Expertise is not the same as authority. The difference is having that visibility and recognition in your target market. In this episode, Tracy Hazzard chats with Alastair McDermott about how you can increase your visibility to create a more authoritative podcast. Alastair is a marketing coach, consultant, and podcast host for The Recognized Authority. He also created a nine-episode series called The Specialization Podcast, where he shares tips and insights to help clients niche down their business. He explains how niching down and publishing content are key drivers for becoming a recognized authority in your industry. Tune in to learn the ways to achieve that status with implementable tips.
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Increase Your Visibility And Create A More Authoritative Podcast With Alastair McDermott of The Recognized Authority
I’m excited to bring you, Alastair McDermott. He is the host of The Recognized Authority and The Specialization Podcast. The Recognized Authority was formerly Marketing for Consultants. I love that he shifted his show and that there’s so much to talk about. Let me tell you a little bit about Alistair. Alastair McDermott helps invisible experts to remove their cloak of invisibility and become the recognized authority in their field, so they can have more impact and command higher fees. He is an author, consultant, and business coach who hosts The Recognized Authority podcast and The Specialization Podcast.
A lot of times, we don’t talk enough about specialization and niches. I can tell you from personal experience that you would have a dialed-in niche podcast. It works better. He and I are going to talk about all things, authority, and niches. I love that we are going to have this conversation and have the combination of the two because this is one of the ways you take your podcasts to that higher authoritative level. We are going to talk all about that. Let’s hear from Alastair McDermott.
Alastair, I’m thankful to have you here. The Recognized Authority, I love that title, and it wasn’t your first title. Your first title was Marketing for Consultants, and then you switched that to The Recognized Authority. What made you change your mind about the title?
I was drilling down. Marketing for Consultants is branding done by an engineer, which is how I did it. Marketing for Consultants was me saying, “This is roughly where I’m going. I’m not quite sure yet. I’m going to say this is what it is until I figure out which aspect of this I want to focus on.” I realized that the part that I was interested in was the building of authority through creating content, basically doing inbound marketing for experts. That’s what I wanted to do.
I played around with a lot of different ways of saying that. There are some other people out there with podcasts. There’s one called MicroFamous, and that’s an interesting way of saying the same thing, virtually famous. There are lots of different ways you can talk about being a thought leader, where you can talk about being an authority, which you are similar but ever so slightly different.
I think about thought leaders but when I was looking at that, I was thinking, “The Recognized Authority, I’m interested in the recognition part in the visibility and the marketing side of that. A thought leader is more about developing the thinking, and it’s less about the marketing side. Even though it’s the same thing, there ever slightly nuanced. There’s a bit of difference there, so I decided The Recognize Authority was the way I wanted to go. That was why I picked it.
It’s interesting because you talk a bit about invisible experts, and that’s where so many people find themselves. I tell the story that I was a ghost designer, which is an unusual thing like a ghostwriter but I was a ghost designer of products. Until I started my show, nobody knew who I was. It is that thing that recognized a portion of it. You can have authority in a digital sense but until that’s recognized by your industry or niche, it’s not helpful for you.
It’s not authority if nobody knows that you are great at what you do. What you are is you are an expert, and nobody can take the expertise part away from you but unless you start to show and demonstrate that you are an expert and become known as an authority, that’s what it’s all about becoming known. It’s demonstrating and showing. What we are doing by creating podcasts like this one is we are showing that we know what we talk about. We are teaching people about what we know. We are demonstrating that we can do what we say we can do.
It’s so important that we look at this from a content perspective, and that’s why I loved how you framed up what your show is about. The content perspective gives us the digital authority because we have to have digital authority and real authority, we can command our subject matter. We have to have both because there are so many bots. There are many stakeholders that control the access to people that are all not real people. They are all search engines. Content is such a critical part of that.
I see content fitting into the journey. I think of this as a journey to authority that people go along. There are certain kinds of inflection points along the way. I will take you through these four stages that I see. First off, everybody starts out as a novice. At this point, you may be smart but you are not very experienced. You need to get experience to move on to the next stage. People follow a broad winding path to get experience in different things. Figure out what they like to do, what they are good at, and start to develop a point of view and all of those different types of things that you do.
The next step there is being this invisible expert, and I call it a generalist because, at that point, a lot of people do a lot of different things for different types of clients. They are not specialized at that point. In fact, most consultants, about 95%, stop there. They don’t want to go on the next step, which is to specialize. You can have a successful business if you stop at that invisible expert stage. The way that you get your business and do business development is you network. You get most of your business from word of mouth and referrals.
If you want to the next stage, which is the path to authority, what you need to do is if you go to the phrase, “The recognized authority,” in your field, you have to choose your field or niche down. The problem with this is niching down is terrifying because what you are doing is you are choosing one thing and saying no to everything else. You are turning away an opportunity to say a bigger yes to this tiny subset of that opportunity.
It’s difficult to do that. Some people stumble into specialization, maybe along their career path. Some people will find it that way, and it won’t be difficult for them to do but for other people who have to make a conscious specialization decision, it’s difficult. Our little crocodile reptile brain is holding us back. It’s terrifying.
It’s stopping us from niching down.
It's not authority if nobody knows that you're great at what you do. Click To Tweet
It’s pressing all these fight or flight buttons. It’s saying, “Don’t do this. This is wrong.”
“You might have less business.” That’s what it’s freaking you out about.
There’s the old joke, “Double my prices? I would lose half my clients.” Niching down and losing some of your clients sometimes is a good idea. Having less lines or a smaller target market and being a more desirable option to that market. That’s what we are talking about because what you can do is you can then start to build your authority and credibility in that niche area. That’s the hard thing.
You can look at the process of specialization. There’s a lot of logical stuff you can do to audit your client listen to all this stuff to figure out your specialization but the real decision that you have to make is you have to push through the fear that’s associated with that but if you can do that, when you get to the other side, you can become an authority. That’s when a lot of other things open up to you.
That’s why I’m interested in this whole problem area to continue on the four pieces we got novice, and then we have this generalist invisible experts. You can go through the specialization step and then become a specialist. At that point, you are a specialist but you don’t have much visibility. The next thing to do is start to build that visibility by publishing. That’s much easier to do because you’ve got a focus area. You have a specialized area to publish and create content around. That’s the part that interests me.
When you say publishing, you are not just talking about putting out a podcast, and you are talking about publishing in all realms of content.
You can try and be everywhere. You can put content everywhere. People do eventually get to that stage. You will see that there are authorities that are there on every single social network. They usually have a team behind them, even if they’ve got a personal brand. I suggest that people start out small. I started out posting on one primary social network and then maybe have a primary and a secondary. We’ve got things that are a bit longer form like podcasts, and then we have things that are short-form like social media posts, 500-word LinkedIn posts, for example. You can mix up those.
Also, a really short TikTok. We recommend the same thing. We are aligned here because getting used to the social media platform and using it to its advantage is difficult if you are trying to do all things to all people in all formats on all channels without a full team. You can do it easier with a team but even still, you have to have a large enough team because you end up specializing there as well. LinkedIn is very different from TikTok.
One of the things that I find is that there are all sorts of options. When you look at all of the different options when it comes to creating content, we have long-form and short-form. There’s another form I would call, which is your signature content. That’s, if you create a book or something like that, it could be a documentary or a feature film but something that is years’ worth of work. For the most part, on social media, we are posting long-form and short-form content of various different types, and all the lines are blurred as well but there are so many different options when it comes to that. We’ve got, “Is it audio? Is it a video? Is it text? Is it graphics? Do we go live, publish or edit?”
There are too many choices.
There are so many choices. How do you boil it all down? People should start simple. If you are spinning plates, start with one plate, then with the second. Don’t try and start with ten.
I recommend that people start with the platform where they think their specialized customers or their best customers are. Many people start with the platform that they feel most comfortable with. That’s their platform.
It’s an interesting one because if you start where you are comfortable, you are probably going to be able to create more content there. You are probably going to be more comfortable doing it. There are plenty of CEOs on Facebook and TikTok. If CEOs happen to be your target market, everybody is everywhere. You could choose pretty much any platform and start there. Probably it is better to start where you think there’s going to be a higher concentration of them.
For me, I don’t like Facebook. I don’t like using Facebook. I don’t like the ethics of the company. I don’t hang around personally on Facebook. I don’t use it much. I wasn’t much into LinkedIn but I’ve started using it more. I like the fact that there’s less religion and politics there than in other places. There’s probably a bit less angst, and it’s not as fraught. I like that part.
They’ve done a better job of fending it off because their advertising is so much more expensive than the other platforms. They’ve prevented that grouping of people that come in and ruin the platform or those companies that come in and inundate it with ads and content, and it doesn’t have good intentions, so it helps.
It also is seen as a little bit more boring. It’s seen as the workplace. I’ve seen people giving out of my people’s posting personal stuff up there and what’s appropriate and not appropriate but it’s a good platform, particularly if you are targeting any business people. For me, it’s my primary. It’s interesting where a podcast fits in the mix because it’s not a social platform but this content that you are creating, and it’s got its own distribution system. You still have to advertise it in other places, so it’s interesting. I’m trying to categorize. You can tell I’m a software engineer, I’m trying to put everything in its correct box but the problem is all the lines are blurred.
I look at podcasting as the vehicle. It’s like video. Video is the vehicle. Where are you going to park it? What road are you going to drive it on? Where are you going to use that vehicle? That’s how I look at podcasting. I don’t see it as the end. I see it as the start.
I’m a huge fan of podcasts. I’ve listened to podcasts since 2004. Back home, I had to copy MP3 files over a USB connection onto my creatives end. There are some people out there who haven’t got a clue what that is.
That’s old school. I’m going to tell you that. That is even before me. If it was that much work, I had never would have done it.
It’s like trying to get podcasts onto vinyl or something.
Although we are going on that trend, My thirteen-year-old got a record player for her birthday. That was what she wanted. She has a bunch of ’80s albums because I’m an ’80s mom. She has a bunch of Beatles albums. She’s going old school. We are going back to classics again. We will get there. Maybe we will have our podcasts on vinyl. Who knows?
It’s interesting. I want to talk some more about specialization because you talk about that frequently on your show. It’s important that people start to understand what that means because it is a decision to specialize or niche down but you come from the engineering world. It’s even more important there where you see the value of specialization because you can truly become an expert at something and create innovation. You can create more by specializing in the engineering and design world because that’s where I come from too.
It’s interesting because my clients are professional services people. They are typically independent consultants of some type. I started in the world of software engineering and got into search engine optimization and web design. As I was doing web design, I had more of a consulting focus business. When I would be working with my clients, what I found was a lot of the website and marketing problems that they came to me with were business problems.
I started to veer into the world of management consulting and got into working with people on their business. It became a big part of what I was doing. I have this connection with people who do management consulting, so I’m interested in what they do. In the world of professional services, management consulting is very interesting when you compare it to doctors and lawyers. Doctors and lawyers are both professions that have embraced specialization, whereas, in the world of consulting, they are much more general.
It’s interesting to look at that split because it’s totally the opposite when you get into those other professional services. Smart people genuinely can solve all of these different problems for different types of organizations. When you start to get into specialization and niche down, if you can get past the initial resistance that you will have to it, what you find is that you start to develop much deeper expertise in what you are doing because you are facing the same problems from the same types of clients over and over again.
You start to be able to do a cold read, as down from start calls it, where you meet somebody, and you already know what the problem that they have is from the very basic information they’ve given you. You can read the problem, diagnose it, and prescribe a solution even without talking mostly about it because you are so expert at that point. You only get to that point if you are working over and over on the same problems and got this pattern matching that happens, which as humans, we are very good at pattern matching.
There are so many patterns to podcast failure. There are people who don’t succeed in their podcasts, usually, they podfaded. They quit their show before 25 episodes. We saw so many patterns going on there, and we were plugging those holes so successfully with our own clients to doing the reverse. We ended up with less than a 7% podfade rate in a world that’s 73% or 75% podfade rate or more.
We were looking at that and were like, “What are we doing that’s so different?” You are so right that the idea is to look at its patterns of it. We developed a couple of algorithms that allowed us to quickly assess something from their feed. We can tell from their podcast feed alone whether or not they are going to fail or succeed without intervention. If they get intervention, they are going to be fine but without intervention and kept along as it is, they are likely to quit. All the indicators are there without ever knowing because you can’t tell from the feed how their numbers are.
If you start where you're comfortable, you're probably going to be able to create more content there. Click To Tweet
Without even knowing their numbers, we can tell whether or not they will fail or succeed from the feed. People are astounded by the fact that we can tell that. We can look at something, and I will go, “You probably have less than 1,000 listeners a month.” They will be like, “How did you know?” “You don’t know that you are projecting it but you are.” Isn’t that interesting how those patterns can emerge, though? This is so true. When someone specializes, they see and can diagnose faster like a doctor. They know exactly where the risk lies as a lawyer.
When you are out there as a management consultant, the hardest part about that is that you don’t know what to say to the person you are about to pitch until they start talking and go through that. By the time you are done, you’ve put in a lot of time nurturing your sales because you have to and don’t know where to take them.
You don’t have a body of work, which is the other interesting thing that happens when you start to publish. You don’t have a body of work to lean on, to demonstrate, and to do that sales pitch for you before you even get on the phone or have a meeting with them. That’s a huge advantage as well of doing all of this publishing on this focused area, this consistent focus publishing that you do after you specialize your niche down. All of that content is relevant to that ideal client.
They can binge read or binge consume your content. I’ve had clients come to me for coaching where I said, “I want to tell you what I think about the journey to authority,” it’s one of the things I talk about. They said, “No, it’s fine. I’ve listened to 65 episodes of your podcasts. I know what you are talking about.” I was like, “We can move on to the next step then.”
The sales close is faster. We have the same thing.
It’s not even a sales pitch. It’s, “How much is it, and how do I pay you?”
“How do I start working with you?”
Particularly, for people who are maybe introverted or don’t like doing sales, that is a game-changer. That is massive. I’m not particularly great at doing sales. I’m more of an introvert. I may not come across that way but I’m a natural introvert.
There are a lot of podcasting introverts. I’m not one of them but I’ve met a lot of them.
For me, what that does for my sales process, is it makes those sales meetings so much easier. There are people who are brilliant at naturally selling. I’m not great at selling myself, and I don’t want to be pushy, so I tend to air on the other side. I’m not salesy enough, as some people call it but that’s what the content and all of this allows you to do.
The other huge thing is you are not learning on every single project when you are specialized because that’s typically what you are doing. If you are a generalist, every single project is different. What happens is you are learning on every project. It’s less profitable. It’s more time-consuming. It eases more of your own personal energy. Everything becomes easier when you are specialized, even if you don’t build your authority, which is interesting.
That is very true. I love that you talked about that. Let’s talk about some publishing best practices because you are talking about publishing as your final stage of becoming a recognized authority. What does publishing mean to you?
Publishing, for me, is creating any content that is relevant to your ideal target market and helping them with the problem that they have, and putting it out into the world. That could be the different formats we talked about like the short form, long-form, or some signature format like a book. It could be audio, video, text, graphics, a webinar or some regular office hours that you do. There are loads of different ways to do it.
Do you have some best practices or rules that you abide by?
Yes. Start simple. There are a lot of parallels between building authority content and going to the gym, and doing some exercise routine. I had a back injury from playing sports. I went to a personal trainer, and for the first three months, we did stretches and some very easy machines. It was only after three months that we moved on to using some of the dumbbells, barbells, and things. Now, a few years later, I’m doing deadlifts, squats, and all sorts of things. He never would have allowed me to do it several months ago.
You would be re-injured and unable to pay him again.
This is what it’s like when you are starting to create content because it’s not a natural thing. Particularly, if you haven’t been writing and producing content a lot, it’s hard at the start. There are a lot of different things that go into it, so start small. Start publishing one post to LinkedIn every week. Start thinking about, “If I was to make a podcast, what would it be about? Who would be on it? Would I interview people? Would I do it solo?” Start to think about that and plan that. Start adding bits to the mix. Start adding a bit more each time and then creating some longer-form content like a podcast or YouTube channel but start small.
I found it so interesting. You said something, and I don’t know whether it was in your very first episode when you started talking about the show because I listened to quite a few episodes. That’s my model here, as you know. You talked about wanting to not have invisible experts but you want to have invisible marketing. You aspire to have invisible marketing, which is probably the same thing as not wanting to have a pressure sales process. You don’t want to have a hefty marketing process, and that’s the beautiful thing about authority. That does create that invisible marketing arm that you don’t feel like you are working hard to market.
For me, it’s not marketing. It is, but it’s not. It’s teaching and learning. That’s what you are doing. I wrote a LinkedIn post, and it was about 500 words. It was near the character count for whatever that was. It took me ten minutes to write it but I was thinking about it. I knew that there was a particular topic that I wanted to address but it was very easy for me to write it.
I wouldn’t have been able to write it in ten minutes a year ago. It would take me a lot longer because, again, that’s one of those muscles that builds over time. You get more used to what you are doing. The writing of that LinkedIn post, for me, was teaching something I was thinking about but it was also learning because I was also formulating my thinking as I was writing it.
That’s the part that gets interesting because it’s making those neurons connect to each other in our brains. As we explain things to other people, particularly through writing, for some reason, it tends to reinforce it for us and make those connections. What you are doing instead of marketing is you are learning more about what you are doing and teaching it to other people.
You are figuring out how to format it so that someone else can learn from it. That in and of itself is creating a better sales process and marketing messaging. All of those things are happening naturally in the content creation process.
I love that aspect of it. For me, that is not logging into Facebook Ad Manager. That’s not trying to make Google AdWords work for your business. It’s writing about something that you love and trying to help people that you like working with.
You took your podcast episodes on Specialization and created a nine-episode series. What made you want to do that?
It’s very simple. I didn’t have time to write a book.
You used your podcast. I love that.
What I did was I wrote an outline for a book about specialization. I have been trying to guest on more podcasts because a good way to grow my podcast is to guest on other people’s podcasts. What I did was I took the outline that I had for the book, and it was eight chapters. I created a new podcast called The Specialization Podcast because what I wanted to do was, in part, I wanted to have something out in the world that associated me with the process of specialization. I knew that I didn’t have time to go and publish a book on it. I figured, “If I record this as a podcast and put it out as an Evergreen Podcast with these eight episodes, it will probably going to add maybe 1 episode every quarter or 11 episodes to it.
You did. That’s why there are nine. You added one of your guests that you had on that talked about specializations specifically.
When you start to get into specialization and niche down, you start to develop much deeper expertise in what you're doing. Click To Tweet
It’s this Evergreen course that’s sitting out there. The first person I saw do it was Seth Godin. He had startup school and put it up in 2011 or 2012. It was the recordings of a workshop that he did but it is sitting out there generating leads for him and he hasn’t updated it in several years since then. He hasn’t touched it. He just left it up there.
It’s generating leads for him all the time. I thought that was genius, so I wanted to do the same. I also wanted to have something where if you were introducing me on the podcast, you will say, “This is Alastair, host of The Recognized Authority and The Specialization Podcast because I wanted to get that specialization bit in there.
Some people would be introduced by the book name, “Author of The Specialization book,” or whatever it is. I wanted to have the idea that I would be associated with the concept of specialization. This, for me, was an easy way to do it. I took the outline of the book. I drilled down a little bit further and went a bit more granular on the points. I turned on my camera and recorded it as video as well. I spoke to each point and as an outline, and then I talked and taled it. I took them all. I did each one in a single take and if I messed it up, what I do is I deleted it and started again but it took me about a day to do that.
This is one to read to all of you out there because if you want to understand what Alastair is talking about in terms of specialization on what it means to niche down, this is the podcast to listen to. It’s eight episodes, easy for you to take and consume, and understand what that means, especially if you are afraid. If that whole idea of niching down scared the heck out of you, then go listen to this, and you will start to understand more and see where the value impact is. That’s what drives that back. I bet you anything as that goes more, as you get more exposure to that. This is where you are going to get more client leads. They are going to come from this.
I hope so. I also want it to be there because I know how hard that specialization process is. I would love for people to go through it, help them, never have to contact me and be able to do it based on that. That would be awesome too. It’s great to have something like that out in the world.
Let’s talk about our three things because that’s what we always do on the show. I want to do that before we end here. Getting great guests. You have some interesting guests, and they are not the guests that have been on every show around there. That’s probably because you have a region that’s new to me. I’m from California. I don’t necessarily get to hear the people who you’re connecting with, which is amazing. How do you find those great guests, and how do you vet them to make sure that they are right for your show?
What I do is I try and connect with interesting people on LinkedIn. I look for who they are talking to and commenting on. I look for people who look like they could be interesting guests. Some of my guests are well known. I had Alan Weiss, who’s written 65 books in the world of consulting. He is super well-known in that world and also has a polarizing character. He’s very interesting. I had David C Baker, who wrote The Business of Expertise. Chris Do, Marcus Sheridan, Mark Schaefer, Rochelle Moulton. I have had some high-profile people in the world of consulting but then I had people, and it’s literally the first podcast they have ever been on.
I found a guy whose interesting character is Norbert Schwarz. This might be interesting for you. He’s a Provost Professor, which is a Professor of two fields in Marketing and Psychology. He did a study with his colleague where they took audio, degraded the quality, and tested whether the degraded quality impacted how people thought of the people who were speaking. They did the same with video. What they found was that if you have better audio or video, people would see you as smarter, more likable and that your work was more important. Who wouldn’t want to do that?
Let’s not put out copy sound, everyone, as we are doing our podcasts.
We both have put a lot of work into our video and audio here.
We were talking about it before because of our cameras.
It’s something we care about. Everybody reading this and thinking about doing a podcast should be thinking about this. It’s more important probably than you think. Everybody says, “You got to start.” There is a part to that. You do have to start but spend $100 on a decent microphone. Don’t use your iPhone or something like that. It’s not a huge amount.
It’s going to make a huge difference.
Anyway, I found him because I heard of this study through another podcast that I listened to but they haven’t interviewed him. I said, “I’m going to go and interview this guy.” I find good guests by looking through LinkedIn.
It sounds to me like you are finding them because you are interested. You are interested in having that conversation which is great. One of the best ways to keep yourself energized and going on your podcast is to be interested in yourself.
You can probably tell but I love this stuff. I find it interesting so that helps. I try and keep a gender balance on the podcast as well. I will try and keep it as close to 50/50 as I can. It’s not always easy. Sometimes I will have a run of male guests, and then sometimes, I will counterbalance that with a run of female guests, trying to keep that 50/50-ish and make sure I don’t end up being one of those mammals.
You are doing a good job because I heard some great women on your show as well as the men. All of us run into that problem. I usually end up with batches too, because I will sometimes go speak at a women’s event and then I will end up with a bunch of women who booked on my calendar at once. It happens like that to all of us. Let’s talk about listeners because the listeners’ side is the hardest thing. You said you are reaching out to more podcasts to be on because you would like to increase your listener base. Is there anything that you found that works for you and start to see spikes of listeners?
No, because I haven’t looked at the stats too closely.
You are one of those. I love it. You are Zen about your stats.
I’m trusting the process. By the way, there’s something important here, and maybe you will agree or disagree with me on this one but the people who listen to a lot of podcasts make better podcasters.
They do too and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve interviewed on this show who don’t listen to podcasts at all. I can tell the difference in the content. It’s not the sound of it or the format like people always think, “I must be following a show format model if I listened to a lot of podcasts.” It’s not that at all. The direction of the content is so much more listener-focused, and you can tell.
That’s interesting. I didn’t know what it was but I do have a pretty singular focus on trying to make it as good as possible for the listener. That’s what I do for growth. I try and make it as good for the listener as possible. I figured if I focused on them, then the rest should follow. That’s not always the case but it should follow. I am getting on more podcasts. It is tough to reach out. I don’t want to use one of those numbers game guesting services. It’s asking individual people but it started to work. The numbers are okay at the moment. What’s your guess for downloads before I tell you the numbers?
For your number of downloads, you’ve got to be in the thousands by now. It doesn’t make sense that you wouldn’t be because of the number of episodes you have and the quality of the content. It’s a good niche area. People are interested in learning more about it. It’s a searchable area. There are a couple of little things that you can do to improve it but we can always talk about that at any time.
You are right. It’s at around 3,000 downloads a month now. I’ve published episode 72, and it’s over a year since I started. I launched with eight episodes, and then every so often, probably once a quarter, I’ve added an extra bonus episode. It’s at about 72 or so now. I’m happy enough with that because it’s quite targeted. It’s the people who are listening.
It’s very targeted, and that’s why it works. I have a couple of clients whose shows never come out and never exceed 5,000 a month. They are okay with that. I have even some who never exceed a thousand months, and they get more business from that than they know what to do with. It depends on where you are and what your client follow-through is on that like, “Are they reaching out to you? Do they feel like you are accessible?” Let’s talk about monetization. What is your monetization strategy and plan for the show? Is it to create the content and let everything else in your business do it or do you want to have money made directly from the show?
This leads back to the singular focus. I hate listening to podcasts where there are eight minutes of sponsored stuff at the start. I get it. I understand them. Having sponsors pay your mortgage, I can imagine is nice but for some shows that, I will click the forward button in overcast. I will click that six times because it will skip to the end of the sponsor readouts.
Maybe I will change my mind but I made a decision a while back that I wasn’t going to have sponsors that it was going to be a promotion of the guest and what they do, and then of my own stuff. I would promote my own stuff with a call to action at the start and end. Some of the things that I promote in those CTAs are free content for people but that’s what it is. I monetize through coaching services. I do one-on-one coaching, and I’ve started a group program as well.
That’s a good choice for your show that it would lose something in its service. In losing something and getting too over-advertised, even with your own promos. I’ve seen people who take it way too far. Even with that, you’ve got a good balance between letting people know what you do and making sure that you are being so listener-focused. It’s the driver.
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Let’s talk about your Binge Factor real quick. I’m listening to your show and what I found is that the waves of impact that you are creating on your show are so interesting because you decided to specialize. I love that you’ve niched down your own show. By shifting it to The Recognized Authority, I can almost watch the process of your content getting more and more specialized and refined as you go forward.
When I can see what you do in action, I know that you are going to be a good coach, a good consultant, and good to work with because I can see that process happening. You are willing to say, “It doesn’t have to be one way,” and that says, “I’m shifting with what’s going on in the world, in my business, and what’s right for my listener and my potential client.”
I hadn’t thought about the fact that I specialized in my own show but I did. I did tighten up the focus. I was thinking of it more as rebranding because that’s what I did, that’s the mechanics of it.
Some people rebrand to rebrand. They throw out the old and bring in the new but you are not doing that. You are refining as you rebrand, which is personally that is the way that you should rebrand. If you hire a branding expert and they take out and throw everything away, they are leaving their mark, style, and viewpoint onto you. They aren’t learning anything about from where you are. Refinement and rebranding are not done often enough.
It worked for me. The graphics and all that are important but it’s the message and the focus that’s what it’s about. I’m happy with how that worked out.
As you are moving forward, where do you see improvements? What are you going to be working harder on coming up in the next six months? What are you going to double down on because it’s working for you?
We may touch on workflow because it will be interesting to see.
Let’s talk about that.
I have a pretty good workflow.
You are going to double down on your workflow. I love it.
I will connect and schedule with the guests, and all of that process is automated once I send them the invite. I have a Stream Deck that I can click a button, and it will paste in the invitation and the FAQ for the guests and then where they can schedule. That process is not quite automated but as close to being automated as you can get. They will schedule, and we will turn up and record it.
From there, I don’t have to do anything until it’s ready from the editor. All I have to do is have a meeting with my assistant. We call it the podcast production meeting, and what we do is I will write the show notes. We will get the guest intake form. We will use that to create the title. The title-making used to take ten minutes to do. We have the guests supply it most of the time unless we want to rewrite it but mostly, it will be suggested by the guest.
The show notes themselves probably take me about 35 minutes to write. I will be looking through the transcript of the interview and looking for what was important or what stood out. I will pick two quotes as well. I will give the show notes. I have a template for those. I will give that to my assistant, and she will take that. She will take the two quotes and do all the graphics and everything, and that’s it. For a 45-minute interview, I have one hour call with the guest. The production process takes me probably under another hour. It probably takes me two hours for every episode. I’m pretty happy with how that goes.
That’s pretty good. If it’s a one-hour show and it takes you twice as long instead of four times as long, you are doing well. That is a good workflow and a good process.
The other thing is I have ten episodes in the can ready to go and another six scheduled. I’m scheduled right up to November 2022. I’ve got plenty. I was thinking about switching to two a week but it will be hard to pull back from that if I wanted to. I’m going to stick with once a week but what I might do is record some more solo episodes and stick them in there.
Do these little bonuses now and again.
One of the things about authority is it’s interesting. It depends on how you approach it but when you were interviewing a guest, typically, you are showcasing their expertise. Sometimes you will have a back-and-forth conversation. In particular, you do that a lot on the show as you showcase your own expertise as a host but depending on the guests. For example, I had Alan Weiss, he wrote 65 books. He’s not going to have a back-and-forth conversation with them.
It’s going to be very one-sided and deservedly so.
I’m okay with that. I have huge respect for his knowledge and his body of work. He’s done and written so much. Other guests will be willing to have a more conversational back and forth. I would like to move to have more of those conversations because it’s my podcast. I don’t want my listeners to see me as an authority as well. Particularly new listeners who haven’t listened to me before. If they are meeting me for the first time, I don’t want it to be me worshiping at the altar of the guest.
The reality is there is this audience perception that’s going on, which always says, “Whoever the host of the show is, they are an authority.” There’s this recognition of the person asking questions is always at a higher authority level than the guest because you get to choose who comes on your show. That is in and of itself a power position. I always love that. It’s like Oprah Winfrey interviewed hundreds of celebrities who had more celebrity than her but she had way more power and in the end more money.
Let’s look realistically at what that means for us as the host. It’s okay to be a host but your audience listens to you. They love you, your viewpoint, what you bring to the show, and how you ask questions or they wouldn’t follow you. There’s a reason they are there for you. Have a show where you can drop in and say, “Here’s what I learned, and here’s how I applied this.” That’s a powerful episode that they are going to not skip.
I have been thinking about doing that as an out-of-sequence episode as a bonus because my podcast typically drops on a Monday morning, 6:01 AM Irish Time. That will be 1:00 AM for East Coast, and it’s probably the day before for you.
The day before, it’s still nighttime.
I want it to be on people’s players in the morning. In fact, I have a regular listener in Barcelona and he listens to me first thing on a Monday morning on his drive. He has told me. I’ve had him on the show, Joe Jacobi. He’s an Olympic gold medalist of all things. This is the other thing about having a podcast. You get to talk to interesting people but Joe is listening to the podcast first thing on a Monday morning. I want to make sure I have it there for him. I will not miss it. For Joe, it’s there.
When you do know your listeners’ names or you have a sense of them, that changes the show dynamic. That’s such a turning point in your show when you finally are like, “My listeners are reaching out to me, and now I know their names,” because I would start to see their faces or hear their names in my head and think, “I’m talking to Joe. I’m talking to Jennifer.”
It was cool as well. I started a coaching group for the first time. Prior to that, I was working a lot one-on-one with people but it’s interesting because now I have several people on the same call, and they are all listening to my podcast separately. The dynamic was there. I could see that they all had listened to the show, and there’s something that you get from that.
As a podcaster, you can go through the dip where you start to feel, “Is this working? I’m putting a lot of stuff out into the world. I’m not getting much of responses. Are these downloads really people actually listening or is it bots or something?” When you start to get that feedback, it gives you energy and lifts. That’s important.
I was thinking about this as our final question here before we go. You have been talking about your coaching business. What did you end up specializing in? Where is your specialty and your niche in your management consulting?
The graphics and all that are important, but it's the message and the focus that's what it's about. Click To Tweet
First off, I had this generalist website agency called Website Doctor.
Which made sense back in the day.
In fact, I still love that brand. The business still runs, and I’ve got hosting and maintenance clients and stuff. It helped to fund the mission for my podcast, which is great but it was the generic generalist. I was all things to all comers. I had so many different types of clients. What was happening was all of the content I was creating was terribly bland. It was boring and didn’t apply to anybody because I tried to make it work for everybody.
That was when I started to niche down and specialize. That was when I picked, “I want to focus on people like me, who I saw as independent consultants and I do want to focus on this marketing part.” That’s where the marketing for consultants came from. It was me focusing on that part. As I niche down further, it became helping those independent consultants to become a recognized authority. That’s where it niched down to. That’s specifically what I help people with. Number one is the specialization stage, which a lot of people need help with.
They need to figure that out for themselves.
The second stage is the publishing part. The interesting thing about authority publishing and authority content is there are so many different factors involved but some people need help with that. What the put the group I have now is focused on it is authority publishing. That’s what we are working on.
Alastair, you have brought a great podcast into the world. I’m so glad and grateful that you are doing that. I’m glad that you reached out to me on LinkedIn because that’s how we met. I’m glad that you did because this has been so much fun and such great learning for me to listen to your show. All of you out there, this is what I always say, if I can learn something from the show and you are looking at me as an authority, now you need to transfer that interest over to Alastair and listen to The Recognized Authority and check out the show and listen for yourself. There are so many things that you can learn from many diverse views on building authority in podcasting and publishing in general.
I love it. Thank you, Tracy.
I enjoyed the conversation so much. I love talking to someone with that mindset that Alastair has. Thinking about that niching down process and as you want to come out from being invisible. I joke about this but I was a ghost designer before I started my show. It’s not a joke. It’s exactly what I was like. If you are being hidden in the marketplace, you are a hidden expert. That’s not a place to be.
That’s not getting the message out to those that need you. That’s the one thing we didn’t quite say here but that’s what encompasses everything that Alastair is doing. When we look at all of this and think about where we want to play in the marketplace, it’s not about us being out there and the experts. That’s important but that’s for us.
There are so many people out there looking for you and can’t find you because you didn’t do a good job of your digital marketing and digital footprint of creating that authority digitally. The search engines aren’t serving you up and you aren’t doing a good job of creating that social proof and that authority association that happens from guessing on shows, doing your own podcasts, having your own content, and having this authority platform underneath you.
Specializing down so that they know that when they need you for this, they can find you. That’s where Alastair is narrowing refinement of everything that he’s done, and the way that he coaches his clients is brilliant. You need to listen to the show. It’s fantastic. The Recognized Authority, don’t forget to go out there and subscribe. Take a listen.
Come to the blog post for this episode at TheBingeFactor.com, where you will be able to find and connect to everything Alastair McDermott works on. Thanks, everyone, for reading. I’m so glad you were here to read this conversation and a great way for me to learn some more and network with other people. You are coming along the ride with me. Wouldn’t it be great for you if you were able to do that regularly? Thanks, everyone. I will be back with another episode authority figure and a bingeable podcaster.
- The Recognized Authority
- The Specialization Podcast
- Alan Weiss – The Recognized Authority Past Episode
- David C Baker – The Recognized Authority Past Episode
- The Business of Expertise
- Mark Schaefer – The Recognized Authority Past Episode
- Chris Do – The Recognized Authority Past Episode
- Marcus Sheridan – The Recognized Authority Past Episode
- Rochelle Moulton – The Recognized Authority Past Episode
- Episode 72 – The Recognized Authority Past Episode
- Stream Deck
- Joe Jacobi – The Recognized Authority Past Episode
- Website Doctor
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