We sat down with Dr. Jeremy Weisz of Rise25 to talk about podcasting.
Leveraging strategy based on our collective 20 years of podcasting experience, Rise25 helps you connect quicker to higher-caliber referral partners, clients, strategic partners, and industry influencers to generate ROI without heavy selling.
Good afternoon and welcome to The Founder’s Corner; we’re here today with Jeremy Weisz from Rise25. Why 25? What’s that all about?
You know it’s interesting, Mike. You’ve heard the adage of rising tides lift all boats, and I always believe in relationships. I always try to give first. That’s the adage of our company – you always want to give first, and the 25 was because one of our clients said, “I feel like with your team and you, I have 25 hours in the day. I have an extra hour. you guys give that to me.” and so. We didn’t have a name for a year when we first started. We just did our thing, helping people launch and run podcasts. And we’re like we should probably have a name at some point, and rise.com was taken. So when someone said the 25 part, I’m like, perfect, it’s much easier to get a domain with a number in it, so we’re going with rise25.
Creating a Referral and Client Pipeline with Podcasting
How long have you guys been around?
My business partner, john Corcoran and I were separately doing podcasting and helping since 2009. we came together around seven years ago. We met randomly in your neck of the woods in San Francisco at a conference.
I noticed on your screen that you have a doctor in your title, and if I recall, I think you were a chiropractor. Is that correct?
Yes, I used to be a chiropractor by trade. My background’s in biochemistry and as a chiropractor has nothing to do with what I do now necessarily, but that’s how I started on the journey. In college, I wanted to be a chiropractor. My dad suffered from terrible neck pain when I was growing up, and doctors told him you have to live with it, and the only thing that helped him was a chiropractor.
I saw him go through that transformation, and I always liked helping people, and nature has that sense of healing, so that’s what I ended up doing.
What got you into podcasts initially?
I was still practicing. When you run a small business like a chiropractic office, you pretty much have to do everything. You have to be the janitor. You have to do the marketing. You have to treat the patient.
I have always loved the marketing aspect of it. I would go to conferences and had nothing to do with chiropractic – digital marketing conferences. But, I met all these digital marketing people on the cutting edge of this stuff. This was back in 2007/2008, and I found this medium, which most people were not talking about, podcasts at the time.
I was liked talking to people. I love finding out the story. I’m so curious, and it just hooked me. So there’s kind of a business reason and a personal basis. The business reason is that I love the forming of relationships. When you run a podcast, you get to talk to fascinating people. You get to tell their story. You get to form relationships with them. So we prefer to do business with our friends and other relationships.
I can chat with Mike. He seems like a great guy. whenever I think of people in e-commerce or needs marketing help or whatever – I need to refer them to Mike and so on.
The personal reason – I think there’s a deeper reason for me: it helps people leave a legacy. It helps my guests leave a legacy, too. My grandfather was a holocaust survivor, and he’s not alive anymore, but the Holocaust Foundation interviewed him and told his story.
He and his brother were in Poland, and they were the only ones in their family to survive and come out of the concentration camps. His story lives on because they interviewed him. I put the interview clips on my about page on Inspired Insider. It’s graphic; I have to warn you. It’s something that my kids will watch. My grandkids will watch. My great-grandkids will hopefully watch. It left a legacy.
So when I go into this medium, I’m always thinking. “this is going to live on.” you’re going to put this on youtube. It’s probably going to run a website, and it will live on. If it could inspire one person to do something, then so be it.
What do you think is the major difference between the audio-only format versus a YouTube video, and why is the consumption different?
That’s a great question because I get that a lot. It’s like, “Jeremy, do I need to do the video part? Because podcasting is stereo, you know? I mean, historically, it’s just the audio, and most people only do the audio. Still, I always say this: “Even if you’re doing just the audio like we’re doing here, turn on your camera and just chat with them, even if it’s the audio because you have more of a personal connection. Now, I always say, “Yeah. You might as well produce the video because it’s already there.
Two reasons. One, it’s just more personal and, when it’s more personal, people can see you; they could see me when they’re looking at it; you just gain a different affinity for someone when you’re watching them and looking at them. And the other thing is people consume on different mediums. Right? Some people only consume on YouTube. People only consume on iTunes or Spotify. So, you want to be everywhere as long as you’re producing the content. You want to be everywhere you can be because people naturally sometimes prefer specific channels.
Even though I have the video, the audio, the podcast on all these channels, sometimes people go to my site and just read the blog post because that’s just how they consume content. The other piece is it’s great for Google because Google owns YouTube, and it’s great for SEO. So, it gets indexed in SEO. I’ve had people where I’ve produced. When you look up their name on three search results on the first page of Google, one of them is the YouTube video because it’s ranking for their name in the SEO. So, one of the exciting things for me has been the audio-only.
It’s interesting, but I remember (for) the longest time there was a DJ out in the Bay Area, and her name was Sterling James, and she had a sort of the late-night Jazz kind of voice. I met Sterling, which was slightly different from what I had expected, but I had created a persona-based solely on her voice. Right? And when I met her in person, she was a lovely lady. I’m sure she’ll never hear this, but it wasn’t what I expected. I had created something in my head. I think, with the audio-only, it does allow you to use your imagination more, especially if (there’s) it’s about storytelling or things like that. When you and I chat, there’s pretty much you. You’re getting what you get. What we are and that kind of thing. So, there is kind of a little bit of magic to the audio.
That’s why I think radio was so powerful for so long because it’s like reading a book. You got to create the characters. You got to build all that. I mean, the other side of things is that you don’t have to worry about what you’re wearing. What your hair looks like or all of that. Or what your background looks like. You just flip it on, and sometimes that makes people feel comfortable. They know they’re not being recorded, but I think it is more personal to release it there. And you do get a sense of someone with it.
So, let’s talk a bit about the mechanics of podcasting and what’s usually the most significant barrier for most people when starting a podcast.
Yeah. There are a few barriers. I mean, technology tends to hold people back. Some of the things that shouldn’t hold people back hold people back. So, technology is straightforward; in my opinion, I keep it very simple. You just need a USB, a mike, and zoom or whatever the technology is. Whenever someone’s watching this, I use Skype with an e-camera call; e-cam call recorder back in the day. And then now zoom is just so easy. We’re already meeting on zoom. There are so many different ways to record anywhere you meet with someone. There’s a way to record it, so there’s no excuse. And people ask me all the time about technology stuff, and this is a 70 microphone ATR 2100. I have another blue Yeti so that you could be all in for 70 to 120. That’s one thing that holds people back. The other is: “What do I talk about? What do I do for the podcast, right?” And, so, they kind of get overwhelmed. And when I say, with the podcasters, there are five different types of content you can produce with the podcasters. I bucket them into five different buckets. One is thought leadership. So, that person’s internal thought leadership and that could be anyone. What I know is there are seven categories. When it comes to thought leadership, one of them is what questions you get a lot of. So, I tell people to use a podcast to save you time, right? So if you find yourself answering the same question repeatedly, like we were talking about here.
I did an episode about some of these pieces because people ask me what they should use to start, like technology-wise. So I’m like, “Okay, I answer this question a lot so you could produce an episode, a comprehensive one that you could send to people to save you time.”
Another one is a background story of you or your expertise. And so there’s a lot of different thought leadership, and sometimes people skew far in one direction or the other.
The second would be strategic partners and referral partners. So other thought leaders in the industry that you wanted to chat with and network with and so thought, when you think of your industry, you’re in strategic partners and thought leaders in that industry. And people you refer business to are probably people you already refer to as a company. Like we were talking. If you’re in the cannabis space, well, who are the people you refer to in the cannabis space. What is the software people are using? What are some of the people in the industry? And then the third is potential clients – when someone’s thinking of working with you.
Someone introduced me to someone the other week for a podcast, and I was like, “this person’s a rock star.” I go, “let’s forget about that. Let’s have a conversation about you starting a podcast.” Let’s just come on my show, and I’ll interview you, and we’ll get to know each other better. It’s kind of like dating. And so, I just kind of said, “don’t worry about it. Let’s just forgo that conversation for now. Let’s get to know each other better. And it was an avenue. I can profile them to be potential client or current client. Or past clients where you’re just interviewing them on their story, but they’re going to say, “oh my God, Mike is the best thing since. Still just, “Mike is the best thing since sliced bread. He did “XYZ,” and it’ll come up naturally in the conversation. And the fifth is different: maybe top-level speakers, authors, and authorities in the space. And it could be a prominent speaker or author in the industry that provides a lot of social proof in the industry, obviously for that. So, as you probably know, I kind of some people skew. Maybe they only do thought leadership. So, they’re only talking about their
Industry thought leadership and then maybe they skew just to get the famous speakers and authors, but there’s a combination of them. So, to answer your question, it’s people. It holds them back from what they do. I do what content. Do I produce? And the technology. Those are the two biggest things and sometimes, surprisingly, a name they have. All those things they have the technology. They have the content, and they’re like, “I don’t have a name of my podcast, and that little thing will hold someone back from ??? and. When I started my “Inspired Insider,” I didn’t have a name for six months. I was like, “I’m not sure what to call this thing.” I just went on. I’m like, “welcome to the podcast, everyone. This is Jeremy Weiss here, and I have the donate domain jeremyweiss.com. And I didn’t even have a name. I was like, “I just wanted to get started now.” Not everyone’s like me. They want to have it all figured out, but I just got started.
The biggest challenge is not producing content but the production aspect of it. So that’s why we look to you guys for production. Because we’d like a nice intro, we’d like you to take out half of the stop words that we use; that sounds horrible. And then just clean it up, package it, and then distribute it right. Because there are 40, 50 platforms that I could potentially be on and don’t know how to get to all of them. So that’s why we returned to Rise25. So maybe you could talk a bit about the production that you guys.
That’s a good point; I forgot to mention that. Yeah. Let’s hope it does hold people. Those were the first initial things I said, which will hold people back, and then once they get into it, they realize there’s a lot of moving pieces in it and that that will stop people. They may start it and be okay, and they may just stop doing it because of that, but yeah, the production you want, in my opinion, as a business owner. And we deal primarily with b2b businesses. So, it would be best to run your business, build your business, and build relationships, and that’s our philosophy, and then we want to take everything off of someone’s plate. So, it should be that we say we’re an easy button for someone to launch and run their podcast. Now the key is to have the strategy in places you know. Like you help people put a strategy in place. A strategy is what makes it profitable and creates ROI, and you’re going to get a lot out of it, but to keep doing it, the other piece of it is the production piece. So, our process is straightforward. You upload the file to a google drive folder, and then we do everything else. So, you want to think about many pieces in the production because it’s not just distribution across the podcast channel.
So, the audio and doing the video, but John Corker and my business partner were speechwriters at the White House under Bill Clinton. So he looks after and [over]sees the content teams. We have writers and editors because you want to have a nice rich blog post, which goes along with it. After all, you want to drive people to your website. Because people who drive people only to listeners only to iTunes or Spotify or Stitcher. You don’t capture any data right, and there’s no other real[ly] data about your company. So, I encourage people. But, if you do have it, you want to make sure there is an asset that lives on your website. So, there are a lot of different moving pieces, and, as a business owner, you want to make sure that you’re not; you’re just building the relationship and running your business.
Yeah, I mean, we tell our clients sort of a similar message about not building on rented land. Don’t rely on a single platform because you can get kicked off Facebook; you can kick off the link and, I’m assuming, you can get kicked off of iTunes if you may not have done anything that you’re even aware of, but for some reason that trips their turn in terms of service and, so, you want to make sure you have that degree of control. So, you can be on all those platforms, but you need to be on your platform.
You’re 100% right. I mean, it happened a couple of weeks ago. For some reason, one of the client’s feeds stopped showing up on Spotify, just for no reason. And we contacted them. They’re like, “oh yeah. There was a glitch, and it just dropped the feed, and it didn’t matter because they were on all the other platforms, plus they were sending people to their website, which has the audio player there. So, it didn’t matter. [There] was no[t] even blip on the radar, but we discovered it, and then we messaged them like, “oh yeah, you need to resubmit and blah blah.” And then it was fine. So, we resubmitted it, but it was just a mistake, a glitch on there. And it just dropped the feed for whatever reason, but you’re right if you were someone who was solely on a platform, people would go crazy thinking, “Oh my God. The world is ending, and how much of the celebrity podcast has boosted the podcast industry.
I mean, there’s been a whole bunch of information about Joe Rogan lately, and those types have helped the podcast industry. Has it given it credibility, or does that undermine it?
It legitimizes it when people see big names that they follow and have a podcast and large companies like Amazon or Spotify making lots of acquisitions. So, we know a lot of acquisitions of different shows as well. And it’s just becoming more mainstream. A client sent me an article from the New York Times – “Jeremy, you got to see this. Four pages feature on podcasting.” So, it’s becoming mainstream, and it’s coming to the forefront of people’s minds. And not just as a consumer, a listener, but as a creator. So, people [are] like, “oh. I can get in. I can have my show, and I could have my platform.
So, it’s no doubt helped the industry and, so, on your platform, I mean on your podcast, what do you chat about? What are your subject matters?
So, my subject matters will shift depending on my interests and what I’m looking to do. For instance, I had someone reach out to me, and this person came out with a book. The PR company was like, “Oh. I have this great guest for you, Jeremy.” And his name was Yuri Adoni, he has a book coming out, and he was a VC in Israel. I’m like, “This guy sounds interesting.” So, I had him on, and then I was like, “Wow. That was fast.” And you know this, Mike, because you know the VC world. I didn’t at all, so I interviewed him. Then I thought, “This was fascinating. I want to interview more of the venture capitalists.” They have their hands in so many different companies, and they see it all. I want to get inside their mind. Why do they invest, and why they don’t support. This led me to where I am now. I said, “Yuri, who else should I have on who is in the VC world. You’re in the VC world.” And he immediately introduced me to many people, so I went down this venture capitalist route. So, it could depend on just what I find interesting.
I could stumble upon it, or it could be something I like. I enjoy learning about agencies. So, I will have top agencies on and learn from some of the best in the world. So, it will depend. Right now, it’s more kind of venture capital top agencies, but I’ve had the founders of P90x Atari, Einstein Bagels, and Orlando Magic on because I find the story is fascinating. So it is kind of whatever strikes your fancy and the same things with you, right? So, whatever tends to strike your fancy that month, you can go deep into that topic. What I’ve found is a great guest. I’ll throw out a topic, and they’ll just go with it. They’ll run with it.
However, recently I had a guest asking them something, and they’d give me a yes or no response. So, how do you deal with that? How do you deal with a guest that was not forthcoming? They are not difficult; it is personality. How do you help the guests sort of open up? Because otherwise, it’s just not all that compelling
That is a great question, and it kind of goes back to the root. Sometimes for people and on some podcasts, they’ll only have people on that they can listen to them. They’ve been on another podcast. They’re on YouTube doing a speech or talk or something like that, and so they can hear them, and they can go, “okay. This would be a good guest, and they won’t have people who don’t have some kind of clip of them speaking because they’re worried about that. They’re worried about having someone on that was just going to go, “yes, Mike, yep,” and then you’re like, “oh, I don’t even know where to take this.” So, let’s say you didn’t know that, and the person shows up at the show. A little research goes a long way a lot of times. And so, one, I have some “go-to questions. I don’t script it like you. I kind of just keep it free-flowing, but I do have a bank of questions. I ask that I have that that tends to produce some kind of good story. Okay, so if let’s say there’s a lull in the conversation, I can kind of throw a dart at one of these things anywhere in the conversation and ask it. And I also may have their LinkedIn page up to see if anything is interesting there. There was one guest I had the other day. This person was a pastor for 17 years and now is in digital marketing. I’m like, “yeah. Tell me the story.” And sometimes, just by saying tell me the story of how you went from here to there, they have to tell a story because it’s some kind of journey. So, they can’t give a “yes” or “no.” I’ll give you an example of one of the questions I throw; I will typically have it in front of me if I throw a dart at it. So, in case I need to reference it.
Still, one would maybe tell me like, “a big challenge you had in your career,” or it could be, “tell me a big milestone that you were proud of in your career,” and it depends obviously what career they’re in and what they’re sometimes doing. Just taking one point in their journey and another point in their journey and I will ask, “how did you get from here to there” And they can’t say ‘yep.” So, it makes them tell a story, but there are definite ways to create a dialogue. I find that if you direct them to a particular point in time, it allows them to visualize it. So, it kind of goes into research, whereas if you have their “About” page or LinkedIn page up, you could say, Why did you get your p? Why did you. The other day, I also had someone. They did computer science for five years, and then they were an agency owner; I’m like, “why did you do computer science?” And they went into this whole story. So, those are some tips I use to talk about the art and science of getting content. I like drawing content out of people.
So, tell us a bit of the benefit of hiring Rise25 instead of doing it myself?
I think it’s with anything. If you hire someone or a team or a company that’s been doing something for over a decade, you shortcut things. If you could shortcut the time and produce something that will create ROI and get someone’s your company’s decade of experience. I do that all day long. I want to stay in my lane, personally. If there are Facebook ads or YouTubers, I am not an expert. Any of that. I want to gain their expertise and not spend extra time and money. I [would] waste[d] money if I tried to do it myself. So, I am a big proponent of mentorship and hiring the experts, and so we help people put a strategy in place. So. it makes sense for their business. It’s not just hitting the record and putting it up online. It’s creating that foundation of making sure it creates ROI for the company, and then the second piece is getting all of the minutia and details off of your plate, or your team’s plate, so they can focus on building the relationships and running the business, which is really what they’re for. So, I’m always a big proponent of hiring outside experts who are: “this is what they do, and this is all they do.”
Yeah. I would agree. We tend to tell our folks that. Why did you launch your business, and now they’ll go into why. And very rarely did they tell us it was they wanted to do digital marketing or because they tried to figure out how to rank on Google. That’s not why they launched their business.
We try to let them go back to why they launched their business and worry about the details. Let us figure all that other stuff out so that you can focus on that; plus, it tends to be just a better use of their time as a rule. You guys have put the experience and time into understanding podcasting and learning to podcast. It may not take me as long because things had moved along considerably from when you started, but it’s still going to take me a long time, and, in the meantime, I’m not working on my business. I’m not working and focusing on growing my business. I’m trying to figure out like, “how do I get them launched on Spotify? That’s probably not the best use of my time. I’m a big proponent in all parts of my life of doing the same thing that I preach, even if it is something I can do. I can probably fix something around my house that my wife wants me to fix. Do I want to do it? And should I be doing it? So, if I can, I’d rather have someone else do it who’s more of an expert than I am.
My favorite story is the plumber that comes out, and the woman hires the plumber because her water heater is not working. So then he goes downstairs; he tinkles with it for five, six minutes, then hits it with the back of his wrench, and it’s up and running. He then hands her a bill for 100 bucks. She’s like, “oh my God. You’re charging me a hundred dollars for five minutes of work. He responds, “No, I’m charging you 100 bucks for ten years worth of knowledge.
Yeah. Exactly. I love that.
Where can people learn more about Rise25?
Yeah. You can go to rise25.com. John and I are bantering like an old married couple on a video on the home page. You can watch it. We talked about how to get ROI with the podcast. You can go to inspiredinsider.com and check out some episodes there of great people as well.
I can attest that you guys send out newsletters and emails with helpful tips regularly, which I’ve started to read, surprisingly.
So, I know that you support the folks working with you and provide them helpful benefit tips and things like producing the content.
We have so much free content. People can consume to learn more on our podcast. So, I
encourage people to go there and learn even if they’ve thought about starting a podcast. We share a lot of our thoughts and methodologies on the podcast.
Well, we very much appreciate you spending some time with us. Check out rise25.com and all of their free tips, and if you’re thinking about podcasts and you’re not sure where to get started, Jeremy will more than be willing to help you out there.
Again, thanks, Jeremy. Thanks for being in the founders’ corner, and we look forward to revisiting you. Thanks, everyone!