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From White House Writer to Agency Founder: John Corcoran’s Playbook for Podcasting and Growth

Jakub "Kuba" Grajcar is the Content Marketing Manager at ZenPilot. His obsessions include interviewing smart people; productivity methods; project management; and playing bass in a progressive metal band.

John Corcoran is the co-founder of Rise25, an agency that helps B2B companies get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships through done-for-you podcasts and content marketing. John has been podcasting since 2010 and his business partner Jeremy has been doing it since 2008. Together they've built a team of over 50 people to support B2B companies in leveraging this powerful medium.

John has a fascinating and diverse background prior to Rise25. At various points in his career, he was paid by President Bill Clinton as a White House writer, worked for Steven Spielberg at DreamWorks, and did some work for Warren Buffett. He was also a lawyer for a period before discovering the power of podcasting to have high-caliber business conversations and decided to make that his focus.

In this episode of Agency Journey, John shares his knowledge on using podcasts strategically to deliver value to your ideal clients and referral partners. He emphasizes that download numbers and vanity metrics matter far less than having the right conversations with the right people.

We also dig into John's involvement with Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) and get an inside look at different high-level business peer groups.

This is a great episode for agency leaders interested in the power of podcasts and surrounding yourself with other successful entrepreneurs.


Episode Insights:

💡 Interviewing people for a podcast is a far more effective way to build relationships than typical coffee networking meetings. It allows you to provide value and have higher caliber conversations.

💡 Focus on creating podcast content that delivers value to your ideal clients and referral partners. Don't get caught up in vanity metrics like downloads - it's about having the right conversations with the right people.

💡 Joining a peer community for entrepreneurs, such as EO, can provide invaluable support, camaraderie, and learning opportunities to help you through the unique challenges of building a business.

💡 Explore different business groups to find the right fit for you.

💡 Use your podcast as a strategic tool to have conversations with people who wouldn't otherwise carve out time to meet with you. It's an amazing way to connect with hard-to-reach, high-caliber people.


Resources Mentioned:

🌐 John’s LinkedIn

🎙️ INspired INsider podcast hosted by Jeremy Weisz

🎙️ Smart Business Revolution podcast hosted by John Corcoran

🏢 Rise25 agency website

👥 EO (Entrepreneurs' Organization)

👥 Vistage

👥 YPO (Young Presidents' Organization)

👥 Strategic Coach

👥 Tiger21

👥 Hampton


Check out the video recording of the conversation here:

Or go here to listen to the episode on your favorite podcast platforms.

Read on for an exploration of the insights from this episode.

Harnessing the Power of Podcasting for Agency Growth

John is a firm believer in the power of podcasting for agency owners.

"I tell clients to do podcasts even if nobody is listening," he emphasizes.

The secret, he says, lies in creating content that provides value to your ideal clients and referral partners, rather than fixating on vanity metrics like downloads. "It's about having the right conversations with the right people."

Podcasting opens doors to high-caliber conversations that might otherwise be out of reach.

"I've had everyone from the co-founder of Netflix to Kinko's, to the founder of EO on my podcast," John shares. "You can't just reach out to those people and say, 'Hey, I'm curious about you. Will you hop on a zoom call with me so I can ask you questions.' But when you're doing it for the purpose of creating content that gets distributed across the interwebs, it's an amazing tool for getting those types of people to say yes to have a conversation with you."

The Podcasting Quadrants: A Framework Inspired by John's Insights

Listening to John's podcasting insights, I took the liberty of distilling them into a framework consisting of four quadrants. Let's call it the Podcasting Quadrants framework (because originality is overrated). Here are the four quadrants, based on John's advice:

  1. Audience Alignment: Understanding and targeting your ideal audience is the foundation of a successful podcast. Align your content and guest selection with the needs and interests of your target clients and referral partners.
  2. Content Excellence: Create compelling, valuable content that showcases your expertise and addresses the pain points of your audience. Strive for quality over quantity, and consistently deliver insights that your listeners can't find elsewhere.
  3. Relationship Nurturing: Use your podcast as a platform to build and nurture relationships with guests, listeners, and potential partners. Engage with your audience, follow up with guests after interviews, and look for opportunities to collaborate and cross-promote.
  4. Strategic Optimization: Continuously analyze and optimize your podcast's performance to ensure it aligns with your agency's goals. Track metrics, gather feedback from listeners, and adapt your strategy as needed to maximize the impact of your podcast.

By focusing on these four key areas, you can create a podcast that not only attracts your ideal clients but also establishes you as a thought leader in your industry.

In fact, let's go one step further.

Self-Assessment Checklist: Analyze Your Podcast Gaps with the Podcast Quadrants

Ask yourself these questions to see how you're doing on each of the four quadrants. It will help you identify the areas to work on to bring your podcast to the next level.

Audience Alignment

  • Have you clearly defined your ideal listener persona?
  • Does your podcast topic and content align with the interests and pain points of your target audience?
  • Are you consistently creating content that resonates with your ideal listeners?
  • Do you have a deep understanding of your audience's needs, challenges, and preferences?
  • Are you regularly engaging with your audience and gathering their feedback?

Content Excellence

  • Is your podcast content valuable, informative, and engaging?
  • Are you consistently delivering high-quality audio and production?
  • Do you have a clear content strategy and editorial calendar?
  • Are you leveraging storytelling and unique angles to make your content stand out?
  • Are you showcasing your expertise and unique perspective in your content?

Relationship Nurturing

  • Are you inviting guests who align with your audience and can provide valuable insights?
  • Are you building rapport and creating a positive experience for your guests?
  • Do you have a system in place for following up with guests and nurturing those relationships?
  • Are you actively seeking opportunities to collaborate and cross-promote with other podcasters and influencers in your niche?
  • Are you engaging with your listeners and building a community around your podcast?

Strategic Optimization

  • Have you defined clear goals and KPIs for your podcast?
  • Are you regularly tracking and analyzing your podcast metrics?
  • Do you have a process for continuously improving your podcast based on data and feedback?
  • Are you optimizing your podcast for discoverability through SEO, keywords, and categories?
  • Are you repurposing your podcast content into other formats to maximize its reach and impact?

The Power of Community for Agency Owners

Alongside podcasting, John stresses the importance of surrounding yourself with a supportive community of fellow entrepreneurs. As an active member of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), he has served in leadership roles within the organization.

"Having something that you have to support you is so valuable," John says. "EO to me just kind of spoke to me. And since becoming a part of the community, first in Accelerator and then in actually EO, it's just been my tribe. It's been the people that I want to hang out with."

Being part of a community like EO provides a space to connect with others who understand the unique challenges of running an agency. It's an opportunity to learn from your peers, get support when you need it, and even form strategic partnerships.

Action Steps for Agency Owners

If you're ready to elevate your agency through podcasting and leveraging communities, here are some action steps to get you started:

  1. Define your ideal client and referral partner personas.
  2. Brainstorm a list of potential podcast guests who align with those personas.
  3. Reach out to potential guests, offering value through the opportunity to be featured on your podcast.
  4. Use the Podcasting Quadrants framework to create valuable podcast content.
  5. Promote your podcast to your target audience through social media, email marketing, and other channels.
  6. Research entrepreneur communities like EO, Vistage, or Strategic Coach to find the right fit for you.
  7. Actively participate in your chosen community, offering support and seeking opportunities for collaboration.

By implementing these strategies, you can harness the power of podcasting and community to propel your agency to new heights. As John says, "I firmly believe that if you do it right, it'll save you time for many different reasons."

Start your podcasting journey today and watch your agency thrive.

Get more agency insights

Remember to give the full episode a watch or listen to learn the most you can from it.

Don't forget to subscribe to Agency Journey on all your favorite podcast platforms to get more insights like this!

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You can also follow us on YouTube.

See you in the next episode!


P.S. Agency Journey is brought to you by ZenPilot. We've helped 2,700+ agencies streamline their operations with the power of ClickUp. Get our free 56-page ClickUp Guide here.

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