In this episode Josh speaks with Tom Schwab, Chief Evangelist Officer for Interview Valet, which provides guests for podcasts. They discuss podcasts and how they benefit both the guests and the host.
In this noisy digital world, you can’t break through the noise, you just add to it. Instead, you need to get in on the conversation where your ideal
customers are already listening.
As a Navy veteran who ran nuclear power plants, and an inbound marketing engineer, Tom Schwab has a refreshingly unique approach. He focuses on time-proven strategy, then supercharges it with today’s technology and podcast interview marketing. An author, speaker, and teacher, Tom helps you get more traffics, leads, and raving customer fans by being interviewed on targeted podcasts.
In today’s episode you will learn:
- Why Podcast Interview Marketing is the next gold rush
- How obscurity holds back every business
- Why podcast interviews convert 25 times better than blogs
- The reason trying to break through the noise is only making you hoarse and diluting your message
Narrator: Welcome to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where you’ll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You’ll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when emergency strikes, fully fund the growth program, and fund your retirement program. When you do this, you will have a sale‑ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want, in the way you want.
In Cracking the Cash Flow Code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning, and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.
Josh Patrick: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. And you’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code.
And, today, my guest today is Tom Schwab. And I am so excited to have Tom on the show. Tom is the owner of the Interview Valet. And I met him at a podcast convention two, maybe three years ago. He probably doesn’t remember our conversations but it was one of the few bright spots I have for an old guy who was at his show with, I think, like the average age was 23 or something like that. At any rate, it was great. A lot of having fun talking to Tom while I was there. And he reached out and asked to be on the podcast, a couple of weeks ago, I could not resist, so I’m having him on.
But before I bring Tom on, because I keep forgetting to do this, please, please, please, please, after you listen to this show, whether you like it or you hate it, please go to wherever you listen to your podcast and leave an honest rating and review. It’s really important for us. And that helps us a lot. So, let’s bring Tom on and start the show and we’ll get going.
Hey, Tom, how are you today?
Tom: Josh, I am doing wonderful. And when you said an old guy at the meetings there, I think you must have been talking about me because I have more gray hair than you do.
Josh: Yeah, but I don’t have hair, so that doesn’t count.
Tom: I think that’s the testament to podcasting, right, because it doesn’t matter if you’re young, if you’re old. You know, this is one of the mediums just– you know, I know some people are watching on video now. But, when you listen on a podcast, it’s a non‑discriminatory medium. Sometimes you can’t tell how old they are, how young they are. And people really are just listening for the content.
Josh: I’d like to say, you know, I have a face for radio so– so, we could go on with this silliness all show but let’s add some value for our listeners.
Tom, tell me something and you really are an expert on podcasts. I’m assuming you were one of the first booking agencies for podcasts that existed, if I’m not mistaken.
Tom: I believe we were the second one. But we really focused more on the marketing side, right? People say, you know, “Can you help me get on a podcast?” There’s a million podcasts out there. You don’t need help getting on a podcast. What most people want is help getting on a podcast and helping them grow their brand and their business. But yeah, we started back in 2015.
Josh: Yeah, so you’ve been at this a while. So, tell me something, if you were to advise somebody today and they only had a choice of doing one or two, they could either do their own podcast or they could work as becoming a guest on a podcast, what would you advise them to do?
Tom: Well, first of all, I would ask them what their goal is for it. It’s almost like Uber, right? Uber is a great platform but people will say, “Should I be a driver or a passenger?” Well, what’s your goal, you know? And it’s the same way in podcasting.
So, if your goal is to go out there and get new leads, new followers, new social media links, well, definitely go out and be a guest, right? That’s going out into different ponds and fishing. If you want to nurture your current leads, your current customers, then be a podcast host. I don’t think it’s an either/or. I think often it works best as a both.
But, personally, I’ve been on over 1200 podcast interviews and I haven’t launched my own podcast yet. And people ask, “Well, why?” And I’m like, “Because it’s hard work.” Anybody that says doing a podcast is easy has either never done it or never done it well. You know, there’s a lot of work. And the great ones just make it look easy.
And, to me, being a guest is so much easier. It’s leveraging someone else’s platform. All you really have to do is show up and answer the questions. Now granted, you should also promote it. But being a guest is a whole lot more in my mind powerful.
Josh: Yeah, I think being the guest is more powerful. You know, when you’re doing your own podcast, you’re speaking to your tribe. And your tribe already knows what you’re about or the vast majority of your tribe already knows what you’re about.
But when you get a chance to go on someone else’s podcast, you get to introduce yourself to a whole host of people who probably have never heard of you before. At least that’s been my experience. I think I’ve only been on probably 100 or 125 podcasts but it’s still a fair amount. And I love guesting. And I love hosting.
And as I told, before we started, one of the great things about hosting a podcast, at least for me, is I get to speak to lots of people who I would never, ever have the opportunity to speak with. And, as a podcast host, you get to do that because people tend to come on. It’s rare someone says, “No. I’m not interested in being on your podcast.”
Tom: And if they are, it’s probably more of a timing issue than not wanting to have that conversation with you.
And there’s a lot in marketing now where they say, “You’re one funnel away.” Now, I’m a big fan of funnels and Russell Brunson is great, but I believe that you’re one conversation away, right? You’re one conversation away from a new client. You’re one conversation away from a new partner. You’re one conversation away from a new resource.
This idea that everything comes through a funnel. The best things in my life, I have gotten through an introduction and a conversation, not through a pitch and a funnel.
Josh: Yeah. I think funnels are fine, once I show an interest in something. And product launches are fine, once I show an interest in something. And they all work. I mean, you know, the truth is I have bought stuff I really shouldn’t have bought for online courses using product launches because, after the 98th email I’ve gotten about it, I’ve clicked and said, “Okay, I’ll try it.” And then, I buy it and never look at it. And that’s one of the challenges with online courses, at least, in my experience.
Tom: And often people think, “Well, since other people are doing it, it’ll work for me.” But those people that are doing it, by and large, the ones that are getting results are the ones you already know, right? Brendon Burchard is one example I use. I’ve heard him. I’ve listened to his books. I’ve gone to his events. There’s that know‑like‑and‑trust already. So, if he pushed out something in a funnel, in a launch, it’s different, right? I already know, like, and trust him.
And then, if somebody comes out straight cold, I have no idea who they are. They haven’t had that conversation with me. They haven’t built up that know‑like‑and‑trust so why would I jump in the funnel? So I think, because sometimes we look at it and say, “It worked for them. It’ll work for me.” Well, only if you’ve done all of that foundational work, too.
Josh: Yeah. Now, everyone is looking for the easy way out and there is no easy way out.
I’m a big music fan and especially jam bands. And you have these bands like there’s a band out of Vermont right now called Twiddle. And Twiddle is the new Fish, if you know who Fish is.
Josh: And they’ve been at it for eight years already and they’re just starting to break out. Same thing with Fish. Fish was an instant success, after 10 years of trying. Grateful Dead, same thing. You know, when you go with these bands. And it’s true for any success I see or any person. The idea of the instant overnight success, it probably happens but it happens like one-tenth% or 1/100th% of the time. Most of the people, there’s a lot of sweat at work that go into it before they get there.
So, Tom, I have a question for you. I want to just go back to why a podcast. We speak mostly to blue‑collar business owners here and they do main streetbusinesses. Why would they be interested in either hosting a podcast or being a guest in a podcast? Because it seems to me that most podcasters have at least a national footprint, if not international footprint. And if I’m selling garage doors, I don’t need that. I just need people in my community to know‑like‑and‑trust me.
Tom: Most are like that but not all are like that. And that’s one of those things that I always talk with people. If they want to do podcast guesting and their reach is within 10 miles of Kalamazoo, where I live, you’re not going to get a lot of customers from that. But it could be a great proof source. It could be great backlinks to your site. It could be great content to repurpose but don’t think that everybody in Kalamazoo is going to listen to you. Flip side is, if you’re a podcast host, there’s probably not a whole lot of people in Kalamazoo that want to subscribe and hear every week about garage doors.
But, if you can make something community‑based, that can be so powerful. And I think there’s a gentleman, he’s a realtor in Nashville. And I remember talking to him early on. And he was going to do a podcast about moving to Nashville, and buying your first house, and the rates, and all the rest of that. And I’m like, “Who’s going to listen to that?” So, instead, he came up with the idea of he interviews people that have either lived in Nashville all their life or have just moved to Nashville and he talks about, “What do you like about it? What’s different there?”
Well, all of the sudden, he’s interviewing people from the Predators, I believe it is, which is the hockey team there from Titans. And now he’s got a relationship with them. He interviewed the mayor, who’s a lifelong Nashville resident. So now, he’s got all of these different contacts. So, when that next multi‑million dollar contract comes in from the Titans and they’re like, “Do you know any realtors around here?” They can say, “Oh, yeah, I just was talking with this person. You should reach out to him.” So, it’s really being seen as a leader in your community.
And I think so many people miss that opportunity. That it’s not about talking about me, me, me, right? It’s not talking about my company, my service, but putting the spotlight on the customer. Let them tell their story. Make them the hero of it. And that’s what causes people to share it, right? There’s that old joke about how do you sell newspapers in a small town? Put everybody’s name in it. They’ll all buy a copy and their mom will buy five copies.
Josh: That’s very true. So, you just said a word that sort of I’ve been thinking about recently. I’ve actually been on a soapbox about this for the last, oh, several months. But one of the things I do on my LinkedIn thing, I ask people to send me their websites. And I ask them to send me their websites for two reasons. One is, I’m curious about what their business is and how it works. And the second thing is, I want to see how they’re talking to their customers because this has become an obsession of mine in the past six months, or a year, is that too often I see people in businesses and it’s true in podcasting also where the podcast host makes themselves the hero, instead of the guest the hero.
The podcast host, at least in my opinion, needs to be the guide. And we need to be the guide in how we communicate to our customers also. You know, too often, this just my opinion, we make ourselves into the hero. And nobody wants to do business with a hero because heroes are intimidating but guides are not. Guides help you to get from where you are to where you want to be. And it’s really important to realize that, that when you’re on a podcast, as a guest, you’re the hero, when you’re the host of a podcast, you’re the guide, and keep that role really clear in your mind. Does that make sense to you or am I way off base?
Tom: I love that but I’m going to flip it around to the other time, right? So, the host is the guide of the podcast, but the guest should be the guide to the listeners, right, because it’s not all about me, me me. It should be, “Here’s what I have learned. This is what can help you.”
Somebody helped me with this, a friend of mine who’s a lawyer, the whole definition of what is an expert, right? An expert, legally, is someone who knows more by their degrees, their training, their experience than the normal person. So, you know, sometimes the guest expert is a PhD that’s got all these letters behind their name and has written all these books. And, honestly, that type of expert doesn’t always work that well because people are intimidated by him. The host is intimidated. The audience is intimidated by them.
The ones that do the best are either the ones that are like the old sage, the person that’s done it all of these times and can talk about it. They can talk about their war wounds, the things they’ve learned or, even better, I would call them the Sherpa, right, that person that’s going along with you.
One of my favorite examples is there’s a gentleman Nick Pavlidis, he wrote a book called Confessions of Terrible Husband: Lessons Learned from the Lumpy Couch. Now, here’s a guy that knows exactly what you’re going through. It’s not a marriage counselor that has PhDs and all the rest of this. It’s like, “No, Nick’s been there, too.” And I think that makes it so much easier for people to relate to them. And, third, the guide that’s going along but the guide that can understand the audience too.
Josh: Oh, I love that. That’s great.
So, you have a pretty interesting business background before you started doing this, the Interview Valet. What brought you to become the owner of this company or start the company?
Tom: It’s always I look at history as about evolution not revolution. And it only makes sense in the rearview mirror connecting the dots.
So, by degree, I’m an engineer. I’m a mechanical engineer. So, I think of the world in systems and processes. And I started out in the nuclear power Navy. And people always say, “That was amazing, in your 20s, you were running nuclear power plants?” And I’m like, “No, what is truly amazing is that people much smarter than me could come up with the systems, and the processes, and the culture to make it reproducible.”
And so, when I left the Navy, I went and worked in corporate America. First, as an engineer. Then, in operations, and sales, and marketing. And one of the things I saw was that often people were either making it up as they went or making it up like it was the first time every time and I’m like, “Let’s learn from this. Let’s put systems and processes in.” So, I started my own distributorship. Sold that back to the manufacturer in 2008. And we had a sidelight product.
And at that time, in 2008, I didn’t want to do another brick and mortar. And I had read a book by two smart guys out of MIT, Brian Halligan and DharmeshShah, called Inbound Marketing. And they went on to form HubSpot.
Josh: They did.
Tom: And they talked about, “Hey, the world is changed. People don’t want to be sold. They don’t go to the internet to be sold. They go there to solve problems. And those people that solve their problems get the know‑like‑and‑trust.”
So, I can remember calling and talking to ‘em and said, “Hey, do you think this will work for e‑commerce?” And they’re like, “Yeah, it should.” I’m like, “I think so, too. Let’s give it a try.”
So, my company was the first e‑commerce case study. Beretta USA, which is the oldest company in the world, was their second case study. And so, we built that company up from a regional player to a national leader. Sold that off in 2014. And then, I started to think, “I bet you could use podcast interviews, much like we used to use guest blogs, you know, a dozen years ago,” right? Tap into an audience. Use somebody else’s platform to get that know‑like-and‑trust – the mentions, the backlinks.
So, we started to test that in early 2014. It worked amazing so much so that I’m like “Nah.” The engineer in me said, “It’s got to be something. It’s got to be a personality. It’s got to be the niche.” So, we kept testing it, refining it. It really came through as a system.
And, in 2015, I launched a cheesy little PDF book that I gave away and did an online course. I never took the course out of beta, Josh, because, like you said before, people would tell me, “Yeah, I got the course, but I didn’t get through it.” And I didn’t want to sell something if people weren’t getting value. And the honest ones were the ones that said, ”You know, I don’t want to learn this. I want to be the guest. You take care of the rest.”
So, based on their questions and their requests, we started to beta test it in 2015. Took it out of beta in 2016. And now, going five years into it, we’ve got a team of 18, all a distributed workforce. We’ve got two in Europe, two in Canada, and the rest of the United States. And we serve about 100 clients – a lot of authors, coaches, speakers, and brands. And I think thisthing gets amazing because I think all of our clients have one thing in common that obscurity is their biggest problem. They could help so many people if they just knew about ‘em.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely.
And I just want to give your agency a plug in that as, you know, this is about Episode 270 or 280. So, I’ve been at this a while. And I’ve had lots and lots of agencies send people to me, and almost none of them do it well. Yours is far and away the best that we’ve dealt with. So, you should be congratulated for that.
And, you know, what’s interesting is, as you’re telling your stories, I’m sitting here saying, “Boy, we’re on this very similar path.” I also found HubSpot back in their very early days. And I’m still grandfathered in at the price I came in at which is a bargain. And I’m in love with those guys for many, many things. In fact, one of my great customer service stories is around Brian Halligan with a problem I was having.
And the way I found them, of course, was through the Grateful Dead because Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott wrote this really cool book called Marketing Secrets of the Grateful Dead. And I could not resist reading that book. And they were right on the money about so many interesting things the Dead have done, from a business point of view, that I ended up checking out HubSpot. And we had just a new WordPress site. And the guy who did our WordPress site could not explain to me how to use it. So, I was really frustrated. So, we ended up going to the very first version of HubSpot. And we’ve been on their platform ever since. They’re a really good company. I will say that.
So, your journey is a really interesting one. Would you call this business a passion business or would you call it just the next step in your life?
Tom: I’d say it’s a passion business but it’s also the next step in my life, right? It’s the evolution of everything that I’ve learned just come back to this.
To me, when I worked in corporate America, I was counting the days until I could retire. And, you know, it was like the golden handcuffs and everything. And, at that point, I was talking to a friend that we had gone to high school together. And we decided that we could never retire because, if we retired, it would drive our wives crazy. And our golf games are really, really bad. So, we decided that, for us, retirement was going to be doing fun things with interesting people and writing it all off as a business expense.
Well, my friend Brian died a number of years ago, very suddenly. And, when I turned 50, about five years ago, I looked at that and I said, “I’m retired, right? I’m only doing fun things with interesting people and writing it all off as a business expense.” So, I don’t look at this is work, you know.
People will say, “Well, how many hours a week do you work?” I usually say about 20, right? And my wife would roll her eyes. And she’s like, “No, more like 60 or 70.” And I’m like, “No, there’s only 20 that you would have to pay me to actually do this.”
You know, most of it is fun. Like talking to you right now, that’s not work, this is fun. Talking with clients or new clients. That’s fun. Getting to learn from all of these people, you know, that’s what I would do in retirement. So, for me, it’s passion.
Another one of our core values is, life is short work should be fun. My personal one is no job pays well enough to suck but I think that wasn’t politically correct enough. So, life is short work should be fun.
Josh: Well, that’s a great one.
Actually, my personal mission in life is doing interesting things with interesting people. So, everything I do, I look through that lens, whether it’s work related or non‑work related. So, you and I are very much on the same page as far as that goes.
You know, Tom, I wish we had more time to keep going on because I would love to talk with you about values. But, unfortunately, we just went past the 23‑minute mark on the podcast. And I try to keep these things to what I call the commute cast so you can actually listen to it on either driving into work or going home from work.
So, I’m going to bet and I hope there are a bunch of people are listening to this podcast who are going to be fascinated by what you said and want to learn more. So how do they do that?
Tom: The easiest way is just go to interviewvalet.com/cashflowcode. And everything Josh and I talked about it will be there. I’ll put a copy of my book, Podcast Guest Profits. I sell a lot of onAmazon, but I give more of those away. I’ll also put all of my social media there so, if you want to get in touch with me, you don’t have to figure out which Tom Schwab, in Kalamazoo, I am. Just go to interviewvalet.com/cashflowcode.
Josh: And for those of you watching on YouTube Live or Facebook Live, it’s on the screen right now.
And I also have an offer for you, is that one of the things that I think is really important for all companies is to be sale ready. Now, sale ready does not mean you’re about to go out and sell your company. It just means your company is in a position where other people would want to own it like Tom’s. I wrote an ebook on the eight steps you need to do, the eight levels you need to do to create a sale‑ready company. It’s really easy to get, just go www.sustainablebusiness.co/saleready. That’s www.sustainablebusiness.co/saleready.
So, this is Josh Patrick. We’re with Tom Schwab. You’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to Cracking the Cash Flow Code where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around 100 years from now?”
If you’ve liked what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 extension 102, or visit us on our website at www.sustainablebusiness.co, or you can send Josh an email at email@example.com.
Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.