Hey and welcome to another episode of Podcraft. This is the show all about podcasting, everything from interview skills to equipment and everything in between.
Today we’re changing things up a bit from the usual listener questions, with a very special guest on the show – Chris Ducker, the founder of Youpreneur.
As well as a podcaster, Chris is a best selling author with his book “Virtual Freedom” and has a big event, the Youpreneur Summit, coming up in November.
The event will bring together a bunch of podcasters, entrepreneurs, content creators and all sorts – with our very own Colin Gray speaking at the event.
If you’re still looking for tickets to the event, the early-bird prices are there until July 2 – it’s an event you don’t want to miss! After that there’s still going to be some tickets remaining, not at the early bird price, but they’re going fast.
But back to today’s show. We wanted to talk to Chris about personal branding.
While Chris has well over 200 podcast episodes on the subject of VA (virtual assistants), he’s built his own personal brand around delegation and team building – taking on board virtual staff.
As time progressed from 2014, people started to look towards Chris, in his own words, as someone who “got the traditional publishing deal, got the best-selling book out of it, launched his speaking career from it…and so that kind of personal brand element started to come out.”
Chris was then asked to present in Las Vegas on the subject of building a profitable personal brand. That was the first time he’d ever spoken about the subject, and it was rated one of the best sessions of the entire event – a speech he’s been booked to do around 30 times since.
“I think what happened was, as a direct result of building my own personal brand, people started to come to me for strategies on how to do it themselves.
The personal brand element of the business morphed itself basically but ultimately what I like to think I do now is genuinely help people become the go-to source in their industry.”
There's a great bunch of solo entrepreneurs who do podcasts – it’s a great way to build a personal brand. But there’s another significant number of people who are looking to use podcasts – small businesses.
A team of 5/10/15 staff, or even bigger companies, are using podcasting – and there’s a balance there between the personal brand of the host and the band of the business.
It’s the host that makes the show work and has the personality – so how would you think about building a podcast in a small business?
Chris suggested that, “if it’s a small business then very possibly the person that should be hosting the show is the owner of the business or at the very least a partner in the business.”
This reduces the amount of friction or the idea that a certain employee might become ‘famous’ on iTunes or get offers to go elsewhere. The fact is that is a big possibility.
That being said, and admittedly paraphrasing, Chris spoke of the words of Richard Branson:
“He said something along the lines of the fact you’ve got to train people so well that they could leave tomorrow. But you’ve got to treat them so well that they don’t want to.”
And that’s the words that Chris goes by, as he manages a team of around 480 employees.
So, there’s that bit of friction when you think of an employee being a host/having their own brand… but if one of the owners/partners etc don’t want to start a podcast, you don’t have any other option!
Chris added: “The big question is, can you afford not to get involved with podcasting as a small business? I don’t think you can, regardless of what industry you’re in. So, you either do it yourself, or you get someone else to do it for you!”
When asked how he’d pick an employee out of his 480 odd, he said he'd ultimately hold auditions. “Give people 2 minutes to record as high a quality audio recording as they can on their own and see how resourceful they can get.
“Like with anything, it’s a sales job. You’ve got to talk about the benefits and features and why you need to subscribe/review/rate the show and all that stuff.”
Is there any top skill to host a show like that?
“I think that a good host is pretty much always someone who can listen more than they can talk. I’m a chatty guy so I find myself on my show (particularly when I interview people) having to pull myself back and I’m aware of that.
I think some people who are quite chatty and quite outgoing sometimes aren’t aware of that and it can go against them a little bit.
Also above and beyond anything else they have to respect the time that the listener is investing tuning in and understand that they can’t put any old fluff out.”
This is actually something we talk a lot about here at The Podcast Host – it’s about being proud of the content you put out and not just churning out content when it’s not good enough.
Chris added to that, stating that every good podcaster can admit to doing it. “We've all done it. We’ve all put fluff out just to keep things moving.” But, if they're good podcasters, then they’ll notice that those episodes are not well received.
Regarding the comment Chris made about a podcast host’s interview skills, we have a useful course and some handy guides that can be found on our premium service, The Podcast Host Academy.
The next question for Chris regarded branding on the show. There's a worry that if you put the name of the company on the title of the show, then it’ll come across as just a sales message.
But, on the other hand, if you don’t put it anywhere then you won’t be getting any value out of it. Where’s the balance there?
Admitting there’s no right or wrong answer, Chris said:
“I think it depends on the type of business and viewership that they’re after.
I think in certain industries it’s wise. Instead of, for example, a solicitor for small business owners called ‘ABC inc.’, they’re way more likely to get more listeners, subscribers and search results if they name the show ‘Small business legal help’ – rather than the company name.”
Our opinion? Name it around the purpose of the show and/or the benefits people will get for it – and then talk about the company as you go about doing the show.
At the top of the show you could say “this show is brought to you by …” and straight away you’re letting people know your company.
Next question: What do you think about the current influx of branding podcasts? Shows that have been produced by podcasting companies for a bigger brand – for example Virgin are doing ‘The Venture’ with Gimlet Media.
It’s happening a lot in the podcast world at the moment – good producers are creating, researching and hosting a show for a fee.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Chris said. “If you don’t have the capacity to produce the show or can’t be bothered to deal with it but have the content, then it’s a fantastic idea for someone to come in and deal with it for you.”
He added that he would personally rather that than not doing a podcast at all. “It’s a great thing for the industry, not to mention the fact that podcast is the ‘new radio'”.
Chris has been podcasting since April 2010, but has gone through a few morphs over the years.
He went up to 100 episodes with show “Virtual Business Lifestyle”, but then the focus changed towards the personal brand.
“At the time the term ‘new business’ in late 2012 was really hot. So we went ahead and we put together the ‘New Business Podcast’ which launched and did really well.
But then we took that show, and morphed it to the current Youpreneur FM and we’ve got around 230 episodes on that.”
The show is a combination of interviews with experts and solo shows with Chris discussing different issues.
This is also a great example of why personal branding is so important – despite morphing the brand several times, because it’s always been Chris, the audience has stayed with him.
Chris admitted: “Podcasting as a whole, it doesn’t really matter what you call the show. You can morph and change and pivot, it’s part of business. If you’re not changing things up then you’re going to get stuck. But, if you’ve got the audience with you, then they’ll continue on with you.”
To finish up, we asked Chris what’s one thing he gained from podcasting that perhaps surprised him?
“I was pleasantly surprised because of the relationships that I’ve build out of podcasting.
The people that I’ve had come onto my show or the people that’ve invited me to go onto their shows – those relationships with people from all around the world that I’ve become friends with or business associates with from podcasting for the last seven and a half years.
That’s why it’ll never be removed from my content, it will always be front and centre. I might morph or change shows but ultimately I will always produce a podcast and identify myself my podcaster amongst other things.”
It’s the secondary benefit that people often underestimate. The network building. The fact you can just talk to people for an hour and pick their brains on their expert topic – it’s so valuable.
And that’s it for this episode. Thanks to Chris for taking the time to speak to us!