Future-proofing Your Business With Thought Leadership, with Stephen Woessner

August 1, 2020
PRODUCED BY POLLY YAKOVICH

Stephen Woessner is the Founder and CEO of Predictive ROI and the host of the Onward Nation podcast, a top-rated podcast for learning how business owners think, act, and achieve success. Onward Nation is listened to in more than 120 countries around the world. He is the author of three bestselling books including the Amazon #1 Bestseller Profitable Podcasting. He is also a speaker, trainer, and his digital marketing insights have been featured in SUCCESS, Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and other media.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Stephen came from a highly entrepreneurial family, and how he and his team at Predictive ROI help their clients with thought leadership and content monetization
  • What costly mistakes Stephen faced early in the life and growth of his company regarding establishing a vision and values, and how he overcame them
  • How a major cash flow crunch prompted Stephen to launch his Onward Nation podcast, and how that helped the company niche down and specialize in thought leadership
  • Why obstacles and challenges are inevitable in business ownership, and what steps Stephen feels organizations can take to minimize the pain of scaling
  • Why it takes courage and a dedication to bringing value to others to step into the role of a thought leader, and why value matters more than audience size
  • How Stephen's own thought leadership through hosting the Onward Nation podcast has become a cornerstone of Predictive ROI's marketing strategy
  • Why Stephen feels that thought leadership is going to be increasingly important for future-proofing, marketing and scaling businesses in the future
  • Why repurposing, slicing and repackaging thought leadership content is one of the primary trends Stephen sees growing in 2020
  • Stephen shares details about the new book he wrote with co-author Drew McLellan called Sell With Authority

Resources:  

Additional Resources:


Show Transcription:

Intro:

Welcome to A Brave New Podcast. The podcast all about how brave entrepreneurial companies are unlocking their business potential using inbound marketing. Here is your marketing expert and host, Polly Yakovich.

Polly Yakovich:

Hi, this is Polly Yakovich, your host of A Brave New Podcast. Welcome back. Today my guest is Stephen Woessner. Stephen is the CEO of Predictive ROI. They're a digital marketing agency that specializes in producing podcasts. Full Disclosure, they produce this podcast as well. But Stephen and I were able to sit down and talk about many things, amongst them, vision and mission. So he walks you through some really practical steps for how organizations can establish their vision and mission that are really practical, that don't feel pie in the sky, and that really give you some key concepts that you can coalesce around. So without further ado, let me welcome Stephen to the podcast.

Polly Yakovich:

Stephen, thank you so much for joining me today.

Stephen Woessner:

Polly, thanks very much for inviting me. It's a pleasure to be here with your audience and I am really, really looking forward to the conversation.

Polly Yakovich:

Stephen, for those who don't know is the CEO of Predictive ROI. And I'd like to dig into your journey a little bit as owner and CEO of Predictive, but can you just take a couple minutes and introduce yourself to our listeners and not skip any of the juicy details about your career path along the way?

Stephen Woessner:

Well, I am one of 10 grandkids of my grandparents who are immigrants from Greece. My grandfather was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, my grandmother from the island of Evia, just off the coast of Athens, Greece. There're four kids, of course I'm biased because those are my uncle, my aunts and my mother, we're all entrepreneurs. The 10 grandkids, myself included, we've all been entrepreneurs and business owners. So literally Polly, this entrepreneurship, this business ownership, it is truly, I believe in the fabric of my being.

Polly Yakovich:

That's amazing.

Stephen Woessner:

I think it is in my DNA. And so after a career in other agencies and then some time in the private sector, as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin, throughout the UW system and at UW-La Crosse, I decided to start Predictive and wrote a couple of books and actually four now, and it just really built into something quite interesting where we help business owners build their thought leadership and then monetize that content. But always, always, always our focus is, how can we be helpful? How can we be helpful to our audience? How can we be helpful to our clients' audiences? And ultimately, how can we be helpful to our clients? And that's our goal.

Polly Yakovich:

You're also the host of a very successful podcast, Onward Nation. In a recent episode of your podcast, episode 917, for those who might want to go back and check it out, you talk a lot about the mistakes and missteps that you felt you made as you were scaling Predictive. Can you talk a little bit about what you feel like those were and what you would do differently if you were going to do it all over again?

Stephen Woessner:

Gosh, I think probably like most business owners, I could have made that episode like five hours long because, right, if we talked about every single one.

Polly Yakovich:

Let's keep it high level.

Stephen Woessner:

Right. That particular, or in that particular episode, and I chose to air it on January 8th, beginning of the year, so that hopefully some business owners listening wouldn't make the same mistakes that I made. And really those early on issues revolved around vision and making sure that we had stated values, making sure that we had a true mission. And I don't mean like a mission statement that you put on a plaque and stick in a conference room, that's not bad. I'm trying to sound disparaging, but I mean, something that was truly, that were building the business from, that we were hiring from, that we were firing from, that we were onboarding clients according to. And we didn't do that.

Stephen Woessner:

In fact, we didn't start to do that until like year six into the business. Predictive is now 10 years old. And when I think back of all the time and money that we wasted, that we lost, that we, we all have been in this situation before. I'm making a big assumption here, so big, broad statement. Most business owners in my experience have had the issue of, geez, I shouldn't have taken on that client. I took on the client because I needed to make payroll or I had to pay this big expense. So I took that job or that project, that whatever. And then ultimately it's like, oh my gosh, they drove me crazy. They're not the right fit for us.

Stephen Woessner:

And then do it time and time again out of desperation. And we made those mistakes too. And it cost us a lot of time and a lot of money. So then thankfully with the help of some very, very smart mentors of ours, Drew McLellan, Brett Gilliland, we learned the value of vision and what having a purpose meant, what having values meant, what having mission meant. And then actually charting out a course of where we're going to go over the next several years and then putting the right people in place. We're now a team of 16 people to make it happen.

Polly Yakovich:

Unpack this for me a little bit, because conceptually, we all know what these words mean, like finding what your niche is and establishing what kind of clients you like and your vision, but how does that, can you share your vision with us? What is the vision of Predictive ROI?

Stephen Woessner:

Okay, sure. Great question. So thank you for that. One of the things that I had to learn was like, I thought vision was well, we are going to be the biggest, whatever. And actually, we learned this lesson from Jim Collins. Jim Collins is the author of, really well known for Good to Great, Built to Last or whatever. Well, some of Jim's earlier work, and there's one book in particular that I think is phenomenal, really lesser known, but it's called Beyond Entrepreneurship. It's phenomenal.

Polly Yakovich:

Yes. I learned this from your podcast and I put it on my list. I hadn't heard of it before.

Stephen Woessner:

Yeah. It has like 40 reviews on Amazon instead of 3000 like Good to Great. I mean, no one's heard of this book and it's exceptional. So in the book, in chapter two in particular, he explains how vision is actually three components, three important components. And the first one is, what's the purpose of the business? The second one is, what are the values that the business should be holding to and what in the promise is wrapped up in those values? And then the third is, what's the mission? And so he goes on to describe that the mission is something that you will, or the purpose is something you will never, ever actually attain.

Stephen Woessner:

It's something you aspire to, but then the values, every single day, you're living out the values by working with your clients on what are those. And then the mission is something you will accomplish within a three or five year timeframe and then you develop a new one. So the vision, excuse me, the purpose, the first building block of vision, the purpose for Predictive ROI is to simplify business development for business owners. That's it. That is what our purpose is. That's why we exist, to simplify business development. Then we have five core values that our team lives out every single day. And they're right in front of our clients.

Stephen Woessner:

We use words like grateful, we are grateful. That's value number one. Value number two is, life is not static. Value number three is, we win as a team. Value number four is, we can always be better. And value number five is, no job is too small and not mine. So we are a cohesive team. We look for ways to live our values out in front of our clients every single day and amongst ourselves. And then when we catch each other living out our values, we say, "Hey Polly, way to win like a team." We win together, Polly. That was awesome how you did that. Okay.

Stephen Woessner:

And then the mission, our mission right now that we're on, our five-year mission is to help 300 business owners build their thought leadership and monetize the content by 2025. And if we do that successfully, that'll take us from a $2 million company that we'll be in 2020 to a $10 million company in 2025.

Polly Yakovich:

That's fantastic.

Stephen Woessner:

So learning these lessons from Jim was like, ah, and then being able to put that together with what we've learned from Drew and Brett, made it really concrete for us.

Polly Yakovich:

I think that's great because I think that it's a very specific. And most of the time, I think people are throwing around questions like, what's your purpose? What's your why? And it feels like it has to be this really altruistic, massive thing. And coming from the nonprofit world, those kinds of, what's your why and what's your purpose were very much like, eliminate hunger, eliminate poverty, bring water to everyone in a place, things like that. And so over here on the B2B side, it always feels like, well, what's my purpose? And so what you just described I think is very attainable and doesn't feel like it has to be this like changing the way the world uses software.

Polly Yakovich:

It doesn't have to be this pie in the sky thing, but can be really practical and broken down. I think one of the things that you alluded to as you were talking is like your purpose and your mission are very aligned around your specific product offering. As you grew Predictive, how did you really hone in on your niche? Because this is again, another buzzword right now is everyone's talking about getting specific and finding, in most cases like a particular vertical or a particular product. And as a business owner, it feels a little bit like you have to do some things to learn what it is that is really your niche and what you're good at.

Polly Yakovich:

So what's that balance of trying enough things to figure out what you're really good at and what you like to do? And then how do you make that path to specificity for your clients?

Stephen Woessner:

Okay. This fits into the category of juicy and I would love to say that the whole thought leadership path that we're on, the monetization of content, all of that was like grand design. However, the reality is that five and a half-ish years ago, Predictive was in a real tight spot. On January 2014, we canceled an event that we had guaranteed with Ritz-Carlton that we're going to have 350 room nights times three. So a thousand room nights, we had a $2 million operating budget and we had a contract of about 250 to $300,000 with Ritz itself. And then we had to cancel it cause we sold three seats out of 350.

Polly Yakovich:

Oof.

Stephen Woessner:

Yeah. And when you cancel a big contract like that with a Marriott, they say, "Oh gosh, that's too bad. Here's your final invoice because you still owe us that money." That cost us $100,000 dollars in real cash. No, excuse me, 140 some thousand dollars in real cash-

Polly Yakovich:

Oh, boy.

Stephen Woessner:

... out of pocket, paid it all, every single dime. But that really then impacted the cashflow of the business. Obviously we're a small company and that's a lot of money. And then also we started having some issues with the business model itself and I'm thinking, geez, Eric, my business partner and I, we came back and lost one of our large clients in May of that year. And it was like, oh my gosh, what are we going to do? We're overstaffed. And so then I decided to launch a podcast, purely a hail Mary out of desperation.

Stephen Woessner:

And thankfully, praise God that two months later, one of my guests said, "Hey, could you do that for me?" And I'm like, "Do what for you?" He's like, "Can you launch me a podcast?" I'm like, "Yes, we can. Absolutely." Thinking, how much would he pay?

Polly Yakovich:

Yeah, that's $1 million.

Stephen Woessner:

Right. Exactly. A little Dr. Evil thing there. $1 billion. Then fast forward, we started getting more traction, more traction, more traction around the thought leadership topic and realized, we're kind of good at this. So then we went down that path, but it was by accident. And thankfully it worked out.

Polly Yakovich:

It's affirming to hear because I think A Brave New, we've been around for, I think this is our sixth year now. I was so used to saying five years in 2019 and now I have to upgrade all my terminology. But I think that people talk so much who've been in business a while about how important it is to find that specific niche. But I think the thing that sometimes gets missed in that conversation is like, it is a healthy part of finding that to wander around a little bit and be really smart at what you do and good and have people refer you because they like working with you, but you do have to experiment.

Polly Yakovich:

I sometimes feel like the experiment is skipped over a little bit on the way to like, oh, you have to find this specific niche. That's the way that you're going to make your millions and be really successful and be able to market to folks. I do think there has to be some balance there.

Stephen Woessner:

Agreed. And that's why there's no straight lines in nature. They don't exist. Any straight line that you see was manmade. And I think it's, whether God has a sense of humor or whatever it is, the reality is, every tree grows crooked. No matter how great and magnificent the tree is, it's crooked. Every single peak, summit, big mountain, Mount Everest, there's not a straight line on Mount Everest. And it's because it's a journey. It's a path, there's hardships along the way. There's great experiences along the way. And so nothing is ever straight. There's no A to B, yay, successful pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, it doesn't exist. And to think that it does is just being completely unrealistic.

Polly Yakovich:

So then to circle back to our earlier conversation, if you were to do things over again as you were building and scaling your business, how would you have minimized your time wandering in the wilderness or what's the, there's right answer obviously, but what do you think is a better kind of blend? Because I do worry about over narrowing yourself. What if you had narrowed yourself and chosen a niche because people told you to before you had stumbled on how great you were at producing podcasts? Side note, also producing this podcast called Disclosure.

Stephen Woessner:

I think my, well, my first reaction to that is, oh gosh, I'd love to have minimized some of the pain.

Polly Yakovich:

Yes.

Stephen Woessner:

I'd love to have some of that money back-

Polly Yakovich:

Of course.

Stephen Woessner:

... because that would be really helpful to be building the business that we have today. But the reality is we have the business today because of all that pain and because of all those lessons, although difficult to have learned them. The sacrifices that my wife and I and daughter had to make, all of that is all part of the story. So would I have loved to have had some of the sleepless nights gone? Of course. Would I have loved to have not had my wife's stressing about Jesus, are you going to get paid this month? Of course, I would have loved to have avoided that. But I tell you that now we moved into our new house two months ago.

Stephen Woessner:

Now my wife looks at me and says, "Oh my gosh, the business is so much different today than it was four years ago, five years ago. And it feels amazing.

Polly Yakovich:

And it probably wouldn't feel as sweet without the struggle.

Stephen Woessner:

Amen.

Polly Yakovich:

That's the hard part of it I think.

Stephen Woessner:

I agree with you.

Polly Yakovich:

We're all trying to minimize the struggle, but the struggle is what makes it so special.

Stephen Woessner:

Isn't it interesting? Right. I'm in Ohio right now as you and I were talking about in the pre interview chat. And so I got a chance to work out with some of my cousins. And so they go to Powerhouse Fitness here in Kent, Ohio, and all kinds of super strong and beautiful, amazing people there in the mornings. And it's like, wow, well, none of that happened by accident. They're there every single morning working out hard. Or we look at some of the Olympic champions, the Olympics are coming up and the 2020 Olympics, those people didn't wake up one day and say, "You know what, I'm going to be an Olympian."

Stephen Woessner:

They may have had that thought, but they certainly couldn't perform at that level. But yet in business, somehow we think, never going to fail, never going to make a mistake, and I'm going to run a seven figure business starting next week. No.

Polly Yakovich:

Or I think we think when we hit some of those bumps that we're not cut out for it, or we're not doing the right things. And it's that persistence that really shows who is going to get there in the end.

Stephen Woessner:

Could you imagine what the world of skiing, the world of downhill skiing would be missing out if Lindsey Vonn had one crash and said, "You know what, I'm not cut out for Alpine skiing?"

Polly Yakovich:

Yeah. Or one of like thousands with broken bones.

Stephen Woessner:

Right.

Polly Yakovich:

Yep. Amazing. Well, so like in this genre, scaling is hard. It's so painful, we're in this place right now, a few years behind you, but what can organizations do to make that scaling process feel slightly less painful? Obviously the pain is important, but what do you think are some good lessons that you've learned about scaling that people could use to just like maybe diminish that pain 10%?

Stephen Woessner:

The first one for me was a lesson actually that our mutual friend Drew McLellan talked to me and that was, slow is fine.

Polly Yakovich:

Yeah. That's tough.

Stephen Woessner:

Right. Slow is fine. And that it does take time. I had this grand delusion that in 10 years, we're going to build a hundred million dollar company and whatever. And he's like, why? Like, why do you want to do that?

Polly Yakovich:

Isn't it annoying when he asks those questions?

Stephen Woessner:

Right. With the raised eyebrow. And I realized that the only reason that that target was there was for my own ego, not because of our actual purpose, values, and mission. And so getting clear on that then helped us adjust a realistic goal and a realistic timeline. So I think oftentimes business owners are like, "Well, I'm going to have the biggest dah, dah, dah, whatever," and there's no real purpose behind that other than just satisfying their own ego. So the first thing is, slow is fine. Second thing is, get truly clear on what matters. And then three years, have a realistic plan that accomplishes that. And realizing that it doesn't have to be fast.

Polly Yakovich:

Do you as an owner come up with a vision regularly, annually, every five years about what you are trying to accomplish personally because of your business, that sort of helps feed some of those late nights or hiccups or getting through the pain points?

Stephen Woessner:

Hmm. I wish I had it with me now that I could show you the visual. So our mission won't change until we've accomplished this at the end of 2025. And there's base camps along the way with metrics along the way. And so once we reach the summit, then we will change the mission to whatever that next grand mission is. But we're not reinventing the mission at every base camp. Because then that leads to the aimlessly wandering through the wilderness and not productive.

Polly Yakovich:

So then do you connect that personally to yourself? Like, I want the business to grow this way so that I can personally do these other things or I can achieve these personal goals that I have, whether that's akin to the business through thought leadership or other kind of personal things. Do you go through that exercise and sort of link that up yourself?

Stephen Woessner:

Absolutely. Because that's one of the good fortunes or why we take the risk. Why you and Josh take the risk of A Brave New.

Polly Yakovich:

Yeah. Josh has to get his winery in France. That's why he's doing it.

Stephen Woessner:

Well, so are you kidding or is that really the thing?

Polly Yakovich:

I feel like I'm 70% serious. I don't know if it's ever going to happen, but he really does want it.

Stephen Woessner:

But that's the point, right?

Polly Yakovich:

Yeah.

Stephen Woessner:

I mean, you guys have put a lot on the line, I have, Eric, my business partner has. All business owners do. Well, there has to be a reward for doing it. And so when we reach our mission at 2025, Does that then put me in a better position with all of my personal goals outside of the business? Of course, as it should.

Polly Yakovich:

Yeah. That's great. So I wanted to pivot just a little bit, because one of the things that we've touched on is this thought leadership piece. And I feel like this is something else that every business leader or business owner is really thinking and talking about right now. And that is like, do I have to become a thought leader? Should I become a thought leader? Am I a thought leader? And I think for those of us, I'm not talking at all about people who are just starting out in their careers, but for those of us who have, let's just say like me, asking for a friend, like me who have spent around the last 20 years in marketing, have been building businesses including this one, raising a young family.

Polly Yakovich:

For those of us who now start to pivot toward, okay, maybe this is a great way to grow my business and to share with others what I know. What is that path to thought leadership? It feels like a very crowded space. It feels like what more do I have to add to the conversation sometimes? How do you think about that? How do you walk people through that journey?

Stephen Woessner:

So for your audience, I think you're the perfect blueprint. I think you're the perfect example for your audience to look to that here's somebody, so A Brave New Audience. Here's somebody who has decades of experience, here's somebody who is bold enough to launch her own podcast. It takes guts by the way, audience, to do that. I'm not trying to sound patronizing. That's the reality. It takes guts and the reason why it takes guts and why A Brave New Podcast, you do have to be brave to do that is because you're putting yourself out there for both accolades as well as skepticism.

Polly Yakovich:

Right.

Stephen Woessner:

And that's what a thought leader needs to do. But the thought leader also has to come from the heart as you do, of how can I be helpful to the audience? This is not about having a true thought leader in my opinion, it's not about having a million followers on Instagram. This is about having weekly cornerstone content that is truly helpful. Even if it's a small audience, maybe it's a big audience, but even if it's a small audience, because you become that rock in their weekly rhythm of, gosh, Polly's episode last week really made me think about this, this, and that. That was awesome. And now I feel better equipped or better seated this week to deal with this challenge in my business.

Stephen Woessner:

So that's thought leadership. I think we get so caught up in the social media noticing us, of people thumping their chest and their own ego, I've got three million YouTube followers. So what? It's like, how helpful are you to, even if it's a small audience, teaching them something. And then how does that benefit your business? That's I think the key

Polly Yakovich:

That's great. What would you say, this is, again, another pivot out of the random mind of Polly. But what would you say as you have pivoted the business and grown, obviously you use the podcast a lot as your like marketing extension efforts. How did you find that your investment in, quote unquote, 'marketing', how did you align your marketing plan in a way that is bringing you growth, is poised for more growth? What things did you find were important for your company from a marketing perspective?

Polly Yakovich:

Because I think for most of us who are in the agency side, it's sort of like, the cobbler's kids have no shoes. It's very hard to focus on your own marketing even while you're telling other companies that they have to be focused on their marketing. So how did you make that investment and what kind of things did you do?

Stephen Woessner:

Here I think we're blessed early on to define that strategy, both revenue and the strategy going forward at the same time thankfully. So in those couple of months that our show was live and we had one of our guests say, "Hey, could you do that for me?" And we said yes. And then the extension to that story is, about a couple months after that, he came back to me, we're having a conversation that night. And I should also, since we've talked about Drew, I should say it was Drew.

Polly Yakovich:

Oh yeah. Great.

Stephen Woessner:

And so a couple of months later, he and I were talking about his show and our show and he said, "Look, build a better agency, my podcast. It's awesome." And I said, "Okay, well, thanks. I'm glad." And he does an exceptional job. And then he's like, "And your show, it's awesome." I said, "Okay, well, thanks." He goes, "Why in the world are you not doing this for more people?" I said, "Who would we do this for?" He's like, "Oh my gosh, you've now..." because at that time Onward Nation was five days a week show. He's like, "You've interviewed 200 and some people, get in touch with all of them. They're business owners. They obviously have an affinity for podcasts. And why don't you ask them if they'd like to have their own show?"

Stephen Woessner:

Okay. So in six weeks, we sold $250,000 in podcast related revenue. I'm like, okay. So our strategy was we'll continue producing the show. I will continue inviting the very best business owners who I can invite to be on the show. And then there's a certain percentage of them, like 14% to be exact, that will likely become clients of ours. Not because of some great sales process and pitch and whatever, but because they've had experience with us and they know we run a great show. They see the system behind the curtain, and so then when we talk with them about their own thought leadership, they're like, "Oh, so I get to use the system that you're ..." "Would you like to have that for your brand?" "Yep." Okay.

Stephen Woessner:

So that turned into a really wonderful revenue opportunity for us and we've made it better along the way.

Polly Yakovich:

That's great. So would you say your marketing channels are podcasts first and then other content that is able to be generated from it?

Stephen Woessner:

Yes. So podcast is definitely what Drew and I like to refer to as our hub, it is our hub of cornerstone content. And then the cobblestones that hang off of that would be our weekly videos on YouTube, our blog posts, our articles that you might see in Forbes or we've taken podcast episodes and I've turned those into book chapters. So everything essentially comes from that hub or that mothership of content. And for us, that's Onward Nation.

Polly Yakovich:

Yeah. So for you now, you obviously see the fruits of that labor and you've carved out the time and you wouldn't obviously give it up. But for people that are starting out with spending more time on their own marketing, what would you say to them about dedicating that time? Because that time is a valuable resource when you're building your business.

Stephen Woessner:

Absolutely. I think if a business owner truly is looking to future proof their business, then that revolves around thought leadership and having an audience that you're helpful to. Now, whether they choose to have a podcast or they choose to have a blog or an article series on Forbes, if they're going to be contributor, they choose to write a book or do a research project. There's lots of different ways to come at this aside from just a podcast, maybe somebody is a phenomenal writer and they don't want to do like what you and I are doing right now. That's fine.

Stephen Woessner:

But being helpful to your audience in whichever channel is best fit for your gifts and talents is going to be, I mean, it's almost a must now, is going to be a must if you're truly going to build a scalable business, a profitable business.

Polly Yakovich:

That's great. Tell me, as we get into this new year, what are you excited about this year? What trends are you watching? What sort of initiatives are you taking on as we look into 2020 and obviously beyond, what's top of mind for you?

Stephen Woessner:

Wow. Here again, well, that really makes me think. Okay. So on the sort of inner workings, because you're asking me some questions about that, like the inner workings of Predictive, we're really, really excited about some of the new positions that we've just created and are looking forward to filling. So if I had to guess, I'd say we probably would add about three to five new team members-

Polly Yakovich:

That's great.

Stephen Woessner:

... over the course of the year. So very, very excited about that and all the new gifts and talents and perspectives and just how that will make the team better. And then from like how to be helpful to clients, and this goes back to the trends piece you're talking about, is that I think what we're going to see is more content flowing from the hub, meaning how can we get super strategic? How can we help clients really think of themselves as media companies, not producing one off episodes, but thinking of, okay, as I step into 2020, I'm going to think about the entire editorial calendar and how these next 12 episodes not only going to be awesome episodes for clients, but I'm going to turn those into scripts for video.

Stephen Woessner:

Or I'm going to turn those into scripts for modules, for a new course or a series of courses or webinars or books. So I think that the trend that I'm seeing is how does one thing become 25 things?

Polly Yakovich:

I think that's super smart. What do you think is this, I mean, in this like 300 new podcast score, is there a saturation level for podcasts or are we just going to be doing more and more forever? It feels like people are consuming them like in busters, but-

Stephen Woessner:

Yeah. And the data from Edison Research and NPR, their collaboration, they developed this great report. So your audience can find it if they just Google, I think it's Infinite Dial, that's the name of the report. If they Google Infinite Dial 2019, they'll get the most recent report. I think it's out. And if not, then maybe the 2019 report is going to be released in another month or so. So just Google Infinite Dial 2018. And it's phenomenal research that has been going on for, I want to say 15 years. And what it shows is, actually it's a little disheartening when somebody goes through it. And the reason being is because I think the listeners like to say, "Oh, there's been huge growth in podcasting."

Stephen Woessner:

And there has been, however, when you look at it holistically, across 15 years, what you see is a nice upward trend. No hockey stick spikes. Every year two to 3%, and you'll see that as compared with other media, which is pretty cool fractured, but that podcasting is growing at a nice, steady pace. So the point is that, are there a lot of podcasts? Yes. The last count, 480,000 of them.

Polly Yakovich:

Wow.

Stephen Woessner:

However, most podcasters quit after seven episodes and that's not factored into that number.

Polly Yakovich:

Yes. I've done that before.

Stephen Woessner:

So the vast majority of podcasts or not great and they're not sustainable by the host. So with great content and being consistent, you'll rise to the top because it's really not that competitive.

Polly Yakovich:

That's great. That's fantastic news. I want to just talk about a couple more things before I let you go. One of them is a book that you have that is coming out, is out now that you've written with our friend Drew McLellan. Tell us a little bit about Sell With Authority.

Stephen Woessner:

Well, okay, this is, I think a good illustration of your earlier question around trends. So Drew and I taught a workshop actually two years ago about thought leadership, building cornerstone content, slicing and dicing and cobblestones and all of that. And then we said to each other, "Hey, as we're prepping for the workshop, do we think, I wonder, let's ask participants, attendees of the workshop, "Would they mind if we actually recorded it?"" Not that we're going to use the videos, but maybe we could transcribe it and maybe we could turn it into a book. So we did. And so the workshop was so robust with all the Q&A, and the examples and all of that, like, wow, the questions that everybody was asking, these are awesome.

Stephen Woessner:

These would be great foundational chapters and examples and everything. So it turned into Sell With Authority and it is the absolute roadmap blueprint for, in this case, an agency owner. We specifically wrote it with agency owners in mind, but we're going to chicken soup it. We're going to come out with other versions for different industries. So this is all about, hey Mr. or Mrs. business owner or agency owner, if you want to get serious about future proofing your agency from a thought leadership perspective, this is the recipe to do it. And we've gotten some good feedback so far.

Polly Yakovich:

So I want to close by just asking you one question and I'd love for you to share with our listeners just one thing, it could be a book you've recently read or a tool you're really getting a lot of use out, but like one thing that you would just share that's making an impact on you right now as a marketing leader, as a thought leader, what's something that's changing your work life or changing the way you think about something?

Stephen Woessner:

Gosh, okay. Wow, this is really making me think. Let's see. I want to try to give a non vanilla answer because I think oftentimes people are like, "Oh, I read this new book or I have this new morning routine." Okay. So here's what I would say to that. In the last 12 months, and I'm starting to see the dividends now, but this is still a big push for me. I have really, really tried to sit back and let the other two members, very competent fellow leaders on my leadership team, Erik Jensen and Katherine Baessler to step back, and this sounds so dumb and egotistical. So just hang with me for a second, and let them grow into their positions.

Stephen Woessner:

And trusting them enough because I love both of them that they are responsible for their lanes. And my job is to answer questions when they have them and course correct. And now what we've seen is, all three of us have our own specific lanes. Eric is in strategy, he's our chief strategy officer. Kat is our director of operations, and I'm in charge of biz dev. And so the thing, if you will, is really more about process and being respectful of people's lanes. And I can say that in the last three months that we've been doing that, it has been huge for us as a team and I will continue to practice that.

Stephen Woessner:

So the thing really is discipline and faith. And they continue to make me smile and do such a better job than I would have done.

Polly Yakovich:

That's great. And besides developing them, I'm assuming that it also relieves and alleviates some pressure from you to feel like you have to do everything and always have all the answers.

Stephen Woessner:

Yeah. Which I clearly do not have to do that. Right? But I've met many business owners as I'm sure you have, who feel like their team is just a bunch of minions and they're the smartest person in the room, which I know that I am not. And it's lovely to watch my teammates grow and accept the challenges, tell me after a decision has been made, and I love and celebrate them for doing that.

Polly Yakovich:

That's fantastic. Well, thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciate your time and all of the wisdom that you shared with me and our listeners. So thank you.

Stephen Woessner:

Well, thank you again for the invitation. It was a pleasure and joy to be with you. And I hope there was something in our conversation that's going to be helpful to your audience, but thank you again.

Polly Yakovich:

Great.

Outro:

Thanks for listening to this episode of A Brave New Podcast. Go to abravenew.com for more resources and advice. If you enjoyed this episode, show us some love by subscribing, rating, and reviewing A Brave New Podcast wherever you listen to your podcasts.

 

Say Hi

Every big idea starts somewhere. Sometimes all you need is the support of knowledgeable, proactive marketing experts to make it a reality. Find out how A Brave New can help your business. Contact us for a consultation.