Ep. 142 – How to Leverage Podcasts as Part of Your B2B Marketing Strategy w/ Robb Conlon

How to Leverage Podcasts as Part of Your B2B Marketing Strategy

For the most part, podcasting is still a largely underutilized component in a B2B company’s marketing strategy. With a good strategic approach and consistency, B2B podcasts can help companies build relationships with ideal customers in ways that cannot be achieved through conventional methods.

That’s why we’re talking to B2B podcasting expert Robb Conlon (FounderWestport Studios) about how companies can incorporate podcasts into their marketing strategy. During our conversation, Robb discussed why there are still so many untapped opportunities in B2B podcasting and which pitfalls to avoid. He also explained how to get buy-in from senior management for podcasts, the importance of understanding who your ideal listeners are, and provided some actionable tips.

Play Video about B2B Marketers on a Mission EP 142 Robb Conlon Youtube thumbnail

Topics discussed in episode

  • Why podcasting is still a largely under-utilized component in B2B marketing [2:30]
  • The top 3 pitfalls to avoid when it comes to B2B podcasting [8:29]
    • Naming the podcast
    • Picking the right host
    • Opening the podcast episode correctly
  • Robb talks about how he deals with the question of ROI [24:10] and when to expect ROI from podcasts [30:06]
  • Researching and coming up with the right strategy for B2B podcasting [36:33] 
  • Actionable tips: [39:40]
    • Create a list of potential guests
    • Reserving the ‘naming real estate’
    • Set the right expectations

Companies and links mentioned



Robb Conlon, Christian Klepp

Christian Klepp  00:03

Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for changemakers where we question the conventional, debunk, marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt the industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp.

Okay, welcome, everyone to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry and take your marketing to new heights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today I’m joined by someone on a mission to build better B2B relationships through podcasting. So coming to us from Port Washington, Wisconsin, USA, Mr. Robb Conlon Welcome to the show.

Robb Conlon  01:09

Great to be here, man. Great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Christian Klepp  01:13

It’s a pleasure to have you on the show. Robb, I think there’s been several months in the making, if I’m not mistaken, but man, really looking forward to it.

Robb Conlon  01:22

Definitely, several years, if you really think about it from the from the long term perspective, you and I have known each other for quite some time. So…

Christian Klepp  01:30

True, true. But Robb, I’m really looking forward to diving into it today. Because not only is this a topic that you and I are extremely passionate about. I would even go a step further to say this is a topic that is extremely relevant and pertinent to B2B marketers out there, some of them just might not know it yet.

Robb Conlon  01:48

Absolutely, I think that’s a… the lack of knowledge around about how this can be incredibly useful to a business strategy is well known, but maybe not as well known as we think.

Christian Klepp  02:01

Absolutely, absolutely. So let’s kick off this conversation with this, okay, you’ve created a business and what you refer to as a beacon for B2B relationships. So let’s focus on the specific topic today that I think has become part of your professional mission. And that’s how you can leverage podcasts as part of your B2B marketing strategy. Let’s kick off this conversation with the following question. And that is, why do you believe podcasting is still a largely under-utilized component and accompanies B2B marketing strategy?

Robb Conlon  02:30

I think it’s underutilized because I think it’s not done correctly. In the most, in most cases, a lot of folks are out there, and they’re going, oh, we need to make something like the Joe Rogan experience or This American Life or something like that. But they’re not seeing it as a well what you described, what are my little slogan is a beacon for relationships. It’s not about going out there and getting 10,000 downloads an episode or anything like that. It’s out there, getting out there and finding your right audience, that you can actually build relationships and talk with. Being in a lot of niche industries with our shows, I think that’s one of the things that bigger industries miss is that folks are not utilizing podcasts in the correct way, because they’re trying to do it in a B2C, or a D2C sort of manner. And I think that’s what, you know, my mission of helping folks figure out how they can create the best B2B relationships really has a poll for folks and that we can make sure that they they understand that going into podcasting, it is underutilized from a relationship standpoint, not necessary from a content standpoint, but from a relationship building standpoint.

Christian Klepp  03:42

Yeah, no, that’s a fantastic point. Would you say that podcasting is something like a mechanism, a vehicle to build relationships at scale?

Robb Conlon  03:52

You know… I would not. It’s your going. It’s one of those things, you know, you’ve had this show for, you know, 100 and… how many? 140, 150 episodes somewhere in there if I recall…

Christian Klepp  04:01

Yah, we’re releasing episode 141.

Robb Conlon  04:04

Okay, so 141 episodes, it’s not a… in the way that most marketing, you want marketing to scale, obviously, you want to make an ad or something like that, and you want it to be seen by more than one person. Podcasting is the opposite of that. But whereas that ad might just scratch the surface of a relationship with somebody. Imagine taking like a… gardening, and you need to move quite a bit of dirt. You take a troll a, you know, a garden hand shovel, a little guy, boom scoop of dirt. That’s what like advertising and other methods do. But if you really need to move a significant amount of dirt, you go and get a shovel or a backhoe or something bigger like that. And that’s what podcasting is relationship wise. It takes that bigger scoop for people and as much as you can. As much as it’s not a scalable thing, it almost can be a little bit… after a period of time. The first bits that definitely aren’t scalable, that’s just, you know, shovel after shovel, one person at a time. But once you develop your niche audience, and once you develop actually a following in your industry, which I should mind for most listeners, I just find the following is only a couple hundred people. That’s not a very big audience in this case. But the trick is, is that it’s the right kind of people. To give an example for folks out there, we work with the show in the higher education marketing space, doesn’t actually work directly with universities on our side. But they have folks on their show that are in this tiny industry that helps universities and colleges get more students. There’s only 4000 institutions of it like that sort in the United States of America. And many of them are small, they have one or two people at the marketing department help. And so if you’re making a podcast for people in the higher ed marketing space, your maximum audience is maybe only 4 to 10,000 people. And that’s not a Rogan experience or anything like that. That is a very small, very niche audience. But if you can get that little segment rallied around your show, because that shows for us, that show is ours. That’s where the real paydirt comes relationally, and sometimes financially.

Christian Klepp  06:24

It’s a really good point. It’s a really good point. And I tend to agree you can’t compare this to like Joe Rogan, or even Gary Vaynerchuk. I mean, like, that’s just a scale that’s, at least in B2B, it’s not it’s not realistic. And it’s, and I think the second point is like, why would you even compare it to that, right? Like, to your point, it’s focusing on these micro niches right? Having these few hundred followers that are relevant, not only to your audience, but to the show, to your industry and so forth. Right.

Robb Conlon  06:53

Right. And it’s the, it’s the folks who stick around. It’s the folks who come around and say, Hey, I listen to this show every week on my commute. And yes, there are plenty of people in the B2C or D2C spaces that say, Hey, I listened Joe Rogan all the time, or I listen to whatever my favorite podcast is, all the time. I’ve got plenty of those myself that I that I do. But when it comes to learning, when it comes to B2B, when it comes to building relationships for sales and marketing, and all of these things that B2B Podcasts can enable, having that small niche audience where you really know that person or that person takes the time to write an email to the host and say, Hey, man, I really enjoyed episode 127. That conversation you had with John Johnson, wow, that we implemented that at our, our business or at our school, or whatever it might be, that is where you really can have the rubber hit the road. Again, it’s not about making this mass consumption stuff. It’s not about making things that go viral on YouTube. It’s about making this niche content that helps people in the business space, but also builds that relationship with them in the business space.

Christian Klepp  08:00

Exactly, exactly. You brought up something already, that was such a great segue into the next question about pitfalls to avoid, and I know that you’ve got like a treasure trove of pitfalls there. But like, try to narrow it down to maybe the top three to five pitfalls that marketers should avoid, especially when it comes to podcasting.

Robb Conlon  08:19

Sure, number one, and this this is probably like, almost step zero for most shows. What you’re going to name your show. It’s one of those things that can be really well done, or it can really sink your show. A lot of times folks think you have to be ultra clever. If we take your show B2B Marketers on a Mission. It as the British say, it tells you what’s right on the tin mate, you know, things like that. It’s one of those things where you read the can and you know exactly what’s inside it. You read the podcasts, you know exactly what’s inside of it. A lot of times, I had a gentleman who I talked to on LinkedIn the other day, and he’s… this was a couple months ago, and he’s like, oh, I want to call my podcast and he was the inkwell. And I’m like, okay, and he sold something along the lines of writing services for blogs or something like that. And it’s like, okay, I can see where you’re going with that. Because yes, it’s clever. It’s, it’s very brandable and things like that. But I have no idea what it’s about. The inkwell, is it poetry? is it an English literature podcast? I don’t know what it is. So when folks build their shows, they need to be exceptionally descriptive in a short amount of time, B2B Marketers on a Mission. That is what this show is about innovative legal leadership. That is what that show is about. The higher ed marketer. That’s what that show is about. Very short, usually three, four words at most, another great one, Toolbox with the trades. You know exactly what each and every one of these things is about. So when somebody’s naming their podcast, that’s again step zero almost.

Second most important pitfall is I would say picking the right host. A lot of folks think and this is, if you’ve ever seen the movie Ratatouille, there’s the chef in there, who is… anyone can cook. And I don’t think anyone can podcast and I’m sure I come across as maybe the, you know, the villain of that show, you know, Anton ego in this case, but it’s, uh, I don’t think everybody should podcast, I think you have to have a certain amount of charisma, you have to have a certain amount of capability in a broadcast space for hosting one of these and in order to draw the right questions and draw the right reactions out of people. The other thing is, you know, he needs some sales background in there as well. So selecting the right host for a show, I think is step I’m gonna go with two now, since we kind of call the first 101. But that is the other pitfall is not selecting the right host. Just because you’re CEO, just because your marketing director, just because your VP of Sales doesn’t necessarily make you the right person to host the show. I’ve seen tremendously successful people who are frontline salespeople with podcasts that a great example of this is Tom Alaimo, who used to work for Gong a long time ago. But he had a great show, where, you know, he’s a frontline sales guy and his show, out of this world, he asked incredible questions. Super, super happy to have produced that show at one point in time.

But the third Pitfall, and this actually goes back with the host here is this one I’ve been on a bit of a crusade for lately, is opening your podcast correctly. And you did this correctly in this episode, you introduced me. A lot of times hosts go out there and they say, Hey, this is XYZ show. And I’ve got Christian Klepp as a guest. Christian, tell us about yourself? No, please don’t do it that way. That is…

Christian Klepp  11:47

I hate those.

Robb Conlon  11:48

I know. It’s horrible. And I hear it’s still far too much despite my ire against this, this opening style. The host’s duty is to support the guest. And when you say, tell us about yourself, that does not support your guest being a good guest on your show. There are no rails. If I say to you, Christian, tell me about your career so far. You might because there’s no rails, you might tell me about the time you worked fast food in high school. Because I didn’t tell you don’t go back to high school. I said, Hey, man, tell me about your career. And that’s part of it. If somebody asked me, Robb, tell me about your career. I would probably start more recently because I again, I’m passionate about this question not being, not being asked. But the old Robb five years ago, Robb, Robb, before he became passionate about this question, would have probably started with at least 10 or 15 years back, going… This is what I did. I used to work for in Major League Baseball for a little while. And then I went and worked in the nonprofit in the fitness space and like…. None of this is important to what we’re doing here on your B2B podcast. So ditch the question of Tell me about yourself, number one, and then as a cousin to that, ditch the opening question of how are you today? Nobody cares. Get to the content.

Christian Klepp  13:15

How’s the weather in Seattle? You know, those kinds of questions.

Robb Conlon  13:18

Oh, that that’s close third, it’s a close third, man.

Christian Klepp  13:25

Man, those are some great points. You know, all of these, like struck a chord with me, as you well know, because we’ve had conversations about this more times than I care to count.

Robb Conlon  13:32

Yes. Oh, yes.

Christian Klepp  13:33

But picking… Let me go down the list here. Okay. So name your show. Absolutely. We’ve talked about it. I’ve written an article about it. Picking the right host, is certainly an important component. I’m going to ask a follow up question here. Because this is probably something that a lot of people out there are struggling with. You might not be the perfect host. But there is a way to become that better host correct? So you’re gonna start out as good one. Right.

Robb Conlon  14:03

Right. There’s a great quote from Zig Ziglar, one of my favorites that has actually helped fuel my life in many, many ways. You don’t have to be good to start. But you have to start to be good. Yep. And that is, I think, a major thing that most folks, and I think it’s why podcasts tend to die around Episode 7. If folks don’t know that, most 60% or so of podcasts, never make it episode 8. And I think it’s because people face the roadblock of oh, gosh, this is actually like something I need to do it day in and day out. But also, they don’t feel or see that personal growth as a host. So yes, while not everybody should have a podcast. Folks have to start somewhere, obviously. And I want to make sure that people understand that yes, you need to practice just like a piano just like a guitar just like anything that is worth doing. Practicing podcasting is huge, and I can tell you the one step to get ahead of the rest of the crowd very easily is to just like elite athletes do, just like the Lebron James’s and the Tom Brady’s of the world. You know, obviously, they’re both either retired or passed the career, but the people who are at the absolute pinnacle of their sports, or their craft, they watch their game tape. They watch how they played in the football game. You know, here in Wisconsin, Green Bay Packer land, you can bet Monday morning, Jordan Love and the rest of the Green Bay Packers are sitting in that locker room, and they’re reviewing the tape from that Sunday’s game. And it’s all over the NFL, hockey games, baseball games, coaches make people watch tapes, because that way you as a player, you as a host, in this case, can have a critical eye towards your performance. And I will tell you that sometimes that process is uncomfortable. It makes people cringe. People hear their voices. I used to work in a call center and people with quality audit, that we would have some of the phone agents would really have a hard time hearing their voice on, you know, being played back to them for quality assurance call sessions. And getting over that, I think is one of the biggest things to be able to say, oh, man, I really botched that question. And the other thing, and it was just had a LinkedIn post about this the other day, is the variance of how you host and getting better as a host involves having a vocabulary bigger than Awesome. Great. I love that. Awesome, great. I love that. I love that. I love that. It’s one of those things where you want to and I think I think I actually I just identified one that I’ve had in this. I say one of those things a lot. I know that. But it’s up here and I’m working on it. So and then here’s another one. That being said, another one I use very frequently. The capability to increase your skills as a host is there, you have to be cognizant of what you’re doing. And not just slapped down. Slop, if you will, from your mouth and microphone on to a podcast and think that it’s fine, long term. You can do that for the first couple episodes, get your sea legs like seriously, don’t. Don’t go out there and be like, oh, man, we recorded episode one. And I do deep dive on this… Nope. Like, get used to it at first. But once you have that swagger, once you have sort of that familiarity, take a look back at your old episodes, because that’s the one thing that differentiates good hosts from great hosts is watching game tape.

Christian Klepp  17:41

I love that. No, I’m just kidding. Thanks. Thanks for sharing those insights.

Robb Conlon  17:46

It’s great.

Christian Klepp  17:48

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. The other one I want to point out was you killed it, man, you killed it. (laugh) But um, you’re absolutely right. In fact, I do that a lot like I listened back to, because I do. I’m responsible for part of the post production, at least of this show. And I listen back to the recording, and I listen back to the way that I interview people. And the way that I asked questions or, I try to keep tabs of how many gap fillers I use, and try to eliminate them in the next interview. For example, I used to be notorious for constantly saying, you know, you know, you know, alright, and once in a while, a little ahhh still creeps in. And I tried to like get rid of that by just taking a deep breath and opening my mouth without having any sound coming out of it. So there’s lots of different techniques, as you will know, right?

Robb Conlon  18:39

Right. And the other thing I will tell folks too, that they that I don’t think people say this enough. And this is funny coming from me as a fast talker, midwesterner. Slow down, slow down, it gives you not only the ability to have your listener, think about what you said, it gives you time to think about what you’re saying. One of the things I found that kills vocal pauses the um’s, the ah’s, err’s, that the most is slowing down, and learning to pause rather than say ahhh. And that’s another huge, great host tip that I think folks can really resonate with. Slow down, we talk fast, especially when we like somebody or know somebody.

Christian Klepp  19:26

Absolutely, absolutely. The other thing, and I just want to go back to this very quickly before we move on, but one of the things that you mentioned, which I think is so important, right, that hosts need to do their homework on the guests. And that goes back to the thing that you were mentioning in the beginning, you don’t kick off the conversation by saying Okay, so we’ve got Robb on the show today. So Robb, why don’t you tell us a little bit about us? Because for me that I mean, if I were the guest that would send me a a very bad signal, which means that the host doesn’t know anything about me. Right? They kind of just had somebody booked this, booked me on the show, he’s gonna go and do the interview, he’s got his like boiler plate like, list of questions and etc. And there’s not much else to be had in that conversation. And more often than not, at least in my experience, those conversations will run dry very quickly, there’s not going to be much chemistry. And you’re just going to be part of this, excuse me, to everyone out there that’s doing this, but this content churning assembly line.

Robb Conlon  20:29

Yes. And I think assembly line was actually the exact term I was going to use. When you take an interview, and you don’t prepare for it. It’s like taking two people, or, say, taking two kids, two children that are eight or nine years old, and putting them in a room together and saying, play together, you too. And those kids are at an age where like, they know how to make friends, and they know how to be, you know, social and stuff like that. And you’re like, Well, you’re a kid, and you’re a kid, play, like, and they kind of look at you, No. That’s, that’s a real challenge with a lot of B2B podcasts is a lot of hosts, treat themselves as that eight or nine year old, and they just have their booking agent, or whoever is managing that, or maybe they’ve done it themselves. They’re just picking it another, you know, metaphorical eight or nine year old to be in the room with them, and they hope that they have a good time. So that’s, that’s why I think you nailed it, there was so much of the preparation. And you can tell when somebody prepares for an interview, and when somebody doesn’t. That’s the other thing too, especially from the host’s perspective. And that is the most telling thing I find that keeps me engaged in the podcast, does the host know their stuff when it comes to the guest. And I firmly believe that there are plenty of things in plain sight for most guests that are incredibly easy to help you build deep relationships with them. Great places to find this, if you are a host, look at the bottom of their LinkedIn profile. There are volunteer opportunities from their past careers, there are things that they are passionate about, there are things that they follow. They may not be passionate about. I think it’s Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is always what I find there. I think that’s one of the LinkedIn defaults. But chances are, you’re going to find other things that they’re passionate about on their LinkedIn profile deep in. Make sure you dig, I have found some incredible things from people that I’ve been able to ask them about during their podcasts. And there’s these little secret nuggets. And when people hear you talk about that their faces light up. I was in a job interview once and the research I did, now it’s not a podcast, it’s a job interview. But this is where I found out this concept, the research I did on the HR manager, I dug deep into his LinkedIn profile, I found out he’d written a book at one point in time. And I looked it up it was on Amazon and it seemed like it was a decent read. And so when he asked me during the interview, you know what questions you have for me, I asked him, Hey, man, I saw you wrote a book. What’s it about? Tell me about it. And he told me months later, after I’d gotten the job, that it was incredibly valuable to him of like, man, you actually looked into who I am and what I do and what I enjoy. And taking that and applying it to your podcast hosting. That’s a way to build a deep and effective B2B relationship.

Christian Klepp  23:28

Absolutely, man, I think you hit the nail on the head there.

Robb Conlon  23:32

Yeah, that there’s always there’s one nugget. There’s one thing in everybody’s LinkedIn profile that they’re really proud of. And if you can find that, and talk to them about it. Oh, yeah.

Christian Klepp  23:43

Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m gonna move us on to the next question. And I’m pretty sure that you will have no problem answering it because you get this more times than you care to count. How do you get buy in from senior management to invest in podcasting? And how do you deal with pushback or questions like, gasp! Robb, what’s the ROI? If we’re going to invest in this, what’s the ROI? How is this gonna get me more leads? Off you go.

Robb Conlon  24:10

Right. So that is one of the tough parts of podcasting, because it’s one of those things that until you see it, sometimes, upper level executives don’t believe it. And that’s okay. I understand it is their job to be skeptical. I understand it is your job to watch the management of the finances of the company. The thing that I would put towards them is when it comes to ROI, the ROI of a good relationship can be worth vastly more than the ROI of a a not so good relationship, a company that has an email list and sends an email every day or three saying buy our thing, buy our thing, buy our thing, tends to burn its audience out and tends to have short term customers that don’t really give a crap if they are in business with this person or not. They don’t have that relationship. So when talking to executives about ROI, it’s one of those things to say. Do you want customers that stick around? Do you want to reduce customer churn? Do you want to keep people who are rabid fans of your business at this business? And I talked to you, I think you may know her, Candace Edelen, she’s on LinkedIn with us. I adore her, she’s fabulous. One of the things she mentioned is that about 3% of any market is in a buying window. So if you have an email of 10…, email list of 10,000 people, that’s what 30 folks, I think that… what, no 300 printer folks that are in a buying mood at any given time, if you email those people three times a week, four times a week, five times a week, for a year, 97% of that list hates you by like week two, because you’re just spamming the living daylights out of them. But if you took those same 10,000 customers, or even a fraction of those 10,000 customers, and spent the time with them on a podcast, you would build deeper relationships with people that were far more likely to buy your product, and far more likely to stick with your product for the long term, especially when you have a product or service that is higher than six figures, think specialty software, think marketing engagements, think all of these things. It’s one of those case studies. And this is one of my favorite case studies that has been had been done with this, of a show out there that we work with in the legal space. They they hunt down, if you will for their guests, the general counsel’s of fortune 500 companies. Now, what I tell a lot of folks here is that if you try to cold call a GC, or cold email a GC, you know that things either go in right into a spam inbox or a trash can, or that gatekeeper Secretary person.

Christian Klepp  27:00

It’s a prayer in the wind, essentially.

Robb Conlon  27:02

Right. Exactly, I think you could call 100 times, you know, pick your favorite fortune 500 let’s pick McDonald’s, because right now, nobody can afford McDonald’s. And say, hey, I want to talk to your general counsel about our legal software. And that gatekeeper is going to be put you in some voicemail that’s never checked for the legal department. And you’re going to call that number all day, every day for a year, and nobody’s ever going to pick up or get back to you or anything like that. And podcasting allows you to circumvent that by saying, Hey, would you like to come make some content with us? There’s no strings attached. And for the executives out there who are like, and then you sell them, right? It’s like, No, this is a relationship building tool. Get people to know you, like you and trust you. And that’s when you pull the trigger on saying, Does it make sense for us to work together? And again, it’s not a hey, buy my thing. It’s, does it make sense to us to work together, given the relationship that we’ve built, given the time that we’ve spent together, you’ve mentioned that these things are hurting or damaging your experience in business. Did you know I can fix one or two of those? And if the answer is yes, and if you’ve done a good job of making this thing here, that particular relationship can be worth $400,000 a year, I’ve seen it done with this exact legal podcast, that was the number that it took for them to sign MasterCard, as a client, which is awesome. And the nice thing is, is that their platform is a yearly recurring subscription model. So every time MasterCard has to come bid their cases out in the platform that my customer sells. They, they shell out almost half a million dollars a year, that is an incredible return on investment when you are spending, you know, 1 to 2% of that on production every month. So you know it would if you close one of those. That’s huge. And again, the other thing I usually tell most executives is for ROI. This is big game hunting. This is not getting your if you have a customer that you know, oh, yeah, they spend seven to $8,000 a month with us. That’s cool. That’s great. I’m super glad. But if your ideal customer is somebody who’s bigger by three or fourfold, use the podcast, to build relationships with those folks, get better customers, get bigger customers, get customers that are better served by you and that are dreams to work with. And that’s how you can do that with podcasting.

Christian Klepp  29:40

Absolutely. And I think just to add on to that point, something that you and I have talked about many times in the past. You’ve got to be in this for the long term, right? This is just as a long term game, so called right? This isn’t something where okay, you launch a podcast, and then three months down the road you start asking Okay, Well, how come we haven’t signed anything yet? Right? Like you’ve got to put in the time the effort, right?

Robb Conlon  30:06

Yeah. And that’s one of the things that I’m so glad you actually asked this follow up, because as I ended my previous response, like, Oh, should we get to talk timetables? Yeah, I tell most folks, that podcast ROI does not even start until month 6. Now, there are some exceptions to that. I have seen tremendous conversations come from shows at episode 8. But that is the that is the wildcard fluke, holy cow once in a blue moon kind of thing. It is incredibly…

Christian Klepp  30:35

One in a million.

Robb Conlon  30:38

At least one to 10,000. I mean, it’s, it’s the long shot, it is not impossible. But it is the long shot. And I think a lot of folks in the executive space need to understand that that when you make a podcast like you have barely started with podcasting, and to have somebody who is interested in what you’re doing in the first 8 episodes is just short of miraculous in this case, because you’ve timed it right, you found one of that 3% of your market that’s in a buying mood, which is great. And that should be taken and run with, which is outstanding. But the big thing to remember is that relationships, and relational sales, take time, I tell most folks that the expected window, we should start to see an uptick of traction around month six and things like that. But for most folks 9 to 18 months, that’s you know, three quarters to a year and a half of constant weekly production, to build your show in its niche and to start to become an authority there. That’s when you’re going to start to see the results of saying, Hey, I am getting ROI from this. And keep in mind that if somebody just to use my own company, as an example, this is probably a $50 to $100,000 investment, in that case with your production studio and things like that. So that’s where I would, would start with that. And then look at how those relationships, those 100 relationships if you do this, especially if you do it for two years, there’s 104 weeks in two years, those 104 relationships are going to be incredibly more valuable to anybody than the email blasts you’ve done in the same time. Because these will be people who will not only respect your brand, respect who you are, but they’ll also introduce you to their networks. And that’s the other aspect of podcasts. And that is it’s a hidden aspect. It’s kind of like Dark Web is that people will talk about your show to other people. Yeah, she’s on a podcast the other day. Yes, this guy, Christian Klepp. And, and yeah, we talked about B2B marketing a lot. It was great. And I got a chance to, you know, explain what, you know, podcasting is good for and things like that. And I had a really great time. And that sort of interpersonal relationship that comes from the second tier, that can be incredibly valuable, as well.

Christian Klepp  32:58

Absolutely, absolutely. I had a kind of a follow up question now based on what you’ve said in the past couple of minutes. And I should have brought this up earlier, the role of conducting research and having the right strategy when it comes to podcasting and leveraging that as part of your B2B marketing strategy. Can you talk to us about that?

Robb Conlon  33:18

So research in this case is a little tough, because it’s one of those things that you have your own market research. But a lot of the data that would make for great podcasts market research is actually held by Spotify and Apple, and they don’t share it in this case. So when we look at the research that it takes to say is, does there need to be a podcast in the space? The answer that I would give to most folks is yes, so long as your B2B show, can, you know fit those criteria of being quality and making sure that it’s a niche show, and it stays close to its, its title and what it’s all about. But if somebody is looking to say, like, how many listeners are out there for marketing podcasts right now, nobody knows that, which is really a bummer. And it’s actually one of those things that is… that I hate about this industry, that the data is held number one by really big corporations who don’t care about the rest of us. And number two, that it is tightly held, and that there’s this anonymity out there, that the average Joe or Jane can’t access. So back to your question about you know, research and things like that as far as how people should be researching, researching things. What I do for folks when creating a show concept for them, is I go look and I go hunting in their niche for how many shows are out there and I count I describe what I’m trying to look for in the search bars in very, in very different ways sometimes, to give you an example, we used to have a show that was in the environmental, social and governance space ESG which hopefully you folks will know. And when we created that show here, I had to take a look through a lot of different areas to say, okay, is this a niche that we should even touch? The good news was when we made that show ESG, as a concept was sort of on the rise, and we saw there was a definitive lack of podcasts in that space. So we said, Okay, this is something we should go into. So when folks are looking at their research, for their podcasts, paying attention to how full the niche is, is important. At the same time, if you’re in a really crowded niche, like this one is, B2B marketing and B2B sales. At the end of the day, your podcast is not necessarily an audience tool, it is a sales tool. And the research and the marketing research that you do around that should not necessarily be for getting it to a wider audience, but for converting your guests into customers.

Christian Klepp  36:00

Right, right. Absolutely. Absolutely. I think where I was going with that question, Robb, was more of like, you know, when when a client comes to you and says, Okay, we we want to launch a podcast, and it was more about like, defining, like, going back to… think something as basic as okay, what the name of the podcast is going to be. And also what the show is going to be about, and who the ideal audience or listeners are, right? I mean, for that, I think, like some kind of strategy and some kind of research would would be helpful in a way.

Robb Conlon  36:33

Right. I agree. And that is, you know, back to the point I made earlier about, like, looking to space, number one. But number two, I think the question that you’d want to look at is like, go to the keywords that your website shows up for, like, hey, what are we ranking for? And can we bake that in to our podcast, there is a concept that is coming kind of to the surface now. I’ve seen it not only with our platform that we distribute shows with, but with other ones, too, called podcast SEO. And that is something I, as a professional in my space have to learn more about. By trade. I’m a salesperson, not marketer, in this case, so I’m pushing for my own learning on that. But taking a peek at how you how you brand, your show, how you build your show is going to be incredibly important. The strategy I would give to folks about that is to have a master strategy document, and to take a look at what’s in your space already. And by doing research, by listening and watching other shows, that are in your space, take the pieces of those that you like, and put them into kind of this cooking pot, if you will, if by chance you like the way that let’s say I open my B2B show, it’s a very short little, usually 12 to 30″ intro, we have the show music, I tell a little story about why we’re, you know, metaphorically visiting the city we’re going to, because you don’t have kind of an airplane theme in the show. If you like that, write it down, jot it down as part of the ingredients that you want to do to make a marketing plan for this podcast as to how it feels. The other parts of that is, you know, find out what works in your space. Who are the top shows when I type in B2B. In Spotify search thing, what shows up? Is that close to what I’m looking for, if I am a, a trades based podcast, if I just type that, if I type trades in there, what shows up? If I type higher education in there, what shows up? If I take banking in there, what do I see? Do these little keyword researches to see what folks are going to look at because if, from my experience, listeners tend to search around one or two terms for a podcast, they say I want to listen to a podcast about banking, you know, or whatever, whatever it might be, I want to learn how to if I’m in the higher education space, student enrollment, or something along those lines, and those those little search terms are what I would get together of the shows that you like, and what your shows show is potentially going to be in the future.

Christian Klepp  39:17

Fantastic tips there, man. And the next question was going to be about actionable tips. And you’ve given us plenty already, but let’s just try to summarize it to like maybe the top three to five. If somebody were listening to the show, you know, this conversation between you and I, what are three to five things you want them to walk away with in terms of leveraging podcasts as part of their marketing strategy.

Robb Conlon  39:40

Number one thing I’d say walk away with is create your big game hunting list. What I usually tell folks when they start a show with us is I want you to create a list of potential guests. And it is 65 people long and you’re going Robb, This is episode one. Why is it 65 people because I want you to have the ability to book a lot of folks and get this going. So your first 50 on this list are customers that are an ideal fit for you. That is strategy number one. These are people who are the right price point, have the right, like social fits all of these things, they’re great, you’d love to work with them on a scale of one to 10. They’re like solid 8s across the board. So that’s one to 50. The next 10 people that I want you to book or to look at booking are the big guys, those are the people who you who are not only incredible fit customers, but they could change your business if you were working with them. And I want you… I usually call these conquest accounts, from my sales days do these things where if you said, All man, we are doing business with MasterCard, your CEO would give you a promotion and all sorts of things like that. That’s sort of step 1.2. And then step 1.3 here, the last five are people who are friendlies to you, people who can help you start the first one or two episodes of your show, and get you off the ground or fill a hole when you need a guest and can bring good content. They like you, they know you, they trust you. And they’re making sure that that your show is staying afloat. So that’s strategy one, I would I would say for folks to when you’re kicking off a show, get that big guest list and reach out to them right away, get that stuff scheduled, get that stuff on your, on your calendars.

Robb Conlon  41:20

Second thing I would do is make sure that you’re reserving your, I guess I would call it naming real estate, if you will. If I start up a show, called B2B Marketers on a Mission, well, one of those already exists. And it’s right here, making sure that you don’t have a show that’s already out there. And again, it can be tough to do, because there’s only so many combinations of certain words and things like that, I would reserve your real estate really fast for that if we take an example, like this show, in particular, looking at where it should be. If this was a brand new show, I’d say okay, Christian, I want we’re going to take a… we’re going to make sure this is available on iTunes, and Spotify. And if it’s available there, it’s probably available everywhere. And it doesn’t have to be available, you could have a clone, but I would make sure that you don’t have them actively producing at this time, I usually say if a show has not actively produced within two years, it is Open Season for that name, with a little asterisk there. If you find out that show is owned by somebody big like Spotify, or wondery or something like that. Don’t touch it in this case. So there’s that, gets your name down not just for your show, but get it on social media to get that LinkedIn page, get that Twitter handle, I refuse to call it X, get the Instagram, get the Tiktok. Pile that all together and make sure it is as close to uniform as possible. B2B Marketers on a Mission you know this show, I think there’s pretty much only one way to write that in a social media handle. You may want to add you know, podcast if it’s taken already or something like that. But like, keep it real tight. Keep it real close.

Robb Conlon  43:07

Third thing I would say to folks when they’re starting up their show getting this going is to set your expectations right. There are so many executives out there and executives this one is this is particularly for you guys. You’re gonna look at this from the beginning and you’re gonna go this isn’t doing anything. This takes a ton of time. There’s a guy on LinkedIn that I follow. He’s been a guest on a couple of shows that that we work with here at Westport. His name is Rob Clark. You may know him from Tik Tok as the patriarch of that tall family he and his entire family are like six foot eight or better. It’s like wow, you guys are huge. But that’s their stick. That’s their thing. Well, Rob had been publishing content on YouTube for about eight or nine years before he got picked up by the YouTube algorithm and Tik Tok and things like that, again, two different platforms. But he has over 1.5 billion views as of earlier this year. And it started after 8 years of flatness. Now I will say for the executives. Do not spend eight years making your podcast, that is that is a colossal Sisyphean task waste of money if things are not showing efforts by you know, month 24. Man, that’s you have truly given it a shot. But looking back at what we were talking about earlier Christian with the speed with which relationships develop. Think about the last time you networked with somebody at an event. You met them in person, you shook their hand, things like that. You’re not immediately going to go take your business to them. You got to get to know them better. You got to you have to like them, know them and trust them. So, executives were looking for traction at month 2 or 3 with the podcast. I’m sorry, my friends, but you’re wrong. You’re objectively wrong because you’re not understanding the concept of making a podcast

Christian Klepp  45:00

Correct, correct. Fantastic, man. Okay, let me just quickly recap that a give a first one is create your big game hunting list. Second one is reserving naming real estate and that’s really just making sure that when you come up with a name for the show that hasn’t been taken yet, right?

Robb Conlon  45:17

Or that it’s, it hasn’t been. It’s not in active use. Yeah.

Christian Klepp  45:21

Yeah. Or, or, or it’s not owned by like Spotify or one of the big corporations, right and in which case, you should just stay away. And the third one, which I think would be, like, really, really important is like setting the expectations right from the get go. Yes. All right. Fantastic. Robb, I got two more questions before I let you go today.

Robb Conlon  45:45

All right.

Christian Klepp  45:46

So please stay on your soapbox a while longer. A status quo that you passionately disagree with? And why?

Robb Conlon  45:54

Yeah, the one that I think that I’ve seen people put forward lately is that, oh, the interview based podcast is dead or dying or, or there’s too many of those. And I think that everybody’s consistently trapped there like trying to push like whatever’s new and hot. And that’s cool. I don’t mind innovation. But I really think that there is something that you know, for 10s of 1000s of years, human beings have sat down across from each other, and they’ve had conversations, and they’ve had, they’ve told stories, and they’ve done all these things that are really face to face that when you look at it,  Christian, you and I are meeting via a virtual platform over something called the Internet, that is probably one of the seven modern wonders of the world. But at the same time, you and I are having an eye contacted face to face conversation… you know, we live 700 miles apart. But this kind of thing… and our entire relationship is built on that. I think the status quo of saying we need something new and hot, really needs to go in the podcasting space. And I think other people need to understand that just because something is not exciting to you doesn’t mean that there’s not somebody out there in the world who hasn’t experienced that or doesn’t need that knowledge. And that’s where I really think B2B podcasts, like the ones that we produce at Westport studios shine is that they’re learning tools also for it’s for small industries. And they’re also things that are, you know, you don’t have to have this earth shattering like, Oh, we did all of this work on this. Because you know what, at the end of the day, I don’t think the listener cares. What I found with B2B podcast listeners, is that oftentimes, they’re searching for the gemstone at the bottom of the mind shaft. And when they find that thing, they grab it and they run and they go show what they found. You know, it’s a, it’s kind of very, you know, 10,000 BC kind of thing, monkey finds shiny rock, monkey goes and shows his friend shiny rock, in this case. So that’s where I, what I’d really like to dispel is that the status quo of innovate innovate innovate is… it is good to innovate. But innovation for no reason or innovation that doesn’t make sense, needs to get out of here.

Christian Klepp  48:05

Absolutely. I totally agree with that. This whole like innovation for the sake of variety…

Robb Conlon  48:11

Yes, I like how you phrase that innovation for the sake of variety, like..

Christian Klepp  48:16

Just seeing too much of that you know.

Robb Conlon  48:18

Yeah, and I think AI has contributed to that too, where people are just throwing a bunch of things against the wall and see what hopefully sticks. Seen some really terrible content lately. I miss old LinkedIn, like 2021, 2022 LinkedIn.

Christian Klepp  48:34

You and me both, my friend. You and me both.

Robb Conlon  48:36

… much less authentic.

Christian Klepp  48:39

Okay, and here comes the bonus question. Okay. Hold on to your seats. You leave a lot of clues on your website about your love for all things nautical. All right, so the question is, if you have the privilege and the opportunity to sail anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Robb Conlon  48:58

Now are we talking sail as in like cruise boat ride, are we talking sail is in like ….Like the gardens fishermen?

Christian Klepp  49:04

Yeah, yeah, the second one.

Robb Conlon  49:06

Reeling in ropes and things like that. I think, you know, here in the little town I live in there used to be a tall ship, you know, with masts and sails that came to town called the Dennis Sullivan. It was owned by Discovery World… was a children’s museum here in Milwaukee. It has since unfortunately been sold. But I think I would love to jump on a ship like that for a week or two. And just get out to you know, there’s two places I think I’d like to go. I’d like to go someplace that’s kind of stormy cold, you know, the Northeast or you know, kind of towards Newfoundland just to be like, you know, we’re, we’re in very sailing type weather or, you know, kind of the Great Lakes here a little stormy too. But I’d also like to see that sailed into the Caribbean into that that hot, warm, you know, you’re working on deck and you have that that old timey drink that they used to have which is four parts water, one part rum and a whole bunch of lime squeezed into it. You’re hauling ropes and doing fun stuff like that. I’m a landlover as it is, but the time I went on that Dennis Sullivan ship, and we’re hoisting sails and stuff like that, I’m like this is… this is just like working out. This is just like all the things that I kind of enjoyed doing. Then we’re on the boat, we’re out in nature, and all of life’s cares have melted away. So that’s where I think I go, I think I go someplace either super, super, like, grit your teeth into the wind, or maybe a little bit tropical.

Christian Klepp  50:31

Yeah, like North Atlantic or something like that.

Robb Conlon  50:33

Yeah, I get now let’s make sure we got lifeboats no icebergs. But you know. I can’t get swept over the side. So…

Christian Klepp  50:40

Yes. Absolutely.

Robb Conlon  50:42

Hopefully, like theme park danger. There we go.

Christian Klepp  50:45

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. In the in the man, Robb, this is such a fantastic conversation. So thanks, again, for coming on the show and for sharing your experience and expertise with the listeners. I have one last question. And it’s quick intro to yourself and how folks can get in touch with you?

Robb Conlon  51:01

Sure, well, best way to do it is on LinkedIn. You know, I love getting on there. And I try to create very authentic content. There’s a lot of things you can follow me on there. Whether it’s my B2B podcast journey, whether it’s you know, what’s going on in life or, you know, I actually have this other little channel I started called a Face gain, spot my fitness journey, that’s going on other platforms than LinkedIn. But yeah, those are the three main areas you can find me I’m open to pretty much any connection as long as you’re not going to pitch me. That’s the big kind of like, no, no, I’ve got, but there’s that. And of course, you can always if you want to catch more of my voice and things like that. There’s B2B Business Class, wherever you get your podcasts. It’s fun time. And we’ve, we’ve had you on the show, and we’ve had some really great conversations with a whole bunch of folks around the industry. So feel free to reach out and connect up because that’s what I found has driven my life to amazing new heights.

Christian Klepp  51:48

Fantastic, fantastic. Robb once again, thanks for your time. Take care, stay safe, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Robb Conlon  51:55

Can do my friend. We’ll see you later.


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