Thanks, in part, to a global pandemic, podcasting has become an increasingly effective way to build brands and attract customers. For Mark Colgan, co-founder and CEO of Speak On Podcasts, there’s no better way for individuals and businesses to ramp up interest in what they do.
“The buyers’ journey has changed so much,” says Colgan. “Can you afford not to be showing up in a conversation in the channels where buyers are spending time to learn about products and services?”
A Podcast to Talk about Podcasts
An entrepreneur and revenue leader with a focus on podcast thought leadership, Colgan joined ITWC CMO Fawn Annan in February 2022 for an installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series designed by ITWC to showcase strategies for gaining a competitive edge through the intersection of marketing and technology. Their discussion centered around the acceleration of podcasts in the business to business (B2B) space, and Speak On’s strategy for positioning clients as podcast guests and connecting them with appropriate hosts.
From Onboarding to Booking
Colgan describes a process that begins with a detailed onboarding call and a questionnaire to gain a better understanding of the customer’s distinguishing features and areas of expertise. Based on this information, Speak On creates content and topics that get pitched to prospective podcast hosts across email and social media. Next comes facilitating a conversation between the customer and podcast hosts, and securing bookings for the customer.
“All customers need to do is turn up, make sure their microphones are plugged in, and deliver as much value as they can,” says Colgan.
It may sound simple, but there are many moving parts to the process and it takes a lot of time. Scheduling, in particular, is a lengthy process. “When we work with PR agencies, they have already done a lot of the work we need to do during onboarding,” says Colgan. “We can typically get a campaign started a little bit quicker because they have the customer profile as well as the audience and the topics.”
Speak On customers range from B2B brands to individual consultants, coaches, authors, agency owners, and business people. “I think the customers we most enjoy working with are those who understand that speaking on podcasts is a brand awareness strategy rather than a lead generation strategy,” says Colgan. “Whilst you can generate leads from speaking on podcasts, it’s really a PR and branding exercise.”
Colgan also enjoys working with customers who have an excellent product or message – especially when that message is complicated. He credits podcasts with providing the platform and the forum for speaking at length about a subject and really getting the message across.
Customizing the Podcast Process
Asked by Annan to explain what sets Speak On apart from the competition, Colgan begins by saying that his agency genuinely cares about finding the right podcast venue for customers. “We don’t just place people on podcasts to hit a monthly target,” he says. “At any time, our customers can turn around and say they don’t want to speak on certain podcasts. All we ask in return is that they explain why, so that we can adjust our work and our research.”
Another differentiator is that Speak On doesn’t send batch template emails to hundreds of different podcasts in the hope of getting a hit. “We listen to previous interviews, we look to connect the value that the customer can give to the podcast host’s audience, and we send individualized, personalized emails to every podcast host,” says Colgan.
Tactical advice is something that resonates with B2B audiences. “It’s those topics that really paint the picture, and then explain tactically how to implement it,” he says. “We encourage our customers to always have at least one or two topics, which somebody could listen to in 20-minutes and implement straight away.”
The Art of Matchmaking
In terms of advice for those planning to manage the podcast process themselves, Colgan compares finding the appropriate host with finding someone to marry. “You don’t want to propose on the first date,” he warns. “You want to ask what drinks they like, and what food they enjoy. So, take that approach with podcast hosts and just get started. I think that’s the enemy of a lot of great things. We just don’t start.”