Turning Your Blog or Podcast into a Lead Generation Machine

Guest: Dorie Clark Adjunct professor, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

Creative marketing outlets are ripe for the picking. Seemingly every big company has its own blog, as do countless small and medium businesses. Many organizations are also finding ways to reach thousands upon thousands of consumers through podcasting. Although it’s easier than ever to create content through these mediums, the market for blogs and podcasts has become fiercely competitive. Thus, the path to monetization can be tricky to find.

That’s where marketing expert Dorie Clark comes in. Clark—who is an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, a professional speaker, and a bestselling author—preaches patience and perseverance when it comes to content marketing. As she points out, the average podcast only lasts 12 episodes. Similarly, a high number of blogs run dry after a handful of posts. So while the creative marketing field is crowded, it becomes considerably less cluttered once an extensive base of content is established.

On this episode, Clark shares her experiences in the content marketing arena. She discusses insightful dos and don’ts of web media, while also explaining how to know it’s time to reinvent our marketing strategies. You can listen to the episode here.

Here are some sample Q&As from Clark’s interview with Drew Neisser:


Drew: How do you create a blog today, particularly if you’re a CMO or an aspiring senior marketer who wants to cut through?

Dorie: A lot of people who may be in the early stages today look back and they say, “If I had started in 2007, then great. It was open terrain then.” But now, it’s gotten filled out. It’s gotten crowded. Let me share two thoughts. The first one statistically comes from the world of podcasting, but it is very relevant to blogs as well. There’s actually a study that I quote in Entrepreneurial You, which was a longitudinal look at podcasts between 2005 and 2015. And what they discovered is yes, it is true there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts, but what they also discovered is the average duration of a podcast…is 12 episodes. When we look out at the field we say, “Oh it’s so crowded! I could never compete!” But the truth is, yes, if you’re at the starting line, there’s huge numbers of aspirants. But if you literally can keep it going past a dozen episodes, the field thins considerably. All of a sudden you’re not competing against 300,000 people; you’re competing against 3,000. In some cases, depending on what field it is, 300. In many ways, it is a persistence game. It is a longevity game.


Drew: What is your second thought?

Dorie: The second thing that I’ll just mention briefly is that it’s absolutely true that in the early days of any content creation that you’re doing (podcasts, blogs, whatever it is), you’re not going to have an overnight success. You’re not going to have millions of readers. But it’s really important to think about the interim metrics. And what I mean by that you won’t be successful if the only thing you’re looking for is wide scale. However, a blog can be incredibly successful for you—even if you have a hundred readers or fifty readers—if you write a post and it enables you to close a deal. In the early days, understanding how your content creation factors into your sales process and aligning those very closely saying, “I’m going to write this post” that lays out the answer to ideal clients’ problems, and being able to share that in a targeted fashion with them, often helps expedite the decision-making process when somebody is saying, “Which company should I be going with?”


Drew: How do you create direct business value through blogging and podcasting?

Dorie: It’s likely to take a while. I’m not a podcaster, but in terms of my blogging, which I’ve done quite seriously, it took me two to three years of consistent blogging—and by consistent, I mean 10 to 15 times a month—in order to literally get any clear value in terms of inbound, unsolicited inquiries. Now once you cross that threshold, now I get a lot. But it took two to three years before I saw anything at all. That’s the dark period…where people are worried that it’s not happening. It’s not going to happen for them. You have to plow through that in order to get to the other side where the competition is scarce.


Drew: You really are a connector of people. How do you recommend others grow their networks?

Dorie: One of the things that I’ve studied over the past number of years, especially with my book, Stand Out, was the question of “How do you become a recognized expert in your field?” And what I came to discover through my research is that fundamentally there are three key pieces that you have to keep your eyes on. One is content creation, which we’ve just been talking about. The other is social proof, meaning what is your perceived level of credibility? What affiliations do you have that give people confidence in you and your ideas? The third is your network. Your network is critical for a whole host of reasons. One is that they’re the people who can speak to you honestly. They can tell you what’s a good idea and what’s not a good idea. Another is that you’re kind of judged by the company that you keep. Your network is part of your brand in some ways. And then also, your network, if done right, they’re the people who often want to be your earliest evangelists.

Meet the Guest

Dorie Clark is an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a professional speaker. She is the author of the forthcoming Entrepreneurial You (Harvard Business Review Press). Her previous books include Reinventing You and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine, one of the Top 10 Business Books of the Year by Forbes, and was a Washington Post bestseller. The New York Times has described her as an “expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives.”

A former presidential campaign spokeswoman, she is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, and is a consultant and speaker for clients such as Google, Yale University, and the World Bank. She is also a producer of a multiple Grammy-winning jazz album. Download her free 42-page Stand Out Self-Assessment Workbook and learn more at dorieclark.com.

What You'll Learn

  • How to know when it’s time to reinvent yourself as a marketer.
  • How to develop and monetize your blog or podcast.
  • Advice for offering marketing as service in the give-to-get economy.
  • Time management tips for developing new content.

Quotes from Dorie Clark

  • The cornerstone of any monetization is ensuring that first you have built up a following; you’ve built up trust with an audience of people.
  • A blog can be incredibly successful for you—even if you have a hundred readers or fifty readers—if you write a post and it enables you to close a deal.
  • Your network is part of your brand.
  • Sharing your ideas publicly starts the process that enables you down the road to look for creative ways to monetize.

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