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Building Your Podcast Funnel with Jonathan Baillie Strong

May 2, 2022
The Recognized Authority Podcast Cover

The podcast that helps experts & consultants on the journey to becoming a recognized authority in your field, so you can increase your impact, command premium fees, work less hours, and never have to suffer a bad-fit client again!.

Podcasting is a hot topic, and you heard before on this show and others why you should consider both guesting on podcasts, and even starting your own podcast. But where to start?

In this episode, Jonathan Baillie Strong and Alastair McDermott discuss how to approach podcasting as an authority building platform. They talk about different formats of podcasts, how a podcast mini-series can be very effective at building authority in a specific niche, and how to create a podcast funnel for your business.

They also discuss podcast guesting, how to ensure hosts actually consider your guest pitch, and how to use video to promote podcasts.

Show Notes

Guest Bio

Based in New York, Jonathan Baillie Strong is the founder of Spotlight Podcasting, an agency that provides businesses with done-for-you podcast production services.


podcast, people, episode, listen, book, business, authority, mini series, format, guest, interview, b2b, shows, content, listeners, jonathan, oftentimes, audio podcast, easy, guesting

Alastair McDermott, Voiceover, Jonathan Baillie Strong


Jonathan Baillie Strong  00:00

If you don’t catch people’s attention immediately, people tend to just drop off, you know, video viewership. The same thing doesn’t really apply to podcasting. Usually when people listen to episodes, they will listen to them all the way through.


Voiceover  00:12

Welcome to The Recognized Authority, a podcast that helps specialized consultants and domain experts on your journey to become known as an authority in your field. So you can increase your reach, have more impact and work with great clients. Here’s your host, Alastair McDermott.


Alastair McDermott  00:28

Before we get into today’s episode, I just want to briefly let you know about a free email course that is available at It’s a free seven day email course on how to become a recognized authority. You can subscribe to that just by visiting  So today, my guest is Jonathan Baillie Strong. Jonathan is the founder of spotlight podcasting, which is an agency that provides businesses with done for you podcast production services. And I’m really interested in podcasts because I’m on a podcast here. But Jonathan has something but similar to me. He has a standalone kind of audio course, as a podcast, generally. Can you tell me a little bit about that one? It’s Podcasting for Consultants. Is that right?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  01:14

That’s right. Yes. So this is, um, thank you for having me on the show, by the way. Lovely, lovely to be on and to have a good chat with you. So yes, this podcast series is it’s basically like our playbook. One of our approaches to podcasting that we advocate for that we recommend to people that work with us that we’ve seen a lot of our, our own clients have success with. It’s one particular format, there’s actually a, I would say, at the moment, we have two main formats that we see, people do really well with, as you say, you know, we work with businesses, often those businesses tend to be consultants, executive coaches, of that nature.  And so the first format, which the show addresses podcasting, for consultants, at least the first season of it, it addresses using podcasting as part of your business development process. So maybe an approach that might not be as obvious to most people, where we tend to usually think of podcasting as sort of top of the funnel, content marketing sort of activity, whereas in fact, what we found is, so when I got into podcasting back in 2013, and started out it kind of got thrown in the deep end and work with some shows of massive audiences, you know, the likes of Tim Ferriss and others, oftentimes, I was surprised that one of the key, like the top benefits that people would say, would not be, oh, you know, I’ve got this massive audience. And it will actually be the network that they were able to grow as a result of the show.  So it was actually the guests they were bringing on, were one of the biggest benefits, and especially in b2b, it’s, it can be a great means as to get people who they might fit the ideal client profile of yours, or they may be a great referral partner for you. So oftentimes, we find actually just reframing the podcast in terms of like, who’s your, you know, who do you want to what? Who do you need to be in conversations with to grow your business and frame the podcast around that? Yeah, we’ve seen people have great results with that. So that’s what that first, you know, season for that for that show is about.


Alastair McDermott  03:28

Very cool. Yeah. I like your branding, podcasting for consultants, because this show for the first 20 episodes was actually branded Marketing for Consultants. So yeah, I think we think we’re on the same wavelength there. Yeah, I’m really interested in podcasting. Obviously, because I’m on a podcast and hosting a podcast, I’ve been listening to them since about 2004. I remember having to try and get mp3 files onto a onto some sort of mp3 player, which we used to have back in the day, before I got my bicycle and cycled across the city. So, you know, I’ve always been a big fan of podcasting. And I’m really interested in the different formats. I have a standalone podcast called the specialization podcast.  And I think at the moment, it’s like, eight or nine episodes, and it’s basically an audio course and how to specialize your head niche down your consulting business. And I really love the idea of, I think I got this from Seth Godin, originally, he had one about startup school. And I love the idea of just having some educational content out there, kind of working 24/7 And it’s, it’s, for me, it was easier to get my thoughts into the forum actually recorded a video and then took out the audio. But for me, it was easier to get all of that out there as an audio podcast. I’m actually trying to write it into a book as well, but it’s much harder to take that same content and convert it to a book. But But this Yeah, I love that the standalone educational piece, and that’s, I think that’s one great format. And then the other is the interview format, which obviously we’re doing now. So,


Jonathan Baillie Strong  05:01

yeah, and just to that point, I think, yeah, Seth Godin, and that podcast in particular, you mentioned, syrup schools, also a big inspiration. That’s and what you described there as the the second format that we also see work really well. And I love what you’ve done, you know, with with your show, you know, the specialization podcasts, because so if you think about, you know, the interview series, the great thing is that you can build this really great network, you can bike on bypass gatekeepers, you can talk to high level decision makers, you can quickly build rapport and so on.  But there are downsides to it as well, like, you have to go through the whole the scheduling, you know, to build up consistency probably need to do over a long period of time, but doing what you say instead, and having this sort of mini series format, it allows you to, you don’t have to deal with, you know, scheduling, and you can basically work on your own time, you can put an evergreen piece of content out there. And like you I discovered that that show by Seth Godin, the startup school, I think it was a it was a seminar he recorded back in 2012. It’s 15 episodes long, it’s terrible audio quality, and someone in the audio engineering business kind of makes my skin crawl. But it’s Seth Godin at the top of his game, so no one really cares. It’s gold dust, isn’t it? And


Alastair McDermott  06:22

yeah, that’s the thing is the quality, you know, when the quality of the content is that good? The the audio quality? Yeah, it’s not great. But people don’t tend to care if the content is good enough, you know, Now, personally, I prefer if you can get get both of those rights. But if you can only get one right, then I think the content first is the most important.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  06:45

Yeah. And I think, you know, when I discovered that show, I didn’t really know who Seth Godin was, I was just searching around the podcast, or at the time, I was interested in startups and entrepreneurship, came across his crosses show, but as a result, I then wanted to know everything else about Seth Godin, I thought this guy was great, I was hungry for more. And, you know, then I started discovering, like, Oh, he’s got all these books. And he’s, you know, this is amazing stuff. But at the same time, that was just a, you know, a one piece of content he put back out in 2012. No, no updates to that podcast ever since. But it’s still referred to on lists of top 10 Business podcasts, to this day, you’ll still find lists, you know, they’ve just recently been posted. So I think that’s a it’s a great means, especially when I find this when I’m talking to, you know, guests who come on shows as well.  Oftentimes, you’ll have people at the very end of an episode, though, show that they’re guested on, they’ll say, oh, you know, check out my book, or my lead magnet, or this downloadable, and that’s all great. But if you think about listener behavior, and what people are doing, they’re listening on their phones. And they’re probably not going to go and download your PDF, especially if they’re driving the car or walking the dog. But oftentimes, when people come to the end of their listening, kill queue, they’re looking for recommendations and ideas of what to listen to next.  So that’s one of the best ways to kind of create a little bit of content funnel if you like, and bring people into your own ecosystem. So for one thing, you’re not kind of competing against lots of calls to actions, via competing calls to action on someone else’s show, you bring people into your own funnel, and you can kind of control the message, and then basically lead that mini series up to a final call to action at the end, you can make really compelling for people. So that’s sort of the that’s sort of the way that we see that format play out with, with a lot of people really well.


Alastair McDermott  08:48

Yeah, that’s something I need to improve on my own. On the specialization podcasts, I think that I don’t have a good, strong, strong call to action at the end. Like I need to work on that. But again, it’s just as easy as adding a new episode on there. So yeah, it’s quite easy. I love the fact that this is still out there for Seth Godin, and I’m still working for him, and like still getting in lists and things like that. You know, it was very easy for somebody, for him to get somebody to record that seminar and just put this up online. So yes, it’s amazing, really.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  09:22

And actually, you know, that now that you mentioned that you how your show doesn’t necessarily have a really compelling call to action at the end, sometimes, so like in Seth Godin case, he doesn’t have a you know, a real like, oh, go and do this and go into that the end. But because the content is so good, it compels people to they want to find out more, so they’ll start Googling him, they’ll start and it also leaves a really big imprint. Well, for one thing, it leaves an imprint on your like, it’s very memorable. You’ve listened to binge listened basically, to one person, pretty much brainwash you, in a sense if you can think of it like that.  But secondly, it’s also something that people might read. Listen to, if they’re like, Oh, I wanted to, you know, I wanted to really listen to that lesson properly, again, they’ll go back and listen to that. Whereas if you think of an interview show that goes on and on how many people go to the back catalogue, you know, the first 100 episodes when you get into the hundreds. And in fact, I think even on Apple podcasts, there’s a cutoff point, I think it’s like 300 episodes or something like that. And past that, it won’t show the older episodes. So the likelihood of people going through all that back catalogue compared to your evergreen series, you know, so there are pros and cons there.


Alastair McDermott  10:35

Yeah, well, this is going to be released, I’d say we’ll have around 65 back episodes by the time this episode is released, but I’d urge everybody to go and listen to all 65 Of those, because they’re all amazing. Joking aside, all of the content was one thing I really work on with this. And I guess it’s it’s luck as well, in a way, in that it’s the area I’m focused on. It’s a very evergreen topic. And I try to make it as evergreen as possible, I try to make sure that all of the episodes are completely relevant, I don’t really want to talk about any kind of ephemeral news related topics that that could be out of date. So hopefully, all of the back back catalogue is actually relevant.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  11:17

Yeah. I think also just by, you know, just by virtue of having those two different kinds of shows as well, you’re appealing to, you know, some people, they just want to fix one particular problem. And if you can be that solution that people are searching for, and you can have that mini series, you know, like, in your case, they’re trying to figure out how to do this whole specialize and specialization thing. That’s their answer, you know, that particular mini series is it or if they’re trying to just stay on top of the end of their industry, or figure out, you know, more perspectives here, more perspectives around building authority, this would be the show that they come to.


Alastair McDermott  11:53

Yeah, and just on that topic, it’s, that’s something I want to talk to you about a little bit. Something I’ve been thinking about is, you know, how podcasts actually build authority. And like, we talked about the networking benefits of doing interviews. But a downside of doing interviews is that as the host, or you are the interviewer, and the guest is the interviewee, the guest is on the pedestal to, to show up, show off their authority, their expertise, as the host, it can be hard to do that. Now, when we know each other quite well. We’ve spoken quite a few times before. So I think that we have a bit more back and forth. And sometimes I would have with a guest who I don’t know as well. But it’s definitely more difficult to as the host to show your own authority. I think there are some things you can do about that. I just want to get your thoughts on that.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  12:41

Yeah, no, I totally agree there as well. And that’s, you know, basically, when you’re, you’re interviewing, you’re positioning your guest as the authority. And there is some halo effect. And you can do things like you can have, you know, you can have, you know, the occasional like solo episode, you can do maybe, you know, segments or or sections, you know, that the beginning the start the credit, kind of introduce the guest and the context and maybe bring in some of your own perspectives as well. But yeah, like you say, interview shows are more about positioning the guests authorities. And that’s why I’m, I’m, I’m a, I’m a fan of this idea of having your own separate, you know, mini series that is all about your your kind of playbook. Your, your approach to things.


Alastair McDermott  13:28

Yeah, so so it actually kind of makes sense then to have two podcasts in that’s, I mean, the thing about for me about having a podcast is that it was almost as easy to have two podcasts as one because and Now admittedly, the second podcast, you know, it’s a one and done kind of thing. So I’m not, you know, working on it on a on a constant basis. But it was, it was quite easy for me like once you’ve done the heavy lifting of setting up one podcast, setting up a second, like, kind of more static mini series one is actually much easier.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  14:02

Yeah, yeah. And the level of commitment required is is a lot lower as well. You don’t necessarily have to be Oprah Winfrey as well. You don’t have to turn into Oprah Winfrey overnight as well to do that mini series. You know, if you are an expert, if you’ve been in the trenches for some time, it’s usually it shouldn’t be too hard to put something together that will really stand the test of time, I think.


Alastair McDermott  14:25

Yeah. And so just talking about, you know, the, the actual setting up of something like this, and I still don’t really know what to call it. Do you have like a good catchy name for these kinds of yeah, I’ve


Jonathan Baillie Strong  14:37

been trying to name myself. Yeah. So


Alastair McDermott  14:39

now I’ve just been thinking about, you know, about Well, first of all, like, I think it’s so easy to create them. If you know your topic than just creating an outline and recording your episode from, you know, five or 10 bullet points in a spreadsheet or in an outline app. And you can have a five to 10 minute solo Episode. Personally, I didn’t really like doing more than kind of five to eight minutes doing a solo episode that’s longer than that, both as a creator, and as a listener, I find them difficult, because it becomes hard to listen to one person monologuing, as Jonathan knows, now watching me speak.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  15:23

Yeah, I mean, it varies from person to person. Really. Another thing I find as well is, you know, some people say to themselves, Oh, well, one of the objections I hear, rather, is that people say, oh, you know, I’m, I feel awkward on the microphone just by myself. You know, we don’t have the same dynamism, dynamism that we might have in an interview setting. So another format that I’ve seen work well is where you have two subject matter experts that might have some, like two audiences that overlap. And typically, you know, the the might serve, you know, maybe one. So I’ll give you an example. This actually, maybe a concrete example, make this more understandable. So there’s another show called sales marketing profit, which is a one off series 30 episodes long, last episode was published back in 2015. Again, it’s one of these podcasts that’s continually recommended to people.  And what it is, is it’s basically to two business coaches, one basically coaches, other coaches, it’s sort of like a coach of coaches, and the other, basically, coaches, agencies, agency owners. And so they had this podcast, where and where they basically interviewed each other back and forth, they take case studies. And yeah, they basically kind of pull apart the case studies, deconstruct, you know, the process that they went through to help someone, someone came to them with a particular problem. So follows this kind of format. And it’s full of, you know, it’s full of great lessons. And, yeah, it’s basically another a great stepping stone for someone to kind of discover that. And then, as I did, so, I actually came across this show, because I was interested in the chap who is coaching agency, I run an agency, and, and so I was searching for his content, came across this show, and then discovered the other guy who coaches coaches.  And I actually got more interested in the –  Taki Moore is his name – I suddenly discovered, like all the frameworks and all the different things that Taki Moore does, and he doesn’t really have an ongoing podcast. So you know, that’s kind of like where you’ll find most of the chunky podcast content from him. But as a result, because of that, then I wanted to find out all this other stuff. Of course, now, I’m on his mailing list, and part of it, you know, basically become, you know, entered that funnel of his ecosystem. I’m in his ecosystem now. So yeah, like I say, you know, if for people who might struggle with the idea of sitting down by themselves, you know, in their basement recording it all by themselves. Another option is to bring on someone else, and, you know, have this kind of back and forth. Take apart case studies.


Alastair McDermott  18:17

Yeah, those kinds of regular co host podcast. I know, there’s three three I know of that are three of my favorite podcasts. One is the to Bob’s podcast with Blair Enns. And David C. Baker. Another is the business of authority. With Rochelle Moulton and Jonathan Stark. Yeah, both, both of who’s actually all of those have had on as guests except for Blair Enns. And hopefully, I’ll have him on soon, I had his his colleague Shannon, on who was recently promoted to managing director of his company, actually, so he can step back and spend more time in content creation, including books and podcasts and things, which I thought was very interesting. Yeah, sorry. Well, that’s a bit of an aside. And the other one that I really loved that was a co host podcast was Philip Morgan, and Liston Witheral. And they were co hosts on podcast called offline. Yeah. And so all of those are three of my favorite podcasts. And they all had great report.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  19:13

Oh, yeah, no, I was just gonna just mention those I love those shows, those are all great shows, the only thing I would say is that those are ongoing. So they’re, they’re, they’re regular, they’re ongoing. Whereas, whereas I think the show was like, it was just that one off. And they’re, you know, I’m not saying, you know, one format is better than the others. But with that, you know, with that 15 episode, or that limited episode, run, you can also create sort of a narrative structure around it. And you can have, it can be sort of like a much more kind of sequential step by step or, you know, you can give it kind of a nice, you can package it quite nicely, whereas I find the interview shows tend to be a little bit more episodic in most cases,


Alastair McDermott  19:54

right? Yeah. So you can have like an arc Yeah, yeah. Content arc. Yeah, that makes that makes sense. Yeah. Very cool. Well, we’re kind of thought talking about, you know, we’re talking about podcasting to build authority in the different formats. But I think it’s important to take a step back and just talk about goals. Because I know this is something you talk about a lot is is like setting your actual goals for podcasting. Can you talk about that a little bit?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  20:18

Yeah, I mean, so oftentimes, you know, when we have people come to us, they might have an idea for a podcast in mind. And we have to kind of get to the bottom of that and figure out, you know, what are the, you know, what, what, what are we ultimately trying to move the needle with their show. And I think one of the problems with podcasting is we tend to a lot of times, we tend to be a little bit swayed by what we’re listening to, or what we might see in the top 100 podcasts on, you know, on the Apple podcast store, which is fine, you know, those shows have obviously achieved a certain amount of success. The problem with those shows a lot of the time is that they, especially the ones in the top 100, those are basically trying to appeal to a very broad audience. Usually, they’re backed by networks, or they’re people who’ve been doing it for maybe 1020 years. And their monetization strategy is usually, well, it’s oftentimes around advertising. And b2b, though, which is, you know, which works for them. But that’s one, that’s kind of one barometer of success.  But if you’re looking at b2b, and, you know, businesses that are ultimately, you know, what are they trying to do with their show that are they that that’s what we really need to try and sort of get to the bottom of, and what we find with those two formats is they oftentimes they they serve business goals, but we kind of have to take them apart, you know, is what is more important to you? Are you trying to really ultimately try to generate revenue, and close more, maybe high ticket or high value sales. And with the show, we’re using it as strategic networking, for strategic networking, you can really do very, very, very accurate attribution with that, you can basically say, okay, you know, how many people do we have on the show, which of those conversations led to, you know, business or referrals.  And so you can actually put a monetary amount from… associate a monetary amount to all that effort that you’re putting in, you know, both timewise and, you know, financial resources you’re putting into it. The other one is more around, it’s more kind of a one and done. solution where, you know, with the mini series, where you’re basically trying to optimize a little bit more for conversions from listeners from other shows. So, you know, if you’re, if you’re going as a guest on other shows, and you’re looking to, you know, convert more people into, you know, readers of your book, or, you know, Lead Magnet downloads or whatever it may be email lists, signups and so on. You can measure basically, by having a mini series and directing people to that instead, you can see what effect that has on your conversions.  So typically, I would recommend, you know, when people look at that, you know, maybe they might, or they’re maybe approaching podcasting for the first time. Part of it is maybe just looking at guesting on a show and getting into the field, you know, getting getting into the feel kind thing of things, figuring out what what’s a good kind of podcast guesting outreach strategy. And then once they’ve kind of got, felt the ropes for that got a feel for what it’s like to be on a podcast, to then start considering, okay, how can we build this out to maybe a content funnel? Or how do we want you know, how, what are we picked up from these conversations we’re having? What does it really take? Is this something that makes sense for us?


Alastair McDermott  23:48

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Now, one thing that you mentioned, there was, you know, looking at other podcasts, and I know that Casey Graham wrote about this in his book, I can’t remember the exact name of the book is like the no BS guide to small business with no BS, small business guide, something like that. But anyway, he talked about business pornography, I thought was really interesting way of looking at it. He said, Beware of business, pornography, beware of looking at all of this stuff that you see in, you know, in the business magazines online.  And, you know, we always see these tech companies and SAAS companies, and a lot of the stuff, that we see these these kinds of these unicorns and, you know, the kind of the IPOs and all this kind of stuff. It’s it’s just simply not relevant to the vast majority of people who are in business, and particularly to people who are listening to this. Like, I know that the vast majority of marketing advice in social media is going to be irrelevant for anybody listening to this podcast, and that’s probably because it’s either b2c or it applies to large organizations. And, you know, it’s good advice for other people, but it’s not relevant for your context.  And so, you know, I think that I think that the same applies to to the pie podcasting world, you know, be careful of saying, oh, that’s how Joe Rogan does it. So this, this might work for us that this way. So yeah, no, I agree with you 100% on this. Yeah. So setting up the setting to goals and having clear goals, having them related to revenue, or having it related to networking, or building your authority, positioning yourself as an authority, you know, we can do all of these in different ways. And for me, it This podcast is partly the networking part. It’s to grow my network and my audience is partly to position me as an authority, but that’s, ironically, not the not the primary goal for me here. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t be doing it as an interview based podcast. So are there any other goals that you see people doing?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  25:42

Yeah, I think, you know, podcasting, as, as a content format, lends itself really well to long form as well. So maybe obvious, you know, when I’m saying it, but you know, sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves of this. But when we look at other online media formats, YouTube, social media, whatnot, typically, there’s, you know, 1000s of distractions, and lots of things pulling you away, there’s a sidebar full of like, you know, hundreds of videos on YouTube or whatnot. And so if you look at the analytics for typical videos, there’s a drop off point, which is very, you know, which is very quick, if you don’t catch people’s attention immediately, people tend to just drop off, you know, video viewership, the same thing doesn’t really apply to podcasting. Usually, when people listen to episodes, they will listen to them all the way through. So if you were, again, this lends itself a little bit, well to b2b, obviously, I’ll say that because I’m biased, I run a podcast agency that serves b2b.  But, you know, the fact of the matter is, like a lot of people have products that are complex to understand, and that have a lot of nuance to them. And so podcasting lends itself quite well to that. Yeah. So that’s one thing. The other thing that we often see happening as well is, and this is kind of maybe rehashing a little bit of a point earlier, but I think just to flesh it out a little bit more as well. So one thing we’ve noticed, you know, people talk about is, maybe this is working for slightly larger, you know, b2b clients, you know, larger consultancies and so on.  But as we noticed that, you know, people when people start using it for that strategic networking, it tends to be talked about a lot in boardrooms. So, you know, when people are trying to move forward partnerships, and they bring someone on the show, like everybody will listen to everyone involved in that process will end up listening to it. And so it just gets, you know, at a, so it’s really not necessarily thinking about, you know, trying to reach the masses, but it’s just about reaching the right people that need to listen to that content. Yeah. And


Alastair McDermott  27:50

that really interests me, because one thing I am interested, dear listener, is if you are interested in building your authority, I’m interested in working with you on that. And so that’s like, I’m interested in people who are listening to this podcast, contact me and saying, hey, you know, you know, this building authority thing, or, you know, this niching down specialization thing? I think I need some help with that, can you help me? And I think that, for me, that’s as having this podcast, is a much faster way, is a can get me to that to that goal of monetization much quicker than if I decided to try and build an audience go looking for sponsorship, for example. And so I think, and I think that’s the thing, that’s the good thing about what most of us do, most people listening to this is, you can probably monetize a very small audience.  But if you serve a very niche audience, and yet you help them with, as Jonathan Stark calls it an expensive problem. And I think that that way, you know, you can you can make, you can give yourself a positive ROI on the time and costs involved with podcasting. So that works for me. And now I know that a friend of mine, Jocasta, Bono, who I’ve had, we’ve had some great discussions on this podcast and on his I know that he monetizes his, his podcast and actually has sponsors. And so he gets paid cash dollars directly for when he when he puts out podcasts, and people download and listen to it. So it’s, it’s a different approach. And he has, again, he has a different business model, you know, his business model is around selling courses and things like that as well. So you can take different approaches these things, I think, it’s it’s interesting, but I think that it’s possible to have a small listener base, who are who are kind of very finely targeted, and that you can you can work with with, you know, not having, you know, not having huge listenership and still make it work for you.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  29:47

Yeah, so, the reason why I come back to the mini series is because it doesn’t have to be this huge Herculean effort trying to find millions of listeners. And one of the reasons for this is because with a mini series, you or like if we think about listener behavior, right? How many Listen, how many podcasts Do you listen to on a regular basis? Right? Ongoing shows? handful, maybe


Alastair McDermott  30:08

I listened to probably five to six that I listened like, almost religiously. And then you know, I would I binge like, if I’m driving on my own, I find out about a new podcast, I listened to, like 20 episodes if I can. And like, if I’m driving for four or five hours, I have them on 1.5 speed. And I’m skipping ads if they have access. Yeah, exactly. Again, for people like for people like Joe who, who have the sponsor shoutouts. I’m, I’m probably going to skip those if I if I hear it for a second time. So but yeah, just a different.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  30:43

Yeah. So like you say, you know, you listen to six, six shows, you probably skew on, you know, the power user, while the power listener, demo like segment of listeners. So six is quite a few to listen to on a regular basis. You know, typically, I would say, people listen to one to six on a regular basis. I think Edison Research have surveys around this as well. So basically, if you’re doing a regular show, you’re competing, you’re probably going to be competing with one to six other shows that you know, someone listens to. And to make it into that top six is, it’s tricky, like there’s so many podcasts out there. But if instead you’re doing that mini series, and people are binge listening to that, that’s not You’re not really competing with that one to six. They’re basically you’re basically just helping them solve that that one problem, or you’re helping them nerd out about that one interest that they have. And they will just listen to you continuously for a couple of hours on end. Which is, which is no mean feat. So that’s again, that’s one of the reasons why I’m really bullish about this particular format that I think is underserved. It’s unsaturated like not a lot of people are doing it at the moment.


Alastair McDermott  31:57

Yeah, I think I think we now have a name for it. The podcast mini series, right? That’s right. Yeah. Okay. Okay. So if if somebody’s listening to this, and is saying, Okay, I’m an expert. I’m thinking about doing this, how should they approach this? Like, what’s the first step? If they’re like, Okay, I know, they can go hire you. They can go work with you. That’s an option. But let’s say they want to try this and experiment and try it on their own first, what would you say that they should do?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  32:23

So I think there’s no reason why you shouldn’t experiment. I think it’s worth starting something even if it isn’t going to be your, you know, main flagship thing, I think actually just getting used to the medium, potentially, you know, guesting on other shows, like I mentioned before, you know, it’s not always easy to immediately say, Okay, I’m going to be a guest on a show. Because oftentimes, that’s the odds are stacked against you, you know, hosts have lots of people who want to guest on their shows, but you can do things like you know, just basically figure out you know, who in your network, you know, if you notice people in your network, are they guesting on shows that might also be appropriate for you? Could you ask for a referral or recommendation or introduction? And, you know, there’s, there are a lot of things you can do, you can actually hire, you know, guest booking agencies, you can attempt to do it yourself to get on shows. But that’s sort of like one of the first things especially for, you know, expert driven businesses. You’re trying to hone your message, you know, get in front of audiences, when you know, in person public speaking isn’t really happening right now. Transitioning to podcasting is probably the next best thing. Really?


Alastair McDermott  33:44

Yeah. And just for speaking as a podcast host, I get an, a lot of unsolicited pitches, usually from guesting agencies. And the thing that really pisses me off is that they almost never refer to me or, or the podcast, or the audience. They just talk about why the guest is great. Yeah, oh, yeah, this guest is going to be great for your podcast, because x, and they make no reference to the podcast whatsoever. They don’t show that they’ve listened to any of it, they don’t know who the audience are.  And, and speaking to the listener, I’m never going to bring one of those guests on here because I know that they don’t care about you. And as as a podcaster, I care about my listeners, because otherwise you won’t continue to listen. And you know, and I appreciate the time and attention that people pay me and the content and the podcasts and, and you know, I think it’s – you’re playing a very short term game if you if you don’t care about that kind of thing. So, so yeah, just be careful with your pitches and you know, make sure that you know, what the podcast is about and what the, what the podcast host cares about and what the podcast listeners care about. And if you talk to about those things to the podcast host when you’re when you’re pitching them, they’re going to listen a lot more.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  35:03

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I think like you say, there are, there’s a lot of spraying and praying out there, when it comes to people trying to get on shows. So if you can just do your due diligence. And yeah, really think about the relationship with the listeners with the hosts, and so on first, you’re in a good position.


Alastair McDermott  35:23

Okay, so I want to ask you a couple of different things. Like, I know that your work with Tim Ferriss and his show, like, what was that like?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  35:32

Yeah, so that was interesting. So that was a show, which originally was only going to be a pilot. So when we first set it up, it was only supposed to run for six or seven episodes. And that was basically Tim just kind of experimenting, seeing, you know, does anyone really want to listen to me just chatting to my mates. And the reception was pretty good, obviously, from those first few episodes. And so thankfully, he’s continued on with it. Interestingly, he says that, you know, when people come up to him in the street, they don’t say to him, Oh, thanks for the, you know, five or six best selling New York Times bestseller books.  The first thing they say is, you know, I love your podcasts, these aren’t really, all those years of blood and sweat, tears poured into those books. And people just love the, you know, just conversations that I have with people on the phone. So So yeah, it’s interesting. Yeah, so that was. So yeah, we weren’t with Tim Ferriss. My involvement with that show, I’ll be honest, like it was, it was, it was minimal, like, I helped choose the cover art, but I helped choose the cover art. So I’m sure that had a big effect, I would say that I have much more involvement on the production side with a lot of other shows that also had the, you know, big, huge audiences, but less household names, people like Lewis Howes, Jonathan Fields, and a whole bunch of other, other people. That a…


Alastair McDermott  37:05

Is there any takeaway that you had from working on all those big shows that you that you’ve brought into your own business or your own podcast?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  37:13

I think, basically, the production values, and, you know, having this kind of systematic process on the back end of that have definitely, you know, drawn from and apply to, you know, the work I do now, I would also say, you know, it’s interesting that some of the shows you work with, there’s one Jonathan Fields, like he used to have this YouTube channel, and we basically repurposed that show as a podcast, because a lot of an audio podcast only, because a lot of his viewers or listeners, were demanding that and, you know, the YouTube channel had huge viewership, and but it was basically two talking heads, it was long form. And eventually, he ended up just switching completely to the audio podcast. So that was also an interesting kind of informative lesson, as well.


Alastair McDermott  38:02

Yeah, I’ve actually thought about that. I thought about putting these interviews up on YouTube, you know, two talking heads. And there’s a lot of work in in editing video and putting it up. And I wonder about the value of it. I wonder if, if YouTubers would would sit and watch this, like, we’re 40, 41 minutes in or so? Like, would they sit for 41 minutes and watch this, I don’t think I would, I’d be more likely to put on a YouTube video while I’m driving the car and just not look at the screen will be listening to it. So maybe it’s useful in that way. But then somebody could just listen to the podcast, and it’s going to be a better experience of the podcast app anyway. So yeah, I don’t know about that. You know, for me, it’s, I can see why it worked the opposite way for for Jonathan.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  38:48

Yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting one, yeah, that the video thing, I tend to agree with you, I think there are challenges, you know, video, file sizes are huge as well. And editing that in tandem with the audio, without getting all these kind of like, jump cuts, or whatever you might call them. Also, like, what some people do is they will just strip the audio and plunk it up on YouTube. And they’ll just have like a splash screen. But there are studies that have been done that showed that YouTube actually is basically penalizing people kind of, I don’t know if you’d call it shadow banning, but they’re basically limiting their reach, because they don’t see that as quality content. So you’re better off having like live talking heads. So that’s one thing. The other thing I could say, you know, long form content, people tend to drop off. What you can do, is you can have, you can do you know, like video clips. And some people use those to draw them to your podcasts. I think technically really, it makes sense. If you’re going to do video clips. There’s an argument to be made that you should have that whole episode on YouTube as well because, you know, are people really going to go from YouTube to a different you know, media format. And that’s that’s kind of a difficult a difficult difficult task


Alastair McDermott  40:05

Yet. Yeah, moving from from one app to another is something that the apps don’t want. That that’s what the platforms don’t want. You know, Facebook don’t want you going to YouTube and vice versa.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  40:15



Alastair McDermott  40:15

Yeah, it’s an interesting one, I think maybe there’s a place for the, you know, the short clips and taking clips and using those as a promo for the episode, you know, on social media and places like that. At the moment, we use static, static images with with quotes, when when this episode is going to go live Jonathan, you’re gonna get an email from my assistant Aiko, she’s gonna send you one some three, three or four images with that you can share on social media, and some pre written tweets and things like that for you as well. And so that’s that’s what we share at the moment ourselves. But maybe like, we are recording this on video, and maybe we will, at some point, do the video clips or maybe even the long form stuff. But I’ll wait until the businesses but bit further along and to have more budget to do that.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  41:00

Yeah, fair enough. Fair enough. Yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting. I haven’t, you know, I think there are, I haven’t seen too many channels get a lot of traction with their YouTube channel, where they are, you know, primarily an audio podcast there. I would say, though, that there are maybe a couple of exceptions, you know, that aren’t household names. And what I saw them doing is they would interview people who are now kind of big on YouTube, but back then they weren’t yet. So they kind of found these up and coming stars that people would search for. So Ali Abdel before he was really big, or I don’t know, all these other people that you know, now are kind of big people on YouTube. But back then, when they recorded that episode, they weren’t. But they basically get a lot of this sort of, you know, piggyback traffic, because people are consuming that creators content. And then once they finish it, they’re hungry for more. So they want more of the backstory, so that they want to hear Ali Abdel being interviewed somewhere else, or something like that, you know, so, something to think about.


Alastair McDermott  42:01

Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s part of the, that’s part of the benefit of having an interview show where you are interviewing people, people, people will find your episode through searches for them. So I’m sure I’ve already reaped the benefit of that by having people like Mark Schaefer, David C. Baker, you know, Jonathan Stark, people like that on the show. And I’m sure there’ll be people coming along looking for you, Jonathan. So they’ll they’ll find this.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  42:24

Of course, I hope so.


Alastair McDermott  42:28

So I’ve got to start to wrap this up. I do like to talk to people about failures in their business, because I’m trying to normalize failure. It might be normal in the US, but I think here in Ireland, we still have a, you know, we still have a thing about, you know, talking about our own failures, things like that. So I’m just wondering, is there a business failure that you’ve experienced that you could tell us about? Could you tell us a bit about what happened and what you learned from it?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  42:52

Yeah, oh, this is a tough one. So I think back to actually, like my I used to work for a boutique consultancy and telecoms. And I think I, so I transitioned from that to actually the business, I’m in those podcasts production. And I’ve kind of gone full circle, because I’m now you know, helping consulting firms start their own shows. But I wish actually, you know, back in those days, I don’t think I, I don’t think I capitalize as much on my experience as I could have in consultancy. So now I think back and I’m thinking to myself, Wow, we could have done like, you know, as I was kind of getting more into the podcasting world, we could have done like an internal show. You know, we could have had, you know, we could have been doing podcasts, interviews with our partners and our clients, we could have been sharing knowledge, and I could have maybe combined those worlds back then now, I’m doing it obviously now. But that’s one of my regrets. So I think sometimes, you know, you’re in a position where you’re like, Well, I’m not going to be doing this in like, you know, five years time. But it’s worth thinking about, Well, are there any, like, valuable ways I can leverage my, you know, my current position or where I am? Where I’m in right now to get me to where I want to be?


Alastair McDermott  44:13

Right. Interestingly, yeah. Yeah. And you know, hindsight is 2020. It’s great if we could look back if we if we, if we had the knowledge back then but yeah, another question like to ask is about books. And if do you have a favorite business book or resource that you had found inspiring or really useful?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  44:30

So I’m going to point to, I’m a big fan of, of books that are non fictional. And some are, well, I don’t know if you could necessarily call them or bio well, they’re basically real stories, really. So one of the ones that I really like, is “Gang Leader for a Day”. Have you heard of that one?


Alastair McDermott  44:54

No, that sounds interesting.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  44:56

It’s so good. It’s, it’s basically this American-Indian chap who I think was doing a PhD, I believe it was an something related to sociology. And he decided that he was going to basically he wanted to do an in depth study of what it was like to live in a poor neighborhood. And he was doing this at University of Chicago. And so he went with a clipboard, and he went into these like, really dangerous hoods. And, you know, just started people asking people what, what it was like to be poor. Little naively and basically got accosted by this gang who said, you know, what are you up to? They were convinced he was up to no good. And then eventually they realized what he was doing. And the gang leader said, You know what, well, you can ask your questions, you could go back and you can write your research up. But if you really want to know what it’s like, you should come and live with me.  And the book basically talks about that experience. And it’s, it’s, it’s riveting, and it’s fascinating to see home, how multi layered the that experience really is. Because I think you see depictions or movies and stuff like that, but they’re very, very surface level. But thyeah, the and then the reason why it’s called gang leader for a day is because the gang leader actually hands over the reins to this guy, this researcher, he says, Okay, now, you think this is easy. You try and run this. And he sees that, you know, every day is like, you know, all these decisions between life and death. And yeah, it’s amazing stuff.  One of the one of the chapters in the book, one of the characters in the book. Yeah, it’s fascinating. One of the characters in the book is someone who basically kept meticulous records of the all the drug deals, and you know, had all the books and basically, I don’t want to give away too much, but he, he basically hands over this information just before he knows he’s going to be taken away. And the researcher takes this and that that data is the basis of one of the chapters in Freakonomics that talks about all the intricacies of the economics of drug dealing. Anyway, I love that book. It was amazing.


Alastair McDermott  47:02

So that is “Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets” by Sudhir Venkatesh.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  47:09



Alastair McDermott  47:10

Yeah, really interesting. Okay, and I know that you’re not married to fiction, but do you have a favorite fiction book? Or into movies or, or Netflix or something like that?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  47:22

Yeah, probably say fictionwise, Green Eggs and Ham, Calvin and Hobbes. Does that count? Cartoon? Kid stories?


Alastair McDermott  47:32

Yeah, yeah.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  47:33

That’s probably the last ones that I read.


Alastair McDermott  47:35

Cool. Cool.  Okay, Jonathan, if people want want to find out more, if people want to find out more about you, then they’re interested in checking out your services, your podcasts, where should they go?


Jonathan Baillie Strong  47:50

Yeah, sure. So if you want to hear more about our playbook, some of the strategies mentioned and everything that goes into starting your own podcast, we have a podcast about it very meta I know, called Podcasting for Consultants can find that and and then the agency around is called Spotlight Podcasting. And our site is


Alastair McDermott  48:13

Cool. And we got some NYC sirens in the background just to add color to our, to our podcasts. Live on location.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  48:22



Alastair McDermott  48:22

Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. So Jonathan, thank you so much for being here with us today. Really appreciate it.


Jonathan Baillie Strong  48:29

Thank you. I love being on your show.


Alastair McDermott  48:34

Thanks for listening. If you gained any insights or tips from this episode, please leave a review. It would really help us out. And it’s very easy to do. Just click on the review link in the show notes on your device and it will bring you straight to a page with options for the device that you’re listening on. Thanks. It really helps. It’s much appreciated.


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