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Tom Schwab is the Founder and Chief Evangelist Officer of Interview Valet.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
on with us right now. We've got Tom Schwab, Tom, you are the founder and Chief Evangelist Officer for Interview Valet. You're on the web at interview valet calm. Thank you so much for joining us, Josh. I am thrilled to be here. So I think this is like our third attempt at actually recording a podcast because you and I have been friends for a long time. We're you know, kind of been in the podcasting world for a long time. Military Veterans like we get to talking. Our last call. We were talking about half hour into a 45 minute conversation. Well, Tom, what are we? What were we supposed to do on this call? Dad, you know, I love what you do. You know, I love your your, your purpose, your mission behind what you do. I think that what you do is is disruptive in the world of PR, which I absolutely love. So we're going to talk about podcasts to talk about kind of the growth of your own company, how you've been able to grow and scale it, and then we'll kind of geek out a little bit about why being a guest on podcast is such a great opportunity. Perfect. So start off how did you get into this world?
Well, to me, everything is evolutionary, not revolutionary. So you mentioned I was in the Navy, my first job out of college was run a nuclear power plants. So that taught me that everything can be systematized can be processed, made into a process can be refined I always say, you know, our success comes in our systems. And if somebody can't explain their systems to you, they don't understand them they're making, they're making it up every time. So went through and through corporate America, and then had a direct to consumer durable medical equipment company at a HubSpot event. Inbound conference, we were voted the second sex unsexiest product out there. But basically, we used content to build it from a regional player in Michigan, to a national leader and ultimately sold it something called inbound marketing using content to attract engage and delight. And a dozen years ago that used to be guest blogging, right. Instead of putting a blog up on your own site, having it seen by three people will go out to a site that already has lots of listeners or readers. 2014 I decided I wonder if you could use this on podcast interviews. Use it just like guest blogging, get out. There where the audience was, we tested it. It worked great. so great that I thought, it's got to be the personality. It's got to be the niche. There's no way this could work 25 times better than blogs. So we kept testing it, wrote a book about it actually did a course, but never fully released the course. Because people weren't getting results with it. What they told me is, you've given me the cookbook, you've given me the videos, I don't want to be the chef, right? I want to be the guest. You take care of all the rest. So in 2015, we started a beta test, a done for you podcast, interview, Marketing Service, took it out of beta in 2016 became interview valet and today we serve over 100, coaches, consultants, authors, we do a lot of virtual book tours, brands, you know, leading companies software as a service. We've got a team of 18 that's all geographically remote because not everybody wants to leave With me in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Now truth be told I am from Kalamazoo. Hi, that's another thing. Of course we have in common, did technically north of Kalamazoo, so a little town called plain wall, which is where you stopped for gas when you're up on your way up to gr. And ice cream. Yeah, right. That's right. Yeah, we do have we're playing well, ice cream. You know, Christy Wilson delk actually talked with her yesterday, and we did a podcast interview, and she spoke really highly of your systems. And so, you know, for someone who's doing this type of work, when you say systems, what does it break that down for? What does that mean? And why is it so critical?
Right? And so people will come to us and say, can you help me get on a podcast? And I always say, Well, if you want better answers, you got to ask better questions, right? Getting on a podcast, there's 850,000 of them, right? You don't need help getting on a podcast, but just getting on a random podcast isn't going to help you. So our system Our way to make the maximum return on investment for our time, our clients time and their money, because both of those are very valuable. So we make sure that we get all of the information that the host needs the right way to pitch them. And then we go through in a very systematic way. We find the podcasts, we've got a system and algorithm to find those right podcasts. We've draw on our experience our database, we've been doing this podcast interview marketing longer than anybody. And we have booked more interviews than any company out there. So you're always learning from that, and tapping into the relationship. So that's one of the things that people always tell us that they're amazed by our systems, right? We've got fortune 500 companies that are amazed at the onboarding process or that everything that they need. Personally, all their interviews are in an online dashboard, they can look at it from their phone. Five minutes before the interview. And to me that's we had to do it that way because we're serving a global audience. We're serving the clients in the Middle East and podcasters. In Australia. We can't tell them hey, call us Monday through Friday, East Coast time on nine to five. The world doesn't work that way anymore. Yeah. And so, in terms of you talked about someone who is wanting to get more visibility for the work that they do, well, it's not rocket science on how to be a guest on a podcast. Like they technically I mean, they could just have their Hey as you know, point to their assistant say you you know, go and email a bunch of podcasters and and ask if I would be a great guest for them right. But interview a valet obviously need to approve on that system and kind of talked about that a little bit. But what would be the kind of the the USP or the you know, you know, and you kind of again, you can talk about that a little bit. But why does that interview valet method generate a better return on investment? Yeah. And it really becomes you're tapping into our relationships. You're tapping into our knowledge of the market and our relationships. It's the same way. Regular media, right? If you want to be on The Oprah show, yeah, you can pitch yourself. You can hire a VA, from the Philippines to issue to the Oprah show now it doesn't exist anymore. But what are your chances of getting on there that way? slim to none. Right. We did a study a couple years ago, it's actually 2017. And it showed that the top 20% of podcasts, say yes to cold pitches, less than 1% of the time. Those shows that you want to be on. You know, Pat Flynn, great podcast, voted podcaster of the year on having dinner with him and he told me, they get pitched over 300 times a week to be on a show. They don't even look at the pitches. No Because they don't take cold pitches. So, you know, you could spend a lot of time trying to get on the right podcast, and it'll never work, you really need that insight of what podcasts are best for you. And then also to tap into those personal, personal relationships so that you can get that introduction because at the end of the day, you know, there's three types of people that podcasters one on their show, their friends, their friends of friends, and people, they want to be their friends. Nowhere in there, does it say cold pitches,
right. So, you know, being a guest on a podcast is one thing and you can, sure, you know, you can get that visibility, but the visibility is just one benefit to being a guest on a podcast. What are the other benefits that you share with your clients in terms of No, here's why you want to be a guest.
Yeah, and you're right. Visibility is where most people stop. Yeah, and I view that like a firework going up. It makes it flashes like, Oh, that was pretty. And then afterwards, nothing comes in. Right? So you've got to go beyond that. So our algorithm looks at a lot of things. One of it is the website, every one of these podcasts should have show notes and should be linking back to you. Right? Because that's going to help your organic search. We've got some clients that are just doing it for the SEO value. The other thing too, is what we have learned from all of our testing is there's a system to getting people to go from being a passive listener to an active visitor to your site, and then an engaged lead. So many people just go wow, I had a great interview. Well, what was your point? Where did you take them for more information? Did you send them to a dedicated welcome page? Did you make it easy for them? I've heard so many interviews where they'll never mention the name of their site. They never mentioned the name of their book, or when people say how to get in touch with you. Yeah, it's come sign up for my newsletter or they'll they'll rattle off everything. Free social media spot they are and our testings always shown, send them to one place. So like, you know, you'd say go to interview valet calm, or slash TTP for the thoughtful entrepreneur and everything Josh and I talked about make is there make it easy for them. And it's those little things that make the difference between people. You know, just getting a podcast interview and growing their business out of it.
Yeah, for sure. do you what do you recommend in terms of if I'm a podcast? Guest? Should I come bearing gifts? Or should you know what talk about like that call to action at the end? And I think honestly, a lot of guests really dropped the ball on this. And, and
I say they dropped the ball because they're not helping the audience. Right? To me, the call to action is not by my stuff. It's what can you do to help the person right? Yeah, podcasts are an awful place to sell, but they're a wonderful place to earn the respect away. And trust of people that might buy. So you know, every Digital Marketer will tell you one call to action. I don't disagree with them. But every time we have tested this, three calls to action always work best from a podcast interview. It's almost like having a discussion from the stage. Right? meet people where they are. So give them a small Yes, right. Give them something that's a quick win, maybe come back, listen to my podcast for us. I always give, you know checklist. You know, in the military. Remember, we said checklists are written in blood? Yeah, somebody else's blood. All right. So there's a checklist that we give to all of our clients on how to be a great podcast guests. So no money on it, right? It's a quick win. The medium Yes. could always be to build the relationship, right. So maybe it's a face to camera video. For me. I always give away a free copy of my book, you know, podcast guests profits, how to grow your business with a targeted interview strategy. Not that it's costing anything but it's more about investment on their time. And then the heck yes. You know, we got the small Yes, the medium Yes. And the heck yes. Somebody listened to you for, you know, 15 minutes 45 minutes I and they're like, wow, Tom understands me interview ballet helps people like me, well don't slow him down in a funnel, let him Let him talk to you. So for us the big yes is always, you know, have a discovery call get on my calendar or something like that. And so for a lot of our clients, it's the same way. You know, if you've got a hot lead, what would you do with them? What would be the next step?
Yeah. So Tom, what have you done to scale your business? Obviously, there's, you know, there's people that try to do this. Obviously, there's freelancers that will be like okay, I'm gonna go out and get you some podcast guests spots, you know, that sort of thing. But interview valet has really kind of soared above most everybody else. And so what what do you do for client acquisition?
Well, I think before we even did client acquisition, we had to go back and say how do you scale a team? And how do you scale a remote team? Because one of the things that we noticed was, the bigger your team gets. The bigger your Rolodex gets, right, the more relationships, you can nurture. But you've also have to have the infrastructure so that everybody is communicating and sharing their information. And that was a struggle for us. I mean, we've got 18 people now, when we had five, I can still remember this Jamie masters from Eventual Millionaire, great podcast are great friend. She called me on a Friday night. She said, you know, Tom, I love you. I love your company, but you're wearing me out. She said, I got pitched from five different people on your team, everyone on our team that week, and we're like, No, we've got to give a one to one. Yeah, relationship. Right now we've got, you know, the podcasters have a one to one relationship. The clients have a one to one relationship. And then we've built the infrastructure. So that we communicate internally on all of that, so it's a much better experience. And that's really what we had to focus on and build and, and master before we've scaled, and that is, we've got that that was more or less the 2019. Early project, right? That is awesome. And now we're just really, really scaling up. We still get 70% of our clients come from personal referrals. That could be from podcasters. from hearing me on podcasts, you know, podcasts or interviews work. I'm on, you know, usually three or four podcasts a week. And then we'll also get them from current clients that refer other people. We're starting to,
well, that's so so you eat your own. You eat your own dog food, then.
Oh, yeah. I mean, it's the Kool Aid works. Yeah.
And so, moving forward, I mean, where do you see, I mean, is this something that you see is just going to continue to grow is are we is are supplying, you know, think about the supply and demand of, you know, interview shows versus guests, you know more and more guests that are wanting to realizing the value and power of this. Where do you see what do you see happening over the next three years?
I think it's a good the the
industry is going to mature right now, the analytics aren't really good. And it's like the gold rush. The maps aren't really good. And that's a good thing and a bad thing. Right? So for the people that understand it, it's the Gold Rush, right? We've got software as a service companies that come to us that know their numbers and track their numbers. And they tell us their cost of lead acquisition cost of customer acquisition is the best they've ever seen. They're the ones that are going out there and doing it. Other people are like, Well, I'm not sure if it works. Well wait a few years when all the maps are there, and it won't work nearly as well. So I think this is going to expand even more and more What worries me about the podcasting industry and especially the the booking services, if you want to call them that is there's three types, right? There's the the missionaries, they're the ones that love it were there at the beginning, they'll be there at the end, I consider yourselves a missionary. Right? Now we've gotten the mercenaries, right people to come in for the profits. And there's nothing wrong with that, if they come into the fight to help to because it's profitable. And this is it's growing so quickly, that we can't handle it all. So we need more people in there. And then we've got the looters at the bottom, and that's what always concerns me, right, is you've got the people to come in, just want to take profits, not add anything to it. You know, I get pitched I get pitched probably twice a day to be on my podcast. And some of it comes from people that have paid an agency to pitch them on shows. And it starts dear Tom. We love your podcast. Cast would love to be on it. Well, the problem is, is I don't have a podcast. Yeah. If you're gonna lie to me tell me I'm pretty, but they make the author. Yeah, whoever they're representing look like a joke. When we had one client that hired a firm, and four weeks in, they pitched him to be on his podcast as a guest. And he said the pitch was so bad that he said no to it. So from that standpoint, it's like any industry, right? We all need to take responsibility for this and do it in a way that benefits everyone. And that's, you know, our mission is to personally introduce inspiring thought leaders, to millions of ideal customers, they could serve for the betterment of all and that means the betterment of our client, the betterment of the host, the betterment of the audience and the betterment of interview valet. So that's what I always push on, on podcasting, and anybody that wants to come in the space and add to it man, I'll put my arm around you and help you and show you everything I know. But if you're just here to take from the industry, No, thank you.
Yeah, Tom, what would be a great? Do you have a piece of a great piece of like Epic Content or something that someone can engage and say, you know, as they've been listening to our conversation here, they say, you know, I like this Tom guy, I feel like he has something to teach me. Like what would be a great way for someone to kind of take that next step and engage with you.
You know, I'll put everything right there. That that that welcome page if you want to see what a welcome page looks like, just InterviewValet.com/tte, for the thoughtful entrepreneur. And I'll put the checklist there a free copy of the book, podcast guest profits, sells well on Amazon, but give more away. And then also if it resonated with you if you're like, wow, this sounds this sounds interesting. You know, I think I could use this to break through the obscurity and get my message out there. Well go there to InterviewValet.com/tte and you can jump on my calendar.
That's great All right, Tom Schwab you're the Chief Evangelist at Interview Valet look at this i'm i'm on your your dedicated page that you put together. Here's all the freebies right here. InterviewValet.com/tte Tom, thank you so much.
Thank you, Josh. appreciate all you do.
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