend and we built teams in place that help with the pieces around launching and distributing that podcast. Getting all the blocking, tackling needs to be done that way. And then my business partner and I, between the two of us, we’ve got about 16 years of experience in this relatively new media.
John Corcoran: 18:08 We take it literally and we stay, as you said, we stay within our swim lane because we’re not helping people to create a hobby podcast or a passion project or something where they’re going to try and go get advertisements or something like that. Heaven help you. Good luck. We’re focused on BDB, we’re focused on getting ROI. That’s what we know, that’s our strength. And so we focus on that. So from a business perspective, I think that it’s been the right one for us from a personal fulfillment perspective, incredibly fulfilling, love doing it. I’m very passionate about it. You and I, you know, all kinds of people, relationships have been edified and increased in and, and furthered because of this medium. And so I’m just very passionate about helping others to use it, but to use it in a way that’s also profitable so they keep on doing it.
Frank Bria: 18:58 Yeah. Yeah. And, and you’ve identified, I think that the critical piece there is that you’ve got these templates essentially of the production pieces while leaving the strategic part. Basically the, the way, you know leveraging your own expertise and and there are certain, it’s funny that you mentioned lawyers because consultants are the same thing. There’s certain professions where if you ask is this custom? Like you want to say yes, right? No one wants to be a template consultant. I shouldn’t reminds me of a funny lawyer story. You’ll, you’ll appreciate this cause it’s related. Does. I remember working with with one of my clients was a large bank and we were trying to get an agreement put together and, and my liaison over there, like sent off to their legal team and said, Hey, do you have some boiler plate we can use that’s like this? The lawyer responds back, goes, no, but I have a document that I put together with my 20 years of legally no boiler plate, no templates. It’s absolutely custom,
John Corcoran: 20:03 Which is never true. Right? I mean like lawyers not drafting something originally, you know?
Frank Bria: 20:08 Yeah. But, but I think that is the key. Like you guys have recognized the pieces of what you do in that done for you service that are going to be repeatable and keeping focus on the stuff which is going to be custom, which is going to be the strategic part where you and Jeremy can do that work. And then, you know, people are essentially then churning, churning it out and, and look, there are parts of podcasting which are very essentially technical and just need to get done. They just, you know, buttons need to get pressed.
John Corcoran: 20:38 Right. And it’s a weird hybrid, right? Not every business does this, but we are a hybrid between a done for you and the strategy, like not every combines those two. In fact, I would say that most of the other businesses out there that help other businesses to publish a podcast are, there’s no strategy. Right. I think that’s a huge mistake because then that’s why they fail. That’s why they fail at such a high number is because they do it for a little bit. They realize that, you know, they, they’re not getting the shake paste right. And they give up. It’s so focused on the tactic. Right, exactly right. Yeah. Right, exactly. Yeah. And, and so, you know, we, there’s plenty of clients that we’ve rejected. We said we’re not a good fit to work with you because you’re just chasing downloads or something like that. You know, it’s not a good fit. Yeah. So,
Frank Bria: 21:24 Well strategy aside I want to ask you because this is a good pivot from what you just said. What, what is a good time for, I know, I know I’m gonna, I’m gonna have you violate the thing you just said, which is that everyone should have a podcast. But when is it a good time in the growth of a B2B company to engage a firm like yours? What, what’s the right trigger point?
John Corcoran: 21:48 Limited? You know, the, what I say to that is, when would be a good time to grow your network? When is a good time to build relationships if you publish one per week with 52 high caliber people per year and to deliver value to them. And to use it as a tool to gain access to people that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. You know, it might take years of trying, sending emails, calls, you know, direct mail packages, knocking on doors to get access to that one VP, that one CEO, that one director of sales or marketing that you’re trying to get access to or CTO or whatever. And boom, this particular strategy works incredibly well. Let’s keep it between us, right? Cause at some point it’s not going to work, but it works now. I mean it’s amazing. Like, and then you can layer it, you can combine it with other strategies.
John Corcoran: 22:35 Like for example, LinkedIn, I’m a big LinkedIn user. I’m a huge fan. It’s amazing platform. But with LinkedIn, you know, you can connect with people and you know, I’ve seen, you know, a C suite level executives at 15,000 person companies respond personally inside of their LinkedIn to an outreach message. Just inviting them to be a guest on the podcast. You know, of course. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that you should be using this duplicitous Lee or you’re trying to like sell them immediately. If you do that, that’s completely wrong, dishonest, you’re going to burn your reputation really quickly, you know? But if you lead with delivering value, if you lead with, you want to give this person exposure, share their thought leadership with the world, learn more about what they’re working on and how you can tell your family and friends and everyone about it.
John Corcoran: 23:26 Then you’ve earned the right to a relationship with that person. Then you’ve earned the right to a further conversation. And one of our clients, Mark Bayer said, you know, I didn’t believe you before I started working with you, but you’re right. And if we pick the client right then at the end of the conversation, many of them just say, well that was a lot of fun. How else can we work together? Yeah. And that’s, and I think that is the highest compliment. Cause then you, it’s like matchmaking. You’ve put two people together who are meant to know each other and who knows what, what might result of it. You know, it might be like you and me where, you know, we see each other from time to time. We’ve shared a meal together, we’ve been to events together, we support each other when we can. We introduced each other to, to, to other people within our network. You know, we all need more of those types of relationships in our life. And if my mission is to help people with that, I just love that. I love supporting people in that way.
Frank Bria: 24:23 Yeah, that’s great. And, and you’re very good at it. That’s a for for sure. Anyone who, if you haven’t met John, by the way, this is a, and, and you’ve just listening to this for the first time, you definitely reach out a, he’s someone worth knowing. John, we’re out of time, so I apologize. I’d love to continue the dialogue, but last question for you. If people are thinking about this and going, I need to figure this podcast thing out, how’s what’s a great way for them to start the relationship with you guys?
John Corcoran: 24:51 Sure, yeah. You can go to rise 20 five.com and you can reach out to me there. You can email me John at rise 25, media.com. Go to LinkedIn. If you go to LinkedIn, send a message like a note or something like that. It’s a far more effective. You can say, Hey, yeah, I heard you on the Frank Frank RIAs podcast and I just want to reach out. I love when people do that. So any of those ways will work.
Frank Bria: 25:14 Cool. Awesome. And we’ve got the link to your website here below the video or on the show notes page. If you’re out and about listening, come on back to the show notes page. You can click right on through to get in touch with John and Jeremy. They’re both brilliant guys. I know them have worked with them. I love their stuff. Thanks so much John, for being with us. Really appreciate it.
John Corcoran: 25:31 My pleasure.
Frank Bria: 25:33 Absolutely. Thanks so much for being with us on this episode of the six or seven figure show. I’ve been your host, Frank Bria grateful that you’re here. We know you’ve got a lot of things you can be doing with your time. So if,
Frank Bria: 25:41 You’re spending with us. It’s an absolute honor, and we will see on the next episode. Take care. Bye bye.