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Podcast Guesting Pro founder Graham Brown joins podcast host Eric Dickmann on the "The Virtual CMO" podcast to discuss podcasting as a marketing channel for business. The following is a transcript of their conversation. For more tips on podcast guesting success, go to our podcast guesting resources.

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Eric Dickmann 00:01
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Eric Dickmann 0:31

Welcome to The Virtual CMO podcast. I'm your host, Eric Dickmann. In this podcast, we have conversations with marketing professionals who share the strategies, tactics, and mindset you can use to improve the effectiveness of your marketing activities and grow your business. This week, I'm excited to welcome Graham Brown to the podcast. Graham is an entrepreneur, author, storyteller, podcast host, and Founder of Pikkal Company. Pikkal Company is an award-winning full service podcast agency that specializes in performance communications. Graham and his team have produced over 1000 podcast shows and around 20,000 episodes for their global clients. Graham is also a podcast host of Podcast Maps, The Be More Human Podcast, XL Podcast and Asia Tech podcast. Today's episode is for podcasters and aspiring podcasters who want to grow their show and expand their reach. Please help me welcome Graham to the program. Graham Brown across the pond in Singapore, welcome to The Virtual CMO Podcast. So glad you could join us today

Graham Brown 01:37

No. Thank you very much for the warm welcome. It's great to be here. Looking forward to this, Eric.

Eric Dickmann 01:41

I'm looking forward to it as well. You know, I'm very fortunate to be able to have a lot of guests on the show representing different disciplines. And today we're going to get into podcasting a little bit, which of course we're doing right now, and has been such a fantastic medium during this crazy period of COVID. I'm really curious to hear a little bit more about your journey into podcasting When did you first get into podcasting?Graham Brown 02:09

Um well I was doing podcasts before people were calling it podcasts. the old days yeah Um attaching a small plastic box to an analog phone line, it was almost like one of those boxes you could buy from those spice stores. Effectively what you had to do is you take it out on the phone line and split the cable, run it through this box and it's a wire tap, right? Obviously this was to do interviews. So I would be phoning. In the early days I had a mobile research business back in 99, 2000 and I was doing a lot of research globally, and phoning people and interviewing them over the phone. And that really was the beginning of the podcast cause I started publishing them. And obviously at the time we didn't have hosting platforms, we didn't have even editing software of any sorts So yeah That was the entry level beginning for podcasts for me And thank God somebody worked out that they could actually do this properly. But I think the need was there from a very early stage.

Eric Dickmann 03:13

When did you finally get listed on Apple Podcasts?

Graham Brown 03:16

Well it was not until much later. I mean obviously Apple didn't really pick up until the mid 2000s. You know with the iPod and then iTunes, and then the store et cetera. And then podcasting came around. There wasn't initially sort of an early flourishing of podcasts around about 2002, 2007, 2008. And I'd probably put some experiments on the Apple Store then. But then they sort of died out. It was very early adopter back then, it didn't have anything like the mass market appeal that it does now. So a lot of people were experimenting it because it was a new technology, it was interesting, but very, very technical and engineering based back then. So it's been about 10 years before we seen them come around again before the mass market picked up and started making podcasts what it is now.

Eric Dickmann 04:06

It's interesting that you say that because it really seemed like for a while, Apple was going to take podcasts and really run with it. There were some unique features that they had,. I remember I still think it's buried in there but most players don't support it, the ability to have chapter markers and different images

Graham Brown 04:22

right. Yeah.

Eric Dickmann 04:23

And it just seems like they had this very cool tool, but they kind of just let it sit for years and years, didn't they?

Graham Brown 04:30

There was no obvious monetization. Apple wasn't a major player in the advertising space and still isn't. So they haven't really seen podcasts for what it is. And Spotify has made an earlier move into that because it's being forced to. So if you think about Apple's model is very much based on subscription payments on the service level, and yet Spotify, it's model was based primarily on music and the margins on IP Assigned music. So for example if a label owns music, Spotify is taking a small slice of every dollar that it sells. So Spotify is move into podcasts is really forced by, their hand was forced because they needed better margins and Apple was fine. I mean obviously it was selling iPods and iPhones elsewhere, so for them, podcasts for a rounding error in their numbers.

Eric Dickmann 05:28

Yeah that's the thing that people often forget when they quote statistics. Clearly, Spotify has come charging hard, right? They're picking up a lot of subscribers, they're still number one in music subscriptions, but they're losing money. Apple's making money hand over fist so they can afford a little bit of time to kind of figure this out. And I think one of the things that's interesting too is you know years ago they made the decision to decouple a lot of these things from what was the iTunes kind of cluster that it had become, and now everything's a separate app or Spotify is pulling podcasts into their music app. Do you think that Apple will ever reconsider that and pull up podcasts back into their music app?Graham Brown 06:09

I'm not sure, I'm not sure what the end game is. You're right, they've separated iTunes and Apple podcasts now, but people still call it iTunes by default. And that they've made that move and now they've just updated podcasts to connect. So they're trying to revamp their podcast interface to make that better because it was pretty as you probably know is pretty rudimentary, the interface and the analytics, really it was last century almost. So that's all been updated and they've made some interesting acquisitions and I think you're starting to see now they're investing in originals. So they want to have their original content that you've seen Spotify invest heavily in, you've seen what uh Amazon's acquisition of Wondery, for example and Amazon will be a big player in this space without a doubt. And so Apple is now starting to looking around, and you're starting to see some of their recruitment as well, Now, they're recruiting podcasts acquisition managers. So the signs are there. They're obviously less inclined because they have more revenues elsewhere, like you say. Uh but this is going to be an important space for them because they are making a move into original content and podcasts.

Eric Dickmann 07:30

I don't know have you been on on Clubhouse? You know it's been all the rage, people have been talking about it sort of nonstop for the last month or two. But I almost see signs of it petering out already What do you think about the future of platforms like Clubhouse?

Graham Brown 07:45

Yeah that's a great question. Yeah it's your listeners, I challenge them, go to Google Trends and type Clubhouse, and you'll see what these search interests. That's a good indication of early adopter interest in a technology, and it's really spiked. It's dropped right off from you know a baseline of a hundred let's say in February, uh today we're around about 20 subject search volume. Yeah, it's really dropped off. And to your point about those platforms, we're in a really interesting space Eric, and I've been studying this space for some time and you think about this sort of confluence of podcasts, radio advertising, and that sort of fourth piece of the Venn diagram which is these disruptive audio apps all coming together, and not by coincidence I have to add. Let's call this audio too, and this is a space where really it's been driven by a number of factors, you've got on the one hand, you know what's happened in the last year, A lot of people disconnected um we live in a very isolated world these days, remote work, COVID, et cetera. Then on top of that, you've got the algorithms, you know how much of work now Is being taken up by machine learning? And that's just a macro trend that's going to increase. And so there's a real push into apps and technologies that connect us, and what really audio does more than anything is it connects us in an authentic way. I think this is kind of like, you know these apps are coming from almost like our soul, our human soul is crying out for connection. Liken you know Starbucks had a place. It created connection in the nineties for young people, you know in America, and that spread around the world. So you know these apps really are coming from that space, and I think what's interesting is how do they compete and how do they compliment podcast? And that's the interesting question now, because some will and some won't, and they have different roles to play. You know Clubhouse, Discord, Fireside, which Mark Cuban's launching end of this year. It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out.

Eric Dickmann 10:04

I'd be curious to get your opinion. This is just what's been rattling around in my brain a little bit especially about Clubhouse. It's not new technology, right? The ability to connect to audio chats that dates back way back, you know to audio or phone calls where you could go join a group conference. That's nothing new. But I think they introduced an easy to use interface, it was coming sort of right near the middle end of COVID, people were longing for connection, they were longing for that ability to interact with other people, they wanted engagement, and this platform came out, and all of a sudden it was very easy to connect, engage with people who were talking about things that you wanted to talk about. And that was great, then all of a sudden everybody found out about it. And then instead of it being a room of 30 people where you could raise your hand and get on stage in five minutes, now it's a room of 500 people, you have no chance of getting onstage. So out goes the engagement. And now you've got basically a very long-winded podcast that you can't fast forward, you can't skip over any parts that you're not interested in, you're just stuck listening to a lot of people that you may not find interesting. What do you think? That's just what's been rambling through my brain.

Graham Brown 11:16

That's a good analysis. It's really been a victim of its own success. A few points, let's put the data on the table. I mean Clubhouse has 20 million users in really from a zero start a year before. So It's grown rapidly without a doubt. One of the problems has been the reliance on very much a VC community, alias celebrities, Elon Musk. You know here's the thing about Elon, Eric is that he sold $50 million of flame throwers.

Eric Dickmann 11:47

I know.

Graham Brown 11:48

It doesn't validate the model for flame throwers, right? Nobody could repeat that. He could sell anything and that halo effect is really being imparted on Clubhouse as well. So that has got a lot of people interested in it and the interest hasn't necessarily been sustainable. Now the question is like what is the relationship between Clubhouse and podcasts long-term or even music? And you and I both are on the wrong side of 45, we understand,

Eric Dickmann 12:19

What are you talking about?

Graham Brown 12:21

Yeah Sorry It was just the filter. So we understand what music was once, right? You know if you think about the seventies and eighties, and those days, music had a discoverability problem. That if you were an artist, you needed airplay and therefore you had radio and music coexisting, and they needed each other. Radio was discoverability. Exactly what you said, it was you know you couldn't fast forward it, you had to listen through a lot of stuff that wasn't interesting in radio. But then you got to your song, and all that new song or the charts, the countdown, kind of thing. And music needed radio because the labels needed their guy, their DJ on their local station, this guy you know that they had a good relationship with, and The DJ needed the radio cause he needed the free music and the latest songs, and songs and so on. So that relationship co-exist in airplay and assets And we're seeing that again I think that what clubhouse and this new generation of apps of which clubhouse is one Less solving the discoverability problem of the assets which is the music or the podcast because you create a podcast you create musics and asset It lasts forever You know you can listen to the Beatles and from the 1960s, today and they're still making money from every listen, right? That's an asset. But Clubhouse isn't an asset, it vaporizes as soon as it's done. I feel that those two will co-exist in the same way radio music did in the day. And we're seeing many analogs between the two evolve. You know people from one world are going into Clubhouse and hustling for their podcast which is really what just happened 40, 50 years ago.

Eric Dickmann 14:14

Well I saw a post the other day I think Social Media Examiner had it that LinkedIn is working on a Clubhouse clone which makes a ton of sense to me to be to take that network and be able to build some engagement directly on the LinkedIn platform, so we'll see. But that's actually a really great segue to you know the main point that I wanted to talk about. You know you and I are podcasters, it's a great medium to interact, to network, to be able to really expand on some interesting thoughts with some thought leaders. But as a business owner, some people might be thinking, Well, is this a channel that's right for me? Should I invest my money in buying some equipment and starting up a podcast? So what do you say when you talk to people, business owners specifically who were thinking about starting a podcast because they feel it'll be good for their brand, help their brand awareness, help them develop some thought leadership.

Graham Brown 15:11

That's a good question. So what is brand awareness? How do we measure that? That's gotta be the starting point Isn't it? Is a podcast designed to acquire leads or is it an influence play? And how would you define brand awareness, Eric? How would you actually you know measure that fast? You're the man obviously, CMO marketing show. So you know that's what is about, how would you start with the metrics there?

Eric Dickmann 15:43

Yeah I think when you're talking about brand awareness, you're talking about if I have 10 competitors in the space and you know web traffic is one way to to measure that, if somebody is going to do a search for a specific product or service, where am I in their thought process? Where am I down the list of those 10? And I think the more that you can increase your brand awareness, the higher you're going to be on that list in terms of what people are thinking of. So its top of mind and yeah it's not an easy thing to directly measure. You can measure it sort of circumstantially, but yeah it's where are you on that list.

Graham Brown 16:22

So let's take that top of mind idea and then think about what a podcast can do. So firstly there is the discoverability aspect of podcasts. If you have a particular talking point or a narrative that you like to own, then creating a podcast and putting the content out there makes that discoverable. So firstly, you can go onto Google and type let's say data science, and you will see on your first page, podcasts being shown in that podcast stripe. That box is Carousel. That's Google Podcasts serving up podcasts. So you think about what is an extremely competitive keyword. Now you're ranking quite highly and if you do a search or you search anything on that you know, be my guest to check out any kind of random searches you'll find what's coming up in that Stripe is actually um content which wouldn't normally rank in the first two pages of Google if it was a website. And they say today that the best place to bury a dead body is in page two of Google search results.

Eric Dickmann 17:31

Right, exactly.

Graham Brown 17:33

If you can get into that Stripe, that's great So that's one thing. Secondly, you can reformat it like this as a video and that again Google likes and prefers almost YouTube videos, you know in terms of SEO content, and the third part is on store. So Spotify and Apple, you know the SEO game for most podcasts is pretty basic. So if you can just focus on the SEO aspect of your podcast on the store, so for example if you are a marketing podcast obviously, you know you're part of a category with 10,000 shows. How do you stand out? The key then is basically making sure you've got the right keywords intent that people are searching for on store because you'll find a lot of people are unaware of it. You know if you design a website, you designit with Google in mind. Very few people are designing their podcasts with Spotify and Apple in mind, because they haven't been in mind for the last five years, they're only now starting to be deal breakers in terms of your thought leadership. And only now can they serve up enough traffic to make it worthwhile, and therefore that's going to be the shift. So the first part is think about the discoverability of that top of mind. You've got a window, it could be two or three years when people haven't figured it out yet. They, you know gaming SEO on websites is hard and expensive business, but on podcast, it's still greenfield. So that's the first part. The second part is the meetings and the acquisitions that you can get from podcasts itself. But the first part is really you know, how do you make sure that people can discover for you what you want to be a thought leader in?

Eric Dickmann 19:26

Hey, it's Eric here and we'll be right back to the podcast. But first, are you ready to grow, scale, and take your marketing to the next level? If so, The Five Echelon Group's Virtual CMO consulting service may be a great fit for you. We can help build a strategic marketing plan for your business and manage its execution, step-by-step. We'll focus on areas like how to attract more leads. How to create compelling messaging that resonates with your ideal customers. How to strategically package and position your products and services. How to increase lead conversion, improve your margins, and scale your business. To find out more about our consulting offerings and schedule a consultation, go to and click on Services. Now back to the podcast. I think that's such a good point because as we started talking about at the beginning of the show, you know Apple has let podcasts languish a bit. They haven't invested a whole lot into upgrades or making it a better tool, But I have a feeling that's about to change. You know if you believe the rumor mills, you believe like you said some of the job postings that are out there, uh you know they recognize the fact that Spotify is gaining ground here and they know that they need to do more. And there's also been rumors about Apple starting to develop their own search engine to with Google. And if Apple has any track record, it's that they promote their own assets. So I can see discoverability being something that gets tackled finally. Because you're right, if you go to Apple Podcasts, you can only put in the most elementary search to find a category, and you're going to get very random listings that are part of that, it's not going to be very refined. And it's just calling for something that's a little bit better in terms of exposing more content to potential listeners.

Graham Brown 21:18

Hmm, absolutely. Apple have made a lot of background moves in this space, not a lot is public at the moment Um they're not by default a service company, so that is obviously why they're not You know leading the pack like Spotify or even Amazon now has made some big plays. I would say with Apple as well I don't know to what extent it will become public but the equivalent of sound scan in YouTube is already been tried and tested on the platforms, so think about that. That you know the YouTube sound scan is it's basically a machine learning algorithm which listens. It just basically translates audio into text which is you know an easily accessible um machine learning library. And YouTube does that obviously for copyright issues, but it also does it because the vast majority of YouTube descriptions are pretty lame, so if I want to you know they they're like three or four lines or you know that people still use hashtags in it and so on. So what YouTube has been doing is listening to your videos and translating or transcribing them so people can discover them, because what's actually talked about as opposed to the description is much more relevant to discovery. You know it's like 5,000 words per 60 minute audio, so the same is happening now or you can bank on this in the future will happen in Spotify and Apple which basically means that you know they understand like that pretty poor interface that you talked about for Apple will become less relevant, now I'll be able to serve you content that's relevant to you based on what you're listening to, based on what I've been listening to for you on the platform. And so that's the next stage where we're going ahead with podcasts, the SoundScan equivalent.

Graham Brown 23:14

I would say to anybody out there who's already doing podcast is that you know your back catalog can't be changed. You can't go back to a podcast 10 episodes back and change it. It's done. So thinking about like your keywords now and getting them into your podcast, not in a spammy way But you know CMO or marketing, these will be picked up in time and be key to discoverability. Because your back catalog will be everything when it comes to engagement.

Eric Dickmann 23:43

Well I know one of the problems that exist in podcasting today is you know let's just say you search for CMO for example, you're going to get a listing of shows and episodes that maybe contain that. But the problem is and this is something that people really need to understand about podcasting is a lot of podcasters give up. You know maybe they're 20, 30 episodes in and they just stop. And there's nothing in Apple Podcasts as an example today, that penalizes them for doing that. You could get a show that shows up number three in the list that hasn't published since 2018, but because they had those keywords in there, they're going to show up, right? And I think that those are the kinds of things that need to change that more rewards need to be given to shows that are current, that are live, that haven't been abandoned, and let's hope they do that. But that really brings up another topic is that as a business owner If I'm looking to say well should I start podcasting? It's like Oh geez there are so many podcasts out there. But really if you look at the active podcasts out there, the people who can publish you know maybe at least once twice a month, that number drops pretty dramatically. This is still a wide open channel, right?

Graham Brown 24:58

Absolutely. And with some knowledge of the algorithm really helps because most people are unaware on store. Most people are off store in promotion. The on store is really where you know mine where the gold is, and the gold is on the store now. To your point about the existence of ghost ship podcasts.

Eric Dickmann 25:20

I like that. Ghost ship podcasts, yeah.

Graham Brown 25:22

There's a lot out there. Um you can go onto Apple And find a lot of gimlet podcasts which have stopped on Apple because obviously they've got the arrangement with Spotify now. So uh you know you're going back two or three years maybe more, but they're still ranking in the Top 10 and that doesn't do well for audience engagement because you've probably listened to it Or it's like old news whatever. So these stores need to improve on that aspect and then you know you look at for example like our data, we publish a lot of SEO data on podcast. The average business podcast now publishes 6.3 episodes a month, and you know the old days when people did one podcast episode a month, they are still around. You know people think that that's enough. You look at Gary Vaynerchuk he's doing 30 episodes a month. That's one every day,

Eric Dickmann 26:15

That's crazy.

Graham Brown 26:15

Right? These aren't like seven minute episodes, These are 30 minute episodes full. So Eric, the question now is that how is that training audiences? Because audiences now expect regular, consistent content. You know no longer are we in like 1998 of websites, you know? We've moved on. So that's now changing what we have to produce. And if you're of the mind that actually I can up my game on podcasts, I can focus on what people want. In the same way If you were from the world of radio you would always start with the question, What did the audience want? Never, what do I want to talk about? So have a look at the platforms, have a look at the rankings, look at how much people are publishing, look how consistent they are, the keywords, and with that knowledge that even small changes can make a big difference. That can put you, you can get into the Top 10 Of a category with just consistent focus. You don't need to celebrities, you just need to understand how Spotify and Apple are ranking their charts.

Eric Dickmann 27:25

Yeah well it's just the same with website SEO, right? If you understand what the algorithms are looking for, you understand how to play the game, you can move your content up the rankings and it's no different with podcasts. But you know one thing that I hear from people all the time and it sort of drives me crazy a little bit and I hear this on Clubhouse a lot. Every room on Clubhouse seems to be titled, How to Monetize Your Podcast. And I get it right, people want to make money that's not a problem. And as a business, if you're thinking about starting a podcast, you want to make money. But I'm of the school that you have a podcast to bring value, you podcast to deliver thought leadership, to have engaging conversations with people. And if you do that, money will follow. It's not necessarily that the podcast itself is going to be some big revenue generating machine. What what are your thoughts on monetization?

Graham Brown 28:23

Completely agree. There is a market for teaching how to monetize your podcast, like with everything, there is a market of that, people teaching you how to do it. I feel it's a bit like teaching people to play guitar. You know people will figure it out You know there's no like in their bedrooms they will be playing the guitar, learning the chords There's no real long-term value in that market. I feel the real value in podcasts is looking at as a marketing play. So in two ways you've really got the option to create a podcast as advertising real estate, so you look at a lot of the amazing content plays out there by Wondery or In the UK, you've got Noisier for example who creating podcasts that get millions of downloads, and you know the production values are very high, you know this is very attractive to brands now that you have effectively narrow cast audience that are interested in a very specific area. You know it doesn't have the difficulty of production values that you have with video For example you can easily knock out a podcast in weeks as opposed to months and years. So That's the first monetization opportunity is advertising real estate which is basically creating an asset that you can monetize with inserts programmatic et cetera. The second part um where we both of us are operating is you know we are the advertisers, which is the B2B play. Which is you know we don't need advertisers on our podcasts because we are ultimately the sponsor and the advertiser, and we're in a very soft way selling our services and you know people follow people not brands And therefore people buy from people first we're selling ourselves you know who do I know What do I think what am I views on X Y Z for example And what kind of interesting conversations going to happen And I feel that that space, the B2B space in podcasting, are you for thought leadership and for acquisition is extremely underrated.

Eric Dickmann 30:30


Graham Brown 30:31

It's a long term play. You know how many podcasts do you have to do before it pays off? You said 20 to 30, you know the valley of death.

Eric Dickmann 30:40

Valley of death,

Graham Brown 30:41

You know, is this real? Because it's long, it's a marathon not a sprint, right? You have to invest long term and then you get substantial payoffs because ultimately it's relationships, isn't it? Its meetings and all relationships are longterm. And that space is interesting. That's where you can make a lot of money especially if you have a high ticket business consultancy, a concept sale for example, B2B sales, enterprise sales. All of these companies should have podcasts because there's no more effective business development meeting than this, sitting together and talking.

Eric Dickmann 31:24

You can be the most my new little niche that's out there, and you can have a podcast that attracts just your target audience and it would be a tremendous value probably to those people. I've recently started participating on Lunch Club. Are you familiar with that one?

Graham Brown 31:42

Yeah, Yeah.

Eric Dickmann 31:43

And it's been fantastic. I've been shocked how good it's been. But in some ways it reminds me of the value of podcasting. Lunch Club is a one-on-one kind of meeting service that matches you with people with similar interests. But you can have a podcast that doesn't have tens of thousands of listeners, but just has a core group of people that are interested in the same thing that you're interested in, and that's tremendously valuable not only to like you said your brand, but to the trust that you can build and to the connections that you can make within that small community. So yeah I think a lot of times this whole conversation about monetization is completely misplaced.

Graham Brown 32:25

Absolutely. And it's because it's short term It's short term-ism I should say. Where the real valued relationships are long-term. Think about I'm not just like who can listen to this conversation or any conversation that you have on a podcast, that's conversations at scale as well. It's not lost and second part is who can you meet? I've seen this some amazing examples of people using podcasts as a biz-dev tool. So you know think about how difficult. It is to get meetings with people now, yet if you were to interview them, think about how that would open up a relationship with them. I've seen a couple of examples to check out, there is a company in the UK called ProfitWell that do SaaS pricing models. So they will for example help Spotify, Stripe, or HubSpot process their SaaS, you know for the right market. And obviously to get those people and win those business accounts is going to be a long, long process, it could be a year sales cycle. So what they've been doing which I think is genius is they do tear downs of their clients or their prospects I should say. So for example, you want to do business with Salesforce let's say and it's get difficult to get in So you could do like let's say Graham and Eric get together, we do a tear down on the Salesforce pricing model and we discuss it together, you know in our AB consultancy, and then we send that to Salesforce. I'd say this is what we think about you and what you could be doing, and sure enough that guy might say, Not Interested. But there are thousands in Salesforce who may be interested, so you know they may then discover that conversation. So I think that is the untried and tested ground for people to use this as a marketing tool that really scales effectively, long term. And then also think about, you could reach out to people and have meetings with buyers and sit with them, and listen to them. You know just ask them, so what's your problem? What's your challenges? You know, how are you adapting to COVID? And they will tell you, and sure as rain they'll kind of follow up and say, Oh you know that was a good conversation. Let me know if I can help you with anything.

Eric Dickmann 35:00

Yes, that's so true.

Graham Brown 35:01

There you go. That's so much more powerful than the LinkedIn approach and the sales pitch which seems to be default for our industry. And that you know from my experience that works. I've got business out of it. You know I've sat with people who are very, very difficult to get hold of, and you know within weeks we've done business.

Eric Dickmann 35:21

Talk to me a little bit too about the value of being a guest on other people's podcasts. So if you're a business owner, not only you know starting your own podcast, but taking the time to be a guest on other people's podcasts. What do you recommend people do?

Graham Brown 35:36

Yeah this is great insight, guesting on other shows that it gives you insight about A, your own show and also I believe the key part of the podcast is it's agile storytelling. You know, let's think about that for a minute. What that actually means is that you don't need a book, a published book to have a story worth telling.

Eric Dickmann 36:00

So true.

Graham Brown 36:00

And you know so many people have a book inside them that never gets published. Everybody's publishing a book when you meet them And yet very few people actually do. And so a podcast is a great way to evolve that narrative and what better way you know then to sit here talking to Eric, and just you know talk through the ideas, these dots that may not yet be connected, and you know join some of those dots and test ideas. You know today I may have thrown out an idea which was new and didn't work for example, but I saw her um just the idea of agile storytelling it came from Kevin Hart, the comedian. You know he is the highest paid comedian in the US at the moment. And he was saying that he practices his big stadium gigs on a two year cycle. He's selling out big arenas. But his year one what he does is effective like the guest route who would then go and gig at these tiny little dive bars with like 10 people you know this is Kevin Hart, rock star comedian and he would go late to 10 people, some of them are drunk and you know then they don't want to be there, they sort of like closing up, and he would do that. And you know Be right in front of the audience like face-to-face almost and get heckled, and he will try his luck. I'm going to try this line tonight, I want to try this skit tonight, and he'll do his thing, take that back, look at the data. So what worked, what didn't work, and then do it again next week, and just keep doing it and do it, and do it. And that's the agile part is that you need to keep refining your story, and what better way of doing that than guesting on other people's podcasts and just constantly evolving that and hearing it reflected back to you from somebody who's got an interest in this space. You know I don't think there's any better way to get up that learning curve and become a better podcast than to guest with other podcasters.

Eric Dickmann 38:03

You know we talk a lot in business about your elevator pitch or what is your brand story or some of your key messages, and you're absolutely right, the best way to instill those are really you know make those set into your psyche is to practice them. One of the things as a podcast host, I get the pleasure of sort of reviewing and editing you know every show that I'm on, and I use a tool called Descript which translates everything into a written word. So it's like looking at a Word document to edit it. So I get to see all my ums and ahs and stumbles and poor word choices and things like that. And the value of that is Yeah, you know you realize that maybe I need to go to speech therapy, but you also you know it's in the back of your mind when you start to speak, you learn to speak more clearly, and you learn to think about the words that you're using, and how they may come across, and that's the same sort of thing it's practice, right? getting the ability to practice and I think if I go back and look at some of those early podcasts, Oh you know they're probably terrible compared to hopefully where I am now, but that's just because I'm so much more aware of what I'm saying.

Graham Brown 39:16

Yeah, the awareness is really important, Isn't it? Almost, you know, being external to the moment. And be able to review is again, it's like anything really that's tough in life. Like for example, public speaking or singing, or playing an instrument. Again, you only get really good at it when you do it live, the moment of truth, where there's failure involved. Same as like learning a language. You can spend years, I used to teach English in Japan, for example. I would teach students who did 10 years of English at school, couldn't speak a word. And the reason is that they never faced the moment of truth. They never had gone into a store in a foreign country and ordered something and you know the ground opened up in front of them and they got swallowed by a hole, because they didn't know how to say bread or didn't know what that person said. And this the same with elevator pitches, is that the only way is to face the moment of truth. Any kind of public speaking, you just have to face live audiences. And that is the only way you can really get up the learning curve, you know? You could spend a lifetime otherwise, but you could do it in two years if you had a podcast.

Eric Dickmann 40:30

I couldn't agree more and that's probably a good place to bring our conversation to a close today. This is a topic that I could go on and on about cause I'm pretty passionate about it. As I can tell you are as well. But, you know, before we wrap up officially here today, I'd love it if you could just tell the audience a little bit more about you and where they could find you and your services on the web.

Graham Brown 40:53

Now, well, thanks for the opportunity Eric. I've really enjoyed this. You can find out about me, Graham Brown. If you go to my podcast company website, which is Piikkal. And you can see one behind me here. In Asia, we call those Pikkal like Google. So it's You can find out about storytelling, there's some guides there as well if you're interested for enterprise, really. You know, looking at how you can get started in podcast. You can download those guides for free as well. There's a market report if you're more interested in data, and you want a business case for podcast, and there's a free market report which gives you sort of a heads up on the key headlines statistics in podcasts today.

Eric Dickmann 41:35

Graham, that's great. I will make sure that we have all of that linked up in the show notes. It's really been an interesting conversation. I'm such a fan of podcasting. You've been at it much longer than I have, which I think is great. I really appreciate the value that you shared with the audience today. I think you've got some keen insights and I don't know about you, but I'm really excited about the year ahead. I think we're going to see some big announcements. I think that podcasting is really just in its infancy still. I think there are going to be some fantastic things that come along and if you get in now, I think you can ride that wave.

Graham Brown 42:07

Absolutely. This has been a lot of fun, Eric. Love the set up. It's a great job.

Eric Dickmann 42:13

Thank you for joining us on this episode of The Virtual CMO podcast. For more episodes, go to to subscribe through your podcast player of choice. And if you'd like to develop consistent lead flow and a highly effective marketing strategy, visit to learn more about our Virtual CMO consulting services.


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About The Author Graham Brown

Graham Brown is the founder of Podcast Guesting Pro. Graham is a published author on the subject of Digital Communication and Personal Branding (Amazon titles include "Brand Love: How to Build a Brand Worth Talking About" and "Mobile Youth: Voices of the Connected Generation). He has produced, project managed and guested on over 2,000 podcast episodes.