Also available as podcast (Episode #39)
How do I start a podcast as my own RIA?
One of the leading motivators of advisors transitioning their practices to the RIA model is the desire to have more flexibility to run, manage, and market their practice as they see fit. The ability to have your own podcast is an increasingly effective way to demonstrate your expertise, build trust, and increase your brand exposure in the marketplace. The RIA model generally provides much more flexibility for advisors to utilize podcasting versus any other available affiliation model. The question then is, what are the steps involved with starting your own podcast? On today’s video we have podcasting expert, Matt Halloran on to answer this very question.
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Proud Mouth (website)
Matt Halloran (LinkedIn)
Podcast Compliance ToolKit – when applicable (link)
Influencer Starter-Series (link)
Top Advisor Marketing Podcast (link)
Brad’s previous appearance on Top Advisor Marketing Podcast (link)
Brad: Can I start a podcast as my own RIA? That is today’s question on the Transition To RIA question and answer series. It is question #39.
Hello everyone. I’m Brad Wales with Transition To RIA and today’s question is….as my own RIA, can I have my own podcast? Seemingly simple question and answer, but as with everything, there’s more nuances to it. So, there’s no better person on the planet to have as a guest on today’s show. As you can see, we’re split screen here. I have good friend, Matt Halloran with Top Advisor Marketing (now known as ProudMouth) on today, to help us with this. Matt, how are you doing?
Matt: I’m great, man. It’s nice to be here.
Brad: Good deal. Well, I will ask Matt here in a second to give a little background on his firm, but just a little context of why I thought this was a helpful question is the…and it just happens to be in this case a podcast, but the idea that when you start your own RIA, your ability to how you want to position yourself, market yourself, putting yourself out there in the marketplace and community is exponentially more flexible under that RIA banner than under your own firm.
While you may or may not be able to even do a podcast, perhaps now, if you’re at a captive firm, a wirehouse firm, either you can do it and you probably have a lot of handcuffs or you outright can’t do it at all. And so, what could you expect if you were to go RIA and wanted to do a podcast, and then if you like that idea, how does it actually work? How would you get into it? That’s what Matt is going to help us with here today.
Before I ask him to give his background, I would point out the power of podcasts, and how I even know who Matt is on this planet is because I came across his podcast. I don’t even remember exactly what led it to me. Did someone post about it or did I stumble across it or whatever it was, but I started listening in and I think it’s fantastic.
He’s going to talk to us about today, about what they feel the message of a podcast is and how you can really position yourself. And I love, and Matt, if you could touch on this, their strategy of “micro influencer”. I think you guys even copyrighted that. I think it’s just brilliant. So, if you could, please add the context of that. With that Matt, if you can give a little background on yourself and your firm, that’d be great.
Matt: I started doing radio when I was 13 years old. My high school had a 100-watt radio station. And it probably didn’t reach past the parking lot, just so you know, but it was a lot of fun. I was Mad Man Matt Halloran, and I was going to change the world with radio. I remember getting off my…probably my tenth show and I ran into my advisor and I said, “Chris, Chris,” her name was Chris Kirkpatrick, “Chris, I want to be a DJ for a living.” And she laughed at me and she said, “You need to have another job.”
I did radio in college and so this has always been something very comfortable for me. I love being behind the microphone. I love interviewing people, the opportunity to learn. I get to learn from smart people like you every day, right, and that’s just such a gift. And about four years ago, Kirk Lowe and I met at a conference down in Arizona, and we just realized that we were very, very similar in our thinking, not only from a business perspective, but what we really wanted to do with financial advisors. We both realized that advisors didn’t want us to tell them what to do anymore. They wanted us to do it for them.
So we created this entire program, and you referenced it, it’s called Micro Influencer Program. And basically what that means is you have to market in the expertise economy, because that’s who you are. As a person who’s looking at becoming an RIA, you’re actually taking the next step to truly allow yourself to be the expert that you’ve always wanted to be.
I think moving to an RIA is one of the smartest things that if you can do it, it is the most freeing, liberating, greatest opportunity for you to really, truly have all of the shackles taken off so you can become the advisor you’ve always wanted to be. And that’s who we specialize in working with, Brad. Our sweet spot is working with people who are RIAs specifically, because I don’t want to have to podcast for the lowest common denominator in a broker dealer. That’s it. I want to podcast with the best of the best of the best and that’s who we have as clients.
And so we started about three and a half years ago, Kirk and I did, in our partnership when we launched Top Advisor Marketing and as of June, we’ve produced over 1500 podcasts and done over 35,000 social media posts. So it’s what we do all day long, brother.
Brad: Wow. That’s higher numbers than I even realized. And a thing that I really like about their offering as well – Matt and I had a conversation the other day, we were talking about this to use an analogy – is literally the rock star approach and not just from an ego standpoint. It can be intimidating perhaps to think, “Oh, I got to do a podcast. Man, I don’t even know what hardware to use. I don’t know how to edit it. Where do I host it? Where do I do all this stuff?”
With their team, it’s literally…walk to the proverbial microphone, record – I think you typically recommend twice a month – stop recording and walk away, and Matt and his team do everything else. From a logistics done-for-you perspective, that’s why I’m such a fan of your offer. It can’t get any easier. Either someone’s willing to do that, or they’re not willing to do anything. So I think it’s great how you structured it.
Matt: Well, and I love after our conversation because I literally video-messaged our entire team and I said, “Oh my God, I just met this guy. His name is Brad. And he just brought this whole idea of the rockstar approach and that’s exactly what we do.” And all the team was like, “Oh my gosh, that’s exactly what we do.” Now, we…I mean, I don’t physically hand you the microphone, but you sit down, we interview you, you talk about what you love and what you’re passionate about, and then you leave, we take care of everything else.
Brad: I think that’s fantastic. The done-for-you kind of gets thrown around a lot, but literally this is done for you, I mean, except for the actual talking itself. So I think it’s great.
A lot of podcasts are already out there, an advisor might say…why should I have a podcast? There’s a lot of different ways that I could maybe get my message out there, why a podcast versus something else?
Matt: Well, I think there’s two reasons. First off, there’s an enormous amount of misinformation out there. And I believe professionally, it’s your responsibility as a financial services expert to rise above the noise and put out the right information that’s out there, right? Ken Fisher is screaming from the mountaintops about the evils of annuities and that’s his whole pick a fight, right? Well, is that always the right situation? Maybe you don’t like his investment technique, maybe you think DFA is the greatest thing in the world, Dimensional Fund Analysis, and that’s the direction that you want to go. There’s just not enough main street information out there, Brad. I believe that that’s what advisors need to do.
It’s not all about the big box stores. It’s about that local person who understands you in your environment, and can provide you with the advice you need to be successful in your world, not somebody else’s. So there’s number one. Number two is way easier to explain, which is you guys talk for a living, man. I mean, that’s what you do. Most of you aren’t very good on camera. Not to be mean, but most advisors, they’re just not trained on how to be camera-ready, right?
You don’t have to be camera-ready with a podcast. You can be in your pajamas, sitting in your closet. In fact, I have to digress very quickly. When we first started, we were interviewing all of our friends, right? So Kirk and I have a lot of friends in financial services, people who provide services to financial advisors. And these two ladies who I love dearly, they run an amazing women marketing program. And I was like, “Why do you guys sound so quiet?” And they said, “Well, we’re sitting here with towels over our heads because we were told that we don’t want to have any echo.”
And so that was one of those things. Okay, we have a lot of education that we need to do. By the way, they kept the towels on their heads the whole time because they were really concerned about it. But that’s the sort of stuff, it’s so easy to execute this, and you talk for a living…now, we didn’t shoot videos with them having towels on their heads, Brad. I mean, we didn’t shoot any video at all. And they were great podcasts. They were very, very focused and they were just focused on the microphone. They weren’t focused on the lighting and my makeup and my hair and all of that stuff.
And so podcasting is an incredibly portable medium that allows your soon-to-be RIA clients to get their voice out into the marketplace using a tool that they use all the time, and talking about things that they’re comfortable with because they talk about them all the time.
Brad: I think it’s just a natural fit in that regard. And I think the golden goose, I think you posted – I think it was on LinkedIn – something about this the other day. Obviously it was a great circumstance, but I don’t think it’s really all that unique in the sense that it can’t happen. I think you said you had someone reach out to you and say, “Hey Matt, first time reaching out, I’m ready to sign up.” And it’s like, well, how did that happen? Well, because they had already got to know you, they felt like they knew you, got to hear all of your messaging. And so again, that is the stars lining up perfect that it literally would be that easy, but I think that’s just so powerful.
I do that with my own business. I make the videos, there’s people…by the time they’re first connecting with me, they feel they actually know who I am. And I think that podcasts, same thing. I don’t know if you’ve got people who say to you before, like, “Wow, you sound just like you do on the podcast.” You’re like, well, yeah, that’s how this works!
Matt: Yeah. That’s my voice. I’ve had a couple of people at conferences who’ve come up and said, “God, I feel like I know you.” Right? “I’ve listened to all your shows” I think we’ve done 280 episodes now. And that’s just for Top Advisor Marketing, not including all of the other podcasts that we’ve done for our clients that I’ve actually hosted. I don’t host very many anymore. I’ve got actually two professional voice hosts that we have who do most of the interviews with advisors because I’m running the company and Kirk and I are doing higher level stuff.
But I love the fact that…and in fact, this just happened with one of our newest clients, Brad. This was really weird because this isn’t normal. So we do a…the inaugural podcast, this is podcast number one, which is, who are you? Right? Who are you? What do you do? What makes you unique and different? Tell me just a little bit so I can get to know you, right? And then the second and third podcasts are a lot about your technique and really more…a deeper conversation about what you do that’s fundamentally different and unique than other people, either down the road or the Edward Jones person who’s there, or whatever, next door.
And so he did what we tell them to do, and not a lot of people always follow those instructions, as they sent that to their entire list, right? So this guy had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people on this list, prospect list, and this woman called him about three or four days later. And she said, “I need to come and make an appointment.” And he’s like, I don’t even know who this person is, right? So she’s been a cold prospect for years literally. And she said, “I listened to your podcast. You do exactly what I’ve been looking for and I’d like to come in.” And she transferred, I don’t know what it was, $1.3 million or something because it’s portable, right? He was that podcast marketed for that advisor when he wasn’t even there, right? It’s this omnipresent, ever-present ability that we have with this new world of marketing. It’s really powerful and really portable.
Brad: Yeah. The old proverbial, while you’re asleep at night, someone could be listening to your podcast, and next thing you’re perhaps making traction with someone.
If an advisor likes this, they see the power in it, they’re now maybe at an RIA, so their handcuffs are off, and so they can do this. If they want to work with a firm like yours and they come to you and say, “Matt, let’s do this,” if you could walk through, what’s the initial engagement look like? Are we coming back tomorrow and we’re starting something or…what’s that first couple innings look like if you could?
Matt: So the first 30 days are all of the setup that needs to be done. And so that’s when we create the podcast channel. We also help you come up with a title for the podcast itself that isn’t used, right? That’s important. So we build the syndication platform that’ll syndicate across all major iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, Spotify, YouTube, all of that stuff. We do the cover art. We do a professional intro and outro. We make sure that you have approved all of that, including the music that you’re going to use as your intro music.
Depending on what…they have the whole kit and caboodle with us, which has some social media stuff that we do too. And we optimize their social media profiles. If we need to build a profile, we build a profile for them. We make sure that all of that stuff is aligned from a brand perspective. And within the first 30 days, that first inaugural podcast will be recorded. So that’s the time frame. And then after that, it’s really about three hours of the advisor’s time per month, where they show up. Two recordings is what we do recommend. All of our research has shown that’s the proper frequency.
And they show up, they block out about an hour in total for prep, which we actually help with, and then a 45-minute block for…or two 45-minute blocks for recording. So it’s about two and a half, three hours of the advisor’s time a month. And then we post that podcast everywhere, literally, where you could say, “Hey, Siri, play the Top Advisor Marketing podcast,” and it plays, right? That’s really neat. And then we post social media posts, engaging social media posts about every day based off of that customized content.
So we don’t have you buy content from somebody else because that isn’t you. And here’s the best part about being an RIA, Brad. They don’t have to worry about that anymore, right? They don’t have to worry about the pre-approved, canned crap that 14,000 other advisors are putting out on the same day about what’s going on in the market. This is your opportunity to talk about what it is you’re passionate about, what you’re looking at in the market. That’s the difference. And then we rinse, lather and repeat.
Brad: So call it 30 days to kind of get in gear, and then on a going forward basis, it’s kind of building on itself?
Brad: Okay. And then you kind of mentioned there, with perhaps the social media part, there’s the logistics of actually functionally recording these things. And then, and you can have the greatest podcast on the planet, but then you ideally need to get the message out and get a return on your investment there.
That kind of comes back to the cost structure as well. If you could walk us through, and I’m sure every situation is different, but how you price these things out. The actual making of the podcast, the actual promoting the podcast, and kind of how’s that look from a cost perspective?
Matt: Sure. So our costs are incredibly transparent. If you wanted to just have us do the podcasting, which again is to build your channel, intro, outro, have a person interviewing you, because interviewing, just like we’re doing right now, from a podcast perspective is the most consumable way to get that information, okay? So it’s two voices, generally high contrasting voices, so…and that also includes the show notes, which go with every podcast to help them be able to be found on search engines. So that’s $1,500 as a setup and $1,200 a month, right? So that’s what it is, that’s for the two podcasts.
But then if you want us to do the whole kit and caboodle, right, which is create, all the social media posts based off of your thought leadership, which are little video snips, audio bursts, quote memes, referrals back to subscribing to the podcast, we’ve got an SEO component to it that really helps drive the search engine in the right direction. I mean, we have…so the whole kit and caboodle is about $3,500 as a setup and about $3,500, $3000 a month depending on how many of the add-ons that you want. We can do things on LinkedIn specifically to increase your connections. We can do stuff on Facebook. So it really just depends on those couple of choices.
Kirk and I sat down with a friend of ours, who’s a branding person who’s brilliant. His name is Rob Howard. The guy’s just amazing. And he said, “Have you ever really looked at how much it would actually cost an advisor or a business owner to do everything that you do?” And so Kirk and I were…well, no, we really haven’t really done that, right?
So we figured out deconstructing what our team does, all of their billable hours, right. We figured out that if you wanted to do what we do with the whole kit and caboodle, it’d be about 80 hours of work a month. But you would need to have a professional podcast host, a podcast coach, a graphic designer, a social media writer, a social media poster, a social media manager, the list is 11 different jobs that you would need to have in order to execute it at the level that we do. We are truly the outsourced marketing, right? That’s what you do. The people who love what we do, love the rock star treatment, grab the mic, do the performance, drop the mic, go home, and put it in the hands of a trusted professional. But that’s our pricing structure and, that’s where we’re at.
Brad: I appreciate the transparency. I think that’s key. And if you’re going to put the investment in on the front end, it certainly can help to have it pay off on the back end. And like I said previously, to show it works, that’s how I found you, from your podcast. I referenced a little bit ago, oh, I saw your LinkedIn post, and it resonated with me. So you guys are good at what you do there.
I think too, as you were naming the different people on your team, I’m kind of the same with the videos I make. I don’t make enough videos myself that it justifies me having a full-time video editor, but maybe a tenth of a video editor, I have the supply for.
And so that’s a way for you guys to provide someone with a tenth, or whatever the math comes to, of these professionals, that we just couldn’t go out on our own and piece together, because we’re not doing enough videos to do it full-time ourselves. So I think that’s another big benefit as well.
We’re talking about folks that are transitioning to the RIA model, a lot of steps are involved in that well outside of just the marketing and social media realm, but certainly an important part of it. There could be a thought by an advisor, and I would understand why they might default to this to say, “Okay, I’ve got so much on my plate, I love this podcast idea, I like Matt’s offering, I’ll circle back to you six months after I’ve made the transition, because I have these other things to focus on.” I can certainly appreciate that.
At the same time, with any kind of marketing or media out there, it takes some time to get traction. So presumably the best time to start a podcast was yesterday. The best time to start at YouTube videos was yesterday. And so what would you say to that transitioning advisor that hasn’t yet made the leap or they’re going through the steps, wants to do it, can they afford to wait six months, should they get started now? Thoughts on that?
Matt: I have a lot of thoughts on that. You’ve asked that…there’s a lot of questions there so I’m going to try to unpack that a little bit. The first thing that I would do, if you were going to be using podcasting, blogging or video as your preferred medium to get your message out there when you become an RIA, anytime you have an idea, you need to write it down. So that’s honestly…I mean, yeah, it’s all of the other logistic-y stuff aside, while you’re making the transition, while you’re meeting with clients, when you’re talking to them about why you’re switching to being an RIA, there are topics upon topics upon topics that you need to be writing down, because it doesn’t matter what media you use, that’s the information that you want to get out. So that would really be how I would begin to even think about it.
The other thing I’d like to say is we’re not going anywhere, Brad. We’ve been doing this for three years now. I plan on doing this for another 10. There’s so much room for podcasts out there, right? Because most people don’t do it consistently. That’s the problem. People will do six podcasts, will do eight podcasts. They don’t have any of the support that we provide, so they’re like, I can’t keep this up.
Now putting on my coach hat, right, so when I was a coach, and I would help people who moved to become an RIA or who would be able to have more of an opportunity to market years ago when I did that, I would always force them to market. I mean, I would. That would be part of the plan. So when we did their time blocking and their scheduling of what they were going to do every single, solitary day, I would be blocking in 3 to 10 hours a month where they’re going to be proactively reaching out, whether that’s to centers of influence, whether that’s writing blogs, whether that’s, being on – I had a friend of mine who…a friend of mine, a client of mine who is a friend of mine now, who did television, right?
He did some television stuff in the transition, right? And I know your practice comes to a screeching halt. You don’t get paid for a while. I mean, there’s all sorts of things that you have to keep in mind, depending on how you’re transitioning. There’s legal issues sometimes, sometimes there’s handcuff issues. I mean there’s all sorts of things you have to be concerned about, but one is when you realize I’ve got a great topic, I’ve got a great idea, I want to initiate this relationship with the center of influence, I believe that podcasting is the most powerful way to do that. I would allocate time to market.
Mostly Brad, it’s very simple, it’s because so much of itself is going to be top of mind. You’re going to be going through your value proposition, your new value proposition every day on the phone, getting people’s accounts switched over, right? That’s the perfect time for you to get somebody to interview you and say, “Okay, Brad, I recently heard that you left Merrill Lynch, right? Why did you leave Merrill Lynch?” Well, let me tell you why I left Merrill Lynch, right? Because you’ve been saying the darn thing all day long. That’s the power of this.
I also hope that as a financial advisor, you are wise with your finances, and therefore you have also begun before you ever make the switch from leaving wherever to start your own RIA, that you’re salting money away to market because that’s now…you’re the expert on this so I might be speaking out of turn, I apologize for that, but isn’t that why most people want higher payout marketing, right? I mean, that’s like freedom. Those are the things that people want to become an RIA for. Working with you helps them get everything set up, and then working with us helps them get their voice out, and show everybody why they made the change, and why it’s so important.
Brad: Yeah. I’m delivering videos on my website. And I tell you one of the coolest feelings I had, and I assume you’ve heard this from people with podcasts, is the first time…and I even had it, they just went straight to my calendar link and scheduled some time on my calendar. The first time someone reached out to me, who I had never spoken to before, I never heard of, I didn’t even know who they were, and they said,” Oh, I found your videos and now I’m reaching out.”
I can imagine with a podcast, the first time someone reaches out to you and says, “Hey…” however it is they found that podcast, “And now I’m reaching out,” and for so much work, right, advisors have to do proactively to find clients and then to have someone…, that first one come to you, I’m sure it’s a great feeling. The sooner you can maybe get that feeling going at your new firm, the better.
Matt: We celebrate that, Brad. By the way, on our team, every time one of our clients gets a new client from the podcast, I mean, it’s a huge celebration. I’ve got 18 people on my team who this is what they live for, is to help advisors get new clients in a really simple way.
Brad: Fantastic. And last question, before we wrap up. How do you respond when someone says, “Matt, this all sounds great. I’m just getting to the game here. And guess what, there’s hundreds or whatever number of financially related podcasts already out there, is there really room for one more? Let alone…I know Suze Orman with a massive audience.” I mean, your thoughts on that and why it’s still worthwhile and helpful to go down that road?
Matt: Well, because I’m hoping that you firmly believe in your heart of hearts that you do something fundamentally unique and different from somebody like Suze Orman, right, or from Jim Cramer or from Motley Fool or all of these other people, right? So that’s really where you begin. If you believe in your heart of hearts that you do something fundamentally unique and different, you have no competition.
And then the other piece of it is people don’t understand that it is so easy to build real relationships with centers of influence, with existing clients, with people who provide lifestyle services to your ideal client, to get your message out using our complete service, right, the whole micro influencer idea, the idea that you can influence a very specific vertical. And that’s the last piece is podcasting doesn’t work, unless you have a specific niche. And most people who have an RIA have a niche so that’s why this is such a perfect fit.
And you need one client, right? People ask me about return on investment all the time. And I’m like, okay, let’s say it’s a $3,000…, you go to the whole kit and caboodle, $36,000 a year, break it down, right? You need 3 million dollar clients to pay for all of your marketing. We do all of the marketing Brad, all of it, right? If you can’t bring in $3 million in new assets a year, you’re not marketing, right? There’s a big problem. You have to be bringing…I mean, we all know that, if you’re not growing, you’re dying because you’ve got people who are taking withdrawals, they’re taking RMDs, they are taking all of these sorts of things.
You have to bring in new business and it’s so much easier to say, “Hey, Brad, why don’t you listen to my podcast? I just talked about that thing that we just talked about at the dinner party. I know it’s really uncomfortable for you to tell somebody who doesn’t know me at all to give me a phone call, right?” I mean that’s the whole referral speak that everybody’s talked about forever. It’s so much easier to refer them to a podcast or a video, right? “Hey, why don’t you take a look at this person? She’s amazing. She answers the questions that you have and she’s got 30 podcasts out, listen to all 30. If you want to give her a call from there, absolutely. If not, I totally understand,” that is the way that marketing is happening today and that’s what you have to be ready to do.
Brad: Yeah. I’m glad you brought that up. I’m almost embarrassed I didn’t think of bringing up that referral part on my own. It’s just so much easier to make a referral to someone when you don’t just give them a name and a phone number, good luck to you. It can be an intimidating process. Whoever you’re giving that podcast information to, they can choose to do whatever they want with it and there’s no kind of friction. So I think that’s extremely an important part of it all. So that’s great.
Well, hey, I can ask you a million more questions. I don’t want this to go on too long, in part because that’s what you help folks with is diving into this in more detail. So with that, if someone likes this idea, likes what you have to offer, how do they get a hold of you? How do they get a hold of your team? What’s kind of their path there?
Matt: The best thing to do is, I mean, they can email me directly, matt@topadvisorm, connect with me on LinkedIn. I mean, that’s how we found each other was through LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn all the time. In fact, I spend most of my day. I have it open on a browser all the time. So if you message me, I’m going to get back to you quickly because I believe in the power of LinkedIn and that’s how we grow our business. We’ve got about 90% of our prospects from LinkedIn specifically. Or go to the website, right?
I shared a link with you that you’re going to hopefully share with everybody, which is the compliance questions that we always get. So when you become an RIA, that doesn’t mean compliance goes away. You still have to follow the rules. So we show you how we follow the rules, which I think kind of puts people at ease. And when you’re done on that page, check out the other pages. We’ve got samples of our work all over the place. If you want to know who we are and what we do, that’s the best place to do it. But email me. That’s the best thing to do, [email protected]
Brad: And of course, start listening to the podcast!
Matt: Oh, that’d be good.
Brad: I think that’s one of the best ways as well. If you’re not already there, from wherever you might be watching this video, if you go TransitionToRIA.com, my website, in the show notes, I’ll put the links to Matt’s site, the resources he passed along, his email address, all those sorts of things. So definitely reach out.
Part of the value I try to provide to advisors is to go out in the marketplace and find solutions that might be a good fit. There’s no compensation relationship I have with Matt’s firm at all. It is solely because I think him and his team have a great offering, so happy to have him on, happy to put it out there, and certainly encourage advisors, especially ones that are considering going the RIA path and they’ll have much more flexibility to do this sort of thing, to really take a look. So Matt, with that, appreciate having you on and I hope to connect again here soon.
Matt: Thanks, man.
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