July 26

Roger Nairn on How To Grow Your Audience


Roger is a lateral thinker, problem solver, strategist and finder of new ways. He believes in the power of the happy customer and spent years managing client relationships and building brands for world-famous agencies like DDB and Cossette.

Throughout his career, he’s found himself working with a number of industry giants, including (but certainly not limited to) Netflix, Expedia, Walmart, Nordstrom, Lamborghini, Cineplex, Four Seasons Plus and Vancouver’s own lululemon. On top of all of this, he followed his passions to become a Board Member for TEDxVancouver and has recently become an expert-level toddler wrangler through the magic of parenthood. When he’s not at work, he likes to golf, read and—no surprises here—binge the occasional podcast.

[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on The No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let's get started.

Umar Hameed 0:43
Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast where we talk to leaders on how they grow their people themselves and how they grow their revenue. And one of the ways to do that is this newfangled thing called podcasts, maybe it'll catch on, I'm not sure. But today, I'm joined by Roger Nairn, did I pronounce it right?

Roger Nairn 0:58
You nailed it.

Umar Hameed 0:59
The Head-honcho, the Co-Founder at JAR Audio. Roger, welcome to the program.

Roger Nairn 1:04
Thanks so much for having me.

Umar Hameed 1:05
So as we start you, you've got a ton of clients, so we're originally we were using Zencastr as a recording platform. And I do a lot of traveling and you need a laptop for Zencastr so I'm going to Zoom, what are the pluses or minuses?

Roger Nairn 1:23
You know, honestly, there's a number of different services you can use these days. We happen to use Riverside quite a bit.

Umar Hameed 1:29

Roger Nairn 1:29
As I'll say the biggest advantage and disadvantage to each is sort of how, how stable they are? How well they, they manage the sort of background recording and capture? But in our case, you know, we're an agency so we have clients. And, you know, depending on the recording, we can have multiple amounts of those clients that are listening in to the actual interviews that we're doing. And different programs like in the case of Riverside, allow us to sort of segment the different levels of clients that will be in those interviews, you know.

Umar Hameed 2:06

Roger Nairn 2:06
Sometimes want to just listen in someone actually help us direct the interview. And so we can actually put them into different rooms that allow them the flexibility of participation.

Umar Hameed 2:17
Brilliant. And what I found Zencastr is a really good platform, high quality video and high quality audio. But traveling with a backpack, you know, iPad, and iPhone are easy to do once you get a laptop and a big mic like this kicking around, then all of a sudden, you're adding a bunch of pounds.

Roger Nairn 2:35
Fair enough. Yep, for sure.

Umar Hameed 2:37
But ultimately, at the end of the day, it's the value of the information we get from our guests is like critical, and I'm hoping that will overshadow any shortcomings, like the audio can't be bad and the video can't be bad. But what's good enough? I guess, is the question.

Roger Nairn 2:55
Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, you know, when we produce podcasts on behalf of our clients, we're, we zero in on on who that audience is, what do they need? What sort of value are they looking for from the podcast so? Do they need a laugh? Do they need to learn something? Do they need to be educated on something do they need to perhaps hear both sides of an argument? If as long as we're delivering on that, you know, for sure, we want to make sure that the audio is top quality, if we're recording video top quality, but things happen. And I think one of the beautiful things about podcasts is that sort of the personal element of it is that when something does go wrong, or when the audio isn't perfect, the audience understands. What, what we'll always do is set up some context for why the audio is imperfect. So if you're at an airport, in the middle of you know, Manila, and you're traveling, say that, say, "I'm on the road. I'm, you know, I'm traveling," or if we're you know, if we're if we're doing an interview, and we're adding it to an episode, and we don't get an opportunity to get that person in front of a microphone in a, you know, studio or a hotel room or wherever, we'll say we, you know, we had the opportunity to catch up with so and so in the back of a taxi in Mumbai.

Umar Hameed 4:13
Is real life, baby.

Roger Nairn 4:14
Yeah, it's real life. It's real life. You know, that's the great thing. And the flexibility of everything is it and that's one of the things I love about podcasts is it's, it's, it can be as polished as you want it to be, and the audience will appreciate that. But also the audience wants to have humans behind the stories first.

Umar Hameed 4:31
Absolutely. I think on the other side of the coin, actually, audiences won't appreciate that, that's just what's expected. And when it deviates from the norm, if the picture quality is like really, really good, it's like, "Hey, wait a minute, that's kind of cool," or if it's really bad, it's like ,"That sucks". So let's talk about...

Roger Nairn 4:44
Hard to listen or hard to watch. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 4:46
What is the distinction between radio and podcasts? Like to me, podcasts is just another form of radio that is portable. So your read on it, is it same thing? is it totally different?

Roger Nairn 4:59
Well, first of all, you know, nine times out of 10 a podcast is not live. It's, it's, it's, it's recorded and edited, which is something you don't get as much with radio, I mean, more and more these days, you do see radio being a little bit more scripted and recorded and, but it's not, it's not. So...

Umar Hameed 5:17
It's not live.

Roger Nairn 5:18
It's not live. And so that allows us the ability to incorporate, incorporate a little bit more audio, you know, audio texture, let's call it. And be a little bit more mindful of how the conversation is sort of stitch together. But you nailed it, the biggest pieces is that, you know, podcasts are, are mostly portable, although with the pandemic, we've seen a lot more desktop usage and things like that. The biggest thing, though, is that any podcasts you're listening to, you're listening to the RSS feed of that podcast. And what, what are set, what RSS stands for is real simple, real simple syndication. And essentially, you know, one way to look at it is that you're subscribing to a feed and anytime new content is added to that feed, it's automatically being pushed to you. So that's something you don't get with radio. Radios are very much, you know, sort of appointment style, listening. Now, sometimes you'll listen to an old episode of a radio broadcast, but then the question becomes, at that point, does it become a podcast?

Umar Hameed 6:22

Roger Nairn 6:23
So [garbled] there's definitely a blending of the two and I think that's great. You know, good audio quality is good audio quality. And I even to this day, will listen to some stuff on the radio, especially if it's, you know, live sports or anything that has that timeliness to it. But generally, a podcast doesn't have that timeliness to it. And so it allows you to just be a little bit more mindful of that.

Umar Hameed 6:45
Brilliant. So one of the interesting things that I noticed is that you've got some hosts, like their mandate to be smart. And maybe a better host is it's my mandate to make the guests look smart. And so how do you do that? How do you do both?

Roger Nairn 7:02

Umar Hameed 7:03
How do I make myself more important than you? What does that sound like and what's that like? And more importantly, how do I shine the spotlight on my guest? Thoughts on that?

Roger Nairn 7:13
Well, again, you know, the, the number one thing you should be doing as a podcaster, is doing what's right for the listener. So, and you're not gonna really know until you either have done your research, or you've talked to that audience, or you've done some episodes and learn from them. So most of the time, you're a host, who is advocating on behalf of the listener. And so you're sort of the, the...

Umar Hameed 7:38
The proxy that asks the questions?

Roger Nairn 7:40
You're the quarterback of the conversation, you know, you're you're making sure that the right information is being drawn out of the guests. You're, you're, you know, if something is perhaps needing a little bit more of an explanation or a deep dive, again, you're thinking about what would the audience need at this point, you're drawing that out of the out of the out of the guests, you're bringing that to the to the fore so that the audience is able to learn from it. Now, some guests are, sorry, some hosts have a background, which is worthy of a lot more focus on them. You know, John Stackhouse, who's the host of RBCs disruptors podcast is an incredible mind and thought leader when it comes to economy, Canadian economy. Very few people know more about him. He's written a lot of books on the topic, he understands the ins and outs of Canadians and the Canadian economy. So it only makes sense that he's also providing his point of view on

Umar Hameed 8:31
Makes sense. Yup.

Roger Nairn 8:33
If it's a more sort of like celebrity driven type show where there's more of like an entertainment aspect, yes, you're gonna get great content from the guests. But if your host is a comedian, they're also going to be funny. And that's also going to be entertaining for the, for the audience, as well. So again, it very much goes back to what's right for the for the audience, and then you deliver it that way.

Umar Hameed 8:53
Brilliant. So as you bring on new clients, for some of them thought of podcasting, very scary.

Roger Nairn 8:59

Umar Hameed 8:59
So I'm gonna queue them up here, then we'll take them one by one. Two, is they need to learn the craft of being a good host. And three, you know, if a tree falls in the forest, and no one's there to hear, it didn't really fall in a podcast episode, and nobody heard it, so how do we get audience? So number one, the fear, number two, the skills, number three, the expansion of your listener base?

Roger Nairn 9:24
Yeah. So go and go into the fear side of things, you know, at the, at the, you know, at the, the most naked form of what we're doing is telling great stories and delivering great content to listener. Now, how we deliver that is going to be up to a collaborative effort of, of my team and the client. And clients can be as involved or as little involved as possible. But you know, similar to writing a blog post or producing a newsletter or putting social content out there, it's going to come down to sort of what are we trying to accomplish and how do we want to accomplish it. And so we have a really strong program. It's an eight step program that we apply to not only the show, but every episode as well so clients are tapping into us as a service. We're working on everything from the concept to the podcast, all the research that goes behind it to finding the right host, finding and booking all the right guests, pre-interviewing those guests, writing all the proper question lines for the actual interview, recording the interview, editing the interview, applying music and sound effects and editing properly. And then the full marketing side of that as well. Your second question around sort of the host, honestly, nine times out of 10, we will recommend that the host does not come from the companies that we're working with. For a couple of reasons, one is generally people are way too busy to be also hosting a podcast. The bigger reason, though, is that you're going to be too close to the brand. And nobody really wants to listen to a 30-minute advertisement, they want to listen to great content that happens to be created by a brand. And we find that if the host is coming from the organization, it's as much as they're going to try not to, it's just going to stray way too close to the brand. So we actually recommend finding an outside host. And that outside host can be a professional host that we find and hire. The host could be somebody tangential to the business, maybe it's a customer, I don't know. You know, or host could be somebody who is maybe like a journalist or somebody who comes from a bit more of a media background. And that's really important, because, you know, they're going to already come to the table skilled in proper interviewing, they're going to be skilled in how to not make the conversation boring or too much about the brand or about themselves, they're going to come with those skills. That being said, if we've, you know, kind of pushed back on a client, and they just are adamant that it has to be somebody from their organization, we will work with that person to train them properly on how to conduct an interview. How to ask the right questions, leave them, leave enough of a pause for the, for the interviewer to respond or sorry for the guest up. Yeah, give themselves, you know, give themselves a bit of a crash course on how to have how to have a great, you know, interview. And I, I'm sorry, I forgot your third, your third question is.

Umar Hameed 12:25
So you create the podcast. So you've got a client, you got a podcast, and how do you get a listenership for it?

Roger Nairn 12:30
Yeah, so...

Umar Hameed 12:31
Let's say you're starting from scratch. But let's let's get a brand that exists. Let's do a three parter here, and we'll put you on the spot. One is starting from scratch, no client base, no email list. Number two would be somebody that's got, you know, a decent social media presence, and then somebody giant like, tide or something like that.

Roger Nairn 12:52
So in the first case, you know, they have no audience, but they have an idea of who their audience is, or who they are, who their target audience they want to be.

Umar Hameed 13:01
Let's say realtors. Let's say they're picking realtors.

Roger Nairn 13:03
So where to realtors hang out online? Are they on, are they on LinkedIn? Are they on Twitter or Facebook? Yeah, I mean, so you do that research, and you figure out where they are and then you share the content with them in those spaces. You can do that organically, or you can do that through through paid. There's also you know, the beautiful thing which I would apply to sort of all three of your scenarios, is that the podcast world is very much, is a very friendly world, but also works very much organically with each other. And one of the ways that we increase audience size is to kind of do the research and figure out what other podcasts would real estate agents be listening to? Once you've figured out who those other, what those other podcasts are, you do the legwork and figure out who owns those shows, most of them have email addresses or contact ways to contact them. And you reach out to them and you say, "Hey, we've got this podcast, it's going to have this sort of audience in mind, you have a similar audience that you're trying to reach as well. Let's figure out a way to work together and...

Umar Hameed 14:05

Roger Nairn 14:05
...especially you barter audience, you barter your you know, you barter ways to share each other's audiences. And when I say share audiences, there's numbers of ways of doing that. You could give them an episode of your podcast, which they include in their feed as like a bonus episode that is, you know, goes out to their audience. You could say, "Hey, I'd love to come on your show as a guest in exchange for you coming on my show as a guest." You know, "I could do an ad for your podcast in my newsletter in exchange for you doing the same thing." You know, there's a number of different different ways of doing it. When it comes to like, you know, a client that has a social audience already, you're gonna want to share the podcast with that social audience. And then keep in mind that I think podcasters get really focused on sort of the next episode, the next episode, the next episodes. Don't forget that those episodes are now banked and you can go back and share them again. There's nothing...

Umar Hameed 14:55

Roger Nairn 14:55
...stopping you from sharing older content.

Umar Hameed 14:57
Nobody's gonna go, "Wait a minute. That was Episode 14, what the hell's going on here?"

Roger Nairn 15:01
And you know, call it out, say, hey, you know, you know, it's it's it's tax season and this episode is still a really great primer on you know how to prep your accountant for tax season, you know, you're gonna want to listen to this so share some old stuff. You know, it's very, very similar to other forms of contents so, you know what works for you, you know, what works for clients are going to be unique. So, you know, every, every episode has a link, and you can share that link however and how many times and wherever you, wherever you want. And then when it comes to like, a client like a tide again, what's the what's the audience? Where do they live? Where are they hanging out online? What sort of content are they consuming already? What sort of budget do you have? Well then develop a full plan on launching the show. I think the bigger, the biggest thing, though, that some of the bigger brands have, as an advantage, though, is a larger marketing ecosystem.

Umar Hameed 15:57

Roger Nairn 15:57
How can the podcast live within that? How can the podcast you know, live as a piece of content that can cross promote, like, you know, I mentioned RBC earlier, like in an episode of disruptors will sometimes insert a little ad, making sure that people go to the website to download their latest jobs report, or, you know, they do a lot of reports on, you know, women in the workforce, or, or there's all sorts of other things that a podcast can point, you know, point your audience to.

Umar Hameed 16:31

Roger Nairn 16:32
And then vice versa. You know, they've got newsletters, they've got huge LinkedIn followings, they've got events that they do live, that can point people to the podcast.

Umar Hameed 16:41
Brilliant. So your advice for somebody stepping into the podcasting world? What would be the two, three things you invite them to do right out of the gate?

Roger Nairn 16:51
Be crystal clear on who your audience is? Or sorry, even before so be crystal clear on why do you want a podcast? What's the what's the objective of the podcast? Who is the audience you're trying to reach? And what do you want them to think, feel and do with the show? Once you're really clear on that, everything becomes a lot more easier, because you're essentially telling us telling stories or providing value that's going to benefit, you know, who that audience who that audience is.

Umar Hameed 17:22
Brilliant. So for people listening to this, I want to get on to podcasts as guests, what's a good way to pitch a show?

Roger Nairn 17:30
Yeah, you know, again, being really crystal clear on who you are, as a business, you know, as a business professional, or perhaps you're a creative, an artist of some sorts, be really clear on who you are, what sort of value you're gonna be able to provide to the listener of that show. So you're gonna want to do some research and say to that show, "Hey, I've noticed you talk about, you know, real estate. Well, I happen to be skilled in, you know, marketing analytics. And I know, that's something that your listeners might be really interested in, you know, being that a lot of digital advertising is done in the real estate world. I would love to come on your show and talk about it, here's some of the things that we that we can talk about, here's maybe five things that we can touch on. Plus, I'm open to talk about whatever you know, whatever you want, here's my Calendly link so that it's super easy to actually just book something with you right then in there. Maybe include a headshot maybe include a bit more of an in depth bio as an attachment...

Umar Hameed 18:27

Roger Nairn 18:28
...and just kind of sell yourself. It's, it's it's kind of similar to applying for a job, you know, showing them why you're the right fit, and but also doing your homework so that it's clear that you know what they do and what sort of a show they have.

Umar Hameed 18:45
Brilliant. So what do you do if you get a guest who's kinda lame. So you bring them on, and they lie on paper, they look great, but come on, it's just a dreadful episode, that you don't want to taint your brand. So what's a good way of politely not airing it?

Roger Nairn 19:03
Well, so we would actually avoid getting to the point where we politely don't air it. So I mean, we're lucky enough that we have the manpower and the budget with a client where we actually pre-interview all of our guests.

Umar Hameed 19:15
Oh, smart.

Roger Nairn 19:15
So we'll, we'll set up a little 15 minute conversation, our producer will contact them. They'll just get to know each other and have a conversation last and questions. At that point, you're going to know whether they're going to be an interesting interview or not. And if they're not, well then go to our client and say, "Listen, I just don't think this is going to be a good use of anybody's time." And then we'll contact them and you know, gently say, "Thank you, but we're actually gonna go in a bit of a different direction." Very rarely do we ever record something or go to the trouble of recording something and then not using it. Usually, if we do that, it's for some other reason, like, you know, there's a bit of a brand safety, safety issue because that person's maybe done something or said something but I can't even think of any scenario where that's actually happened. So it's always kind of best, but we're, but we're, we're, we're lucky enough to have that infrastructure in place of manpower.

Umar Hameed 20:08
Bandwidth, yeah.

Roger Nairn 20:09
If you're just a, you know, if you're just a one man, you know, operation, then I think it's just being open and honest and saying, you know, "Listen, I, you know, I really appreciate it in our time together. But you know, we're not going to go forward with the, you know, with using the the interview. Because, you know, it just, you know, I just don't think it's, it's good for you or us." Just being open and honest, is the best, best way.

Umar Hameed 20:33
Nice. And I think that thing during the pre-interview just makes perfect sense. Even if you're a one man show, because it builds a relationship with the person, there's a level of comfort, you can figure out, you know, "Is there something you want me, like," before we started this interview I had asked, "Even though we've not done a pre-interview, I asked you, you know, 'Hey, is there any way to tee up?"

Roger Nairn 20:52
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Umar Hameed 20:52
You," and you said, "Oh, yeah, do this." So I think that's just good manners and good radio.

Roger Nairn 20:58
The other thing too,Umar is that, when we do a pre-interview, we're taking notes, and we're being really mindful of where some great opportunities for further conversation are. And then what we're doing is we're taking those notes, and providing it to our host. So the host doesn't typically do the pre-interview, it will be our producer, but we're providing those notes to the to the to the host, and we never script our conversations going into an interview, we'd never, you know, we never do anything sort of, you know, by the, by the script, it's always it's always just copy notes, or just script notes, because we want the conversation to be natural. But we'll include those key points will say, "Hey, you know, make sure you talk about the time that they went to Antarctica...

Umar Hameed 21:44

Roger Nairn 21:44
...and got, you know, and got, you know, face to face with the polar bear. And we'll include that in the, in the, in the, in the pre-interview. So we'll include that in the in the script, which are actually just interview notes, to make sure that those are things that are asked in the highlight."

Umar Hameed 22:01

Roger Nairn 22:02

Umar Hameed 22:02
So Roger, how many people in your organization.?

Roger Nairn 22:05
So there's 18, full time and about 47 contractors, but that will change on a dime every second. You know, we we've got incredible people, we built the company, very similar to a creative agency. I came from the advertising world, I worked for many years at DDB, and then cassette and other big agencies. And so we wanted to provide, you know, great creative, well-produced incredibly well produced. So we've got a creative team, we've, you know, our creative team consists of producers, writers, as well as audio recorders, and editors, which they then get sort of managed by our project leads, which are fancy ways of saying project, project managers who manage the timeline, the budgets, you know, making sure all the assets are controlled, and clients aware of what's going on and things like that keeping keeping everybody you know, keeping the ball moving down the field. That's all supported by a client service team who's responsible for making...

Umar Hameed 23:05

Roger Nairn 23:05
...sure the, the client is happy. And then kind of off to the side of that we've got a full marketing team who are marketing the podcasts that we're creating. We're doing media buying, we're doing PR, we're doing artwork. And so we build our project teams very much based on you know, the client the size of the project complexity, because, you know, we could do a one-on-one interview, or we could do a panel style podcast, or we could do sort of an, a nonfiction sort of narrative style show or we, you know, documentary style so it's very, very dependent. We're bespoke, and we don't do anything kind of off the shelf. It's, it's all kind of custom custom to what is right for the audience.

Umar Hameed 23:47
Brilliant. So last two questions before we part company. Number one, Roger, what makes you happy?

Roger Nairn 23:54
Oh, my God right now. Right now, I think my family makes me happy and seeing my son grow. Cooper's, Cooper's four. I think the happiness comes from from being or feeling just fulfilled and, you know, human connection.

Umar Hameed 24:11

Roger Nairn 24:13
It's, it's a struggle, though, because, you know, I find myself constantly chasing the next thing and so that fulfillment thing is always sort of fleeting. But generally it's, it's, it's, it's, it's reaching my goals and doing the things that I, that I set out to do. But also taking the time to recognize what I'm grateful for and the things that I've accomplished.

Umar Hameed 24:41
Brilliant. I just did a webinar for the Institute for Sales and Excellence, it was "25 Ways To Be More Confident." And a couple of the ways one was, Celebrate Small Wins. And all too often we're looking at big goals and as soon as they get there, then it's it's never as great as we thought it would be. But those small wins along the way, just put you in the right mindset. So that's tip number 27.

Roger Nairn 25:00
I know there's a there's a really, I don't know if it's a famous quote, but there's, there's a sort of Buddhist monk online that I once saw. And he said, "If you want to go to sleep in a sea of of your accomplishments."

Roger Nairn 25:15
Oh, I love that.

Roger Nairn 25:16
And it's just sort of like thinking about all the little things that you've done throughout the day.

Umar Hameed 25:19
I love that. That's actually really like the smartest thing you said, it wasn't even you but thanks for sharing,

Roger Nairn 25:24
I got more of those.

Umar Hameed 25:27
Second one is what is a mind hack or a tip you could share with people that would make them more productive, at work, at home, at play in love.

Roger Nairn 25:36
So go out and get this book

Umar Hameed 25:38
I've read it.

Roger Nairn 25:39
It's called "The One Thing." And

Umar Hameed 25:42
Gary Keller?

Roger Nairn 25:42
It's really simple. Yeah. Gary Keller. It's really simple because its whole premise is to focus on that one thing, and we all know what it is, for me, it's going to the gym. You know, you do that one thing whereby everything else in your day or your life or business or whatever becomes either unnecessary or easier, much easier. And for me, it's, it's going to the gym, it's getting up, it's getting the energy going, and my brain starts working. And I find myself just a little bit more focused, and, you know, all those sorts of things. So, for me, that's, I read it probably 10 years ago, and it's changed my life. It's awesome. I read it every year.

Umar Hameed 26:21
Thanks for sharing that, Roger. Thanks for a delightful time, let's take a look. That was like 32 minutes, went by like that. Thanks for being on the show. And looking forward to our next conversation.

Roger Nairn 26:32
Absolutely. Thanks, sir.

Umar Hameed 26:38
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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