As I write this article, it is with a heavy heart and a bit of excitement all at the same time.
Is that even possible? Before this, I might have said no, but now as I live it, I say “yes, without a doubt.”
Let me explain.
You see, I have been part of a podcast that some of you may know very well, called the Hubcast. It is a podcast specific to HubSpot users and believers in the inbound methodology.
Spoiler alert, I will no longer be on the Hubcast or help create Hubcast content as of April 16th, 2018.
Hubcast: Lessons I Learned From Producing 172 Podcast Episodes
You might be wondering, “why?”, but that is a deeper question that is easier to answer over a beer at the next event we see each other at. Or, maybe I’ll chat about it at the end of this article for a bit as well.
How did the Hubcast Begin?
Back on July 31st of 2014, we launched the first episode to the world. It was titled, Hubcast 1: Finally, a Podcast Just for HubSpotters! When I say we, I am of course referencing myself and Marcus Sheridan.
Many times it was at 10 or 11 o'clock at night. More times than not, Marcus was traveling some other part of the world and calling in from a hotel room. Other times, it was me calling in after spending the day at a HubSpot workshop or speaking at an event.
I learned that, when you love what you do, great content can be created outside of normal working hours.
No matter where we were in the world, we made the magic happen for our community of amazing listeners.
But, I’ll talk about them more in a bit.
Right now, I want to share with you the lessons that I learned over 172 episodes of producing, creating and sharing the Hubcast with the world.
Sometimes Your Perceived Weakness is Your Biggest Strength!
When Marcus came to me and said, “George I think we should start a podcast specific to HubSpot users,” I was not immediately excited. As a matter of fact, I was a bit scared.
- I did not know how to produce a podcast.
- I had no clue what we would talk about week after week.
- Most importantly, I HATED my voice.
I always thought my voice was high pitched and squeaky. Inside my own head, it was not considered an asset. But, when your boss says, “What do you think?” I have learned that most times, the answer should be, “Let’s give it a whirl!”
And that’s we did.
Episode after episode, we kept going, talking about email, websites, list segmentation, lead nurturing and so many other topics. Then a couple amazing things happened over time:
- People actually tuned in and wanted to listen to us talk about HubSpot and Inbound strategies. A community was built.
- We started to add a ton of value on a weekly basis for a large community of HubSpot users, agency owners, and even non-HubSpot users. Trust was built.
- I got use to my voice and it became more about them (the community) and less about me. (My perceived weakness)
Then it happened, INBOUND 2015.
I had attended INBOUND since 2012 to learn all the new things around HubSpot, content and growing a business. Each year, I would meet new people doing the same and we would bounce ideas off of each other as we traded business cards.
But, 2015 was different. As I was standing in the airport waiting for my luggage, two guys walked up to me and said the words I’ll never forget.
“Are you George B. Thomas?”
Wait, what …
“Yes, I am. How can I help you?”
“DUDE!!! We listen to you on the Hubcast it is amazing.”
“Yeah, you sound like a radio DJ and everything.”
As I hoped in the cab and headed to my hotel, I could hardly believe what had happened. I had been recognized by complete strangers for the first time in my life. What made that even more strange, was that they greeted me like we were lifelong friends.
Then the words “radio DJ” kept ringing in my brain over and over. But I hated my voice. Were they just being kind? Were they tone deaf?
The next 4 days of INBOUND gave me my answer. I heard people say radio DJ, your voice is soothing and a number of variations that equaled your voice is awesome.
I had to laugh.
I learned that what I thought was my weakest link was actually my strongest asset.
So, as you think about creating or doing something new, please do not fall prey to your own perceptions. Put that thing out to the world and let the world make up its own mind.
Podcasting is a Great Way to Build a Personal Brand, Company Brand and Tons of Trust.
As I said above, I got recognized by complete strangers for the first time ever.
But, it kept happening over and over again.
Over time, my inbox started to fill up with people thanking me for all the help they had gotten from the Hubcast. Then, thanking turned in to clients wanting to be trained on the HubSpot software. As we went on, it turned into workshops and speaking engagements.
Because of the Hubcast, I might be one of the most trusted HubSpot trainers on the planet.
I am both humbled and grateful for that.
Why is this possible?
One thing I quickly figured out was that the more time you spend with someone, the more you start to know, like and trust them. And, people were spending a ton of time with us.
We got emails sent from people hiking up a mountain, driving cross country with their kids and even from folks in the shower.
It was strange and cool at the same time. As people were living their lives, they had Marcus Sheridan and George B. Thomas from the Hubcast in their ears.
It amazes me to look back on it now. I get a little emotional thinking about not only the personal brand journey but the way it impacted The Sales Lion as well.
One of my favorite things Marcus would say on a sales call was about how the podcast had more HubSpot tutorials that possibly HubSpot themselves.
All that content created the perfect storm for us because of one simple truth I learned:
The more they listen the more they trust.
Because of that trust, I learned my next lesson:
You can build trust with a community as well. You just have to get started and keep going.
You can Drive Revenue from a Podcast
As we continued to create quality episodes with useful show notes and hundreds of video tutorials, my own thought leadership was being created right in front of everyone.
Then we decided to offer HubSpot workshops to the world, as well as other training like W.O.W. (workshops on workshop). Because of the Hubcast, we had a community that understood the free value that we had been bringing them. When we offered up options for paid value for many of them it was a no-brainer.
As a matter of fact, in 2016, we did well over six figures of income from the podcast. What you might not know, is that at that point, we had not even fully started doing sponsorships with third-party companies. Over 90% of the revenue was generated from selling our own workshop and consulting services.
Pretty stinking cool if I do say so myself.
You can do the same with your show, products, and services.
When Educating Others, You Educate Yourself.
One of the things that I live by is being a lifelong learner. I would rather be a learn-it-all VS a know-it-all.
One of the byproducts of the Hubcast, that I did not realize from the beginning, is that it would force me to live this belief.
Every week, I would research what was happening with HubSpot, with the HubSpot Academy, the community on Twitter with hashtags like #HubSpotting, #InboundLearning, #Inbound17 and so many more.
I would come up with HubSpot wish list items, both by myself and with the communities help.
We would create new sections like agency spotlight and #oneThing as needed.
I learned to be flexible with the content. It is all about the person consuming the content. “What problems can we help them solve?” was the question I kept coming back to.
All the while, I was pumping education in my brain, processing it, connecting it to other learnings and pumping it right back out to the community that was waiting for it.
One thing that really helped me with this process was a gift I have. I look at it as one of my major superpowers. You see, I’m able to take the complex and simplify it. And for 172 episodes that is what I tried to do.
I wanted to make INBOUND simple, HubSpot simple, content creation simple, and even Inbound sales, simple. I think I have done a good job at this for the past 172 episodes.
I wish it could be longer but, that is another article for another time.
Last but most definitely not least, I learned my final lesson.
It’s Hard to Say Goodbye to Your Baby
Again, writing this article is bittersweet. While I am excited about the next life adventure I am embarking on, saying goodbye to the Hubcast is hard to do.
It has been a staple in my life for years. The creative outlet, the weekly schedule, the community emails, and so many other things.
Oh, how I will miss the community.
Let me take this moment, this place in time, to just say to any and all Hubcast listeners who read this, thank you.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
May you continue to be successful with your Inbound strategies and your HubSpot tools.
It has been my extreme pleasure for 172 episodes to learn with you.
To connect with you.
To grow with you.
To do some happy HubSpotting with you.
If you have questions specific to the hubcast or HubSpot marketing, sales or service, please leave your comment below or, you can hit me up on Twitter @georgebthomas.
As far as me and podcasting, something tells me I am not even close to being done!
To Be Continued...
Speaker | HubSpot Accredited Trainer | Video Jedi | Podcaster | Inbound Marketer | Listener | Thinker | Strategizer | Consultant | Pretty Darn Handsome
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