If you want to be the best, it’s only logical that you should learn from the best, right? This theory can be applied to any situation where a person desires to learn a new skill set or improve an existing system. Today, however, we’re focusing our attention on business success.
Why do some people continually rise while others remain stagnant or burn out?
For Bob Roark, it was more than just idle speculation – it was a question that had to be answered. In his insightful and entertaining podcast, Business Leaders, Roark takes the hard-hitting questions right to the front door of his guests – literally. Separating himself with the tenacity and wherewithal to go out and see it for himself, Bob’s interviews are all done face-to-face in the homes and offices of CEOs, company presidents, and high level executives.
Why go through the hassle of all that additional travel?
Roark would tell you, “The thing that happens face-to-face is that you develop a relationship with your guests…people like to talk about their business and show you their success.”
There’s something to be said for that, going the extra mile (no pun intended). In a market as saturated as podcasting is, particularly as it relates to business success and coaching, it’s essential to differentiate yourself from the competition in whatever way is most beneficial to your brand. Ironically enough, Roark achieves this by doing just the opposite – doing whatever is most beneficial for his guests. Whether that means roughing it through a cross-country drive or packaging the post-interview production into a nice, neat file for guests to share, Bob really goes above and beyond in his efforts to provide value.
“The show is really not about me, it’s about the business owner and their journey to success and the wisdom they can offer.”
What’s perhaps even more impressive about Bob is his output. Forget the idea of an episode every other week, or even an episode every week. On a meticulously planned and organized schedule, Roark will average about two episodes with two different guests each week.
Talk about a packed schedule!
When asked about this breakneck pace, Bob laughed and told us that, “Without really intending to do so, I ended up being tutored by business owners and CEOs twice a week…The long term goal is to have 300-400 episodes in the next few years. When you think about it, that’s quite the collection of intellectual capital.”
Beyond being exceptionally accommodating, Bob is also methodical and voraciously organized – which he credits to his military background. As such, the goal is to continually add and leverage the value he can create with each guest. One such offshoot of this focus was that he became a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA).
Not familiar with this term? Don’t worry we weren’t either.
Essentially, a CEPA offers strategic guidance to business owners and CEOs that are looking to retire and/or sell their business (which oftentimes can be more complicated than people think). Now when it comes to the point in the interview when Bob asks his guests what there long term plans are for their company’s future (e.g. mergers, buyouts, passing the torch to the next of kin, etc.) he can offer his own wisdom and value as licensed and certified specialist.
What’s unique about the positioning Bob has done is that it sets him up for a win-win situation. At worst, he is able to speak as a knowledgeable professional and add value and clarity to an interview. At best, however, Bob is able to use his podcast not only as a tool for personal growth but as a platform where he can leverage his network, potentially expand his business and continually be introduced to person of interest.
For all his success, Bob admits that it wasn’t always smooth sailing. “I took me about thirty episodes before I really started getting organized, you know, getting the hang of it. It was a blessing to find Brandcasters – now I just Dropbox the audio and video files from the interview and you guys take care of the rest.”
When asked about what advice he would give himself if he could go back and do it over again, or even offer to someone just starting their own podcast, Bob had a few things to say:
1.) The Biggest Challenge is Not Starting
Some people are wary about the technical side of podcasts, or about the way their voice will sound on a recording, or how they will go about finding guests. In fact, they are so worried about these things that they forget to even try. The hardest part about podcasting is getting over the initial fear of what it will be like and just diving in and experiencing the thing for yourself.
2.) Leverage Your LinkedIn
For Bob, one of the most intimidating aspects of podcasting was the idea of not being able to find guests for his show. But as he recalls, “I ended up just going on LinkedIn, sending out a 100 connection requests every day and asking these new connections if they would be interested in being interviewed for my podcast.” Short, simple, and effective. Don’t overthink this one. If you have a network you can leverage, don’t’ be bashful about it. LinkedIn was specifically designed to connect business professionals, and whether you’re cashflow positive or not yet, your podcast is a business.
3.) Pick Your Target Market
In Bob’s case this was a really specific niche group. In fact, most of his guests (and listeners) come from Front Range, Colorado. He focused on a highly specific region and a highly specific market and chose to leverage that platform. Figuring out who you’re talking to and your core focus is an essential first step to building a podcast. Contrary to what you may believe, casting a wider net is not always a good thing. You want a clear, crisp image of who your audience is.