EP 304: Speaking To New Audiences With Rebel Therapist Founder Annie Schuessler | What Works

EP 304: Speaking To New Audiences With Rebel Therapist Founder Annie Schuessler

Oct 27, 2020 | Community, Marketing, Podcast

In This Episode:

  • How Rebel Therapist podcast host Annie Schuessler found her voice as a podcaster—and how her show has evolved over time
  • How she plans her content for her podcast and selects the guests she’ll have on the show
  • Why she decided to start pitching other podcasts to have her on—and the process she uses to do it
  • The techniques Annie uses to break through the fear of asking to be on other podcasts

The number one way I’ve built my audience might surprise you.

It’s NOT through especially useful or creative content. It’s not through some top secret ad targeting strategy. It’s definitely not through social media.

It’s not even through this podcast.

The number one way I’ve built my audience is by borrowing other people’s audiences.

When I had a craft and design blog, I borrowed other people’s audiences by doing extensive write ups on makers I loved—who then enthusiastically shared that write up with their audience.

When I started doing more business coaching & education, I guest posted on big name online marketing sites and their readers followed the links back to my site.

As time went on, I borrowed audiences by appearing on podcasts and speaking for free. And of course, I borrowed the audience at CreativeLive for years—which is a move I still benefit from to this day.

There are other ways to grow an audience—things like search engine optimization, PR, and—of course—advertising. But even at the heart of these tactics is the strategy of borrowing audiences from other sources.

Now, even though borrowing audiences is something that I know works for me, I all too often forget to build that work into my plans.

During our last What Works Network virtual conference, sales strategist Allison Davis shared that it’s the only way she’s working to grow her audience. Sure, she has some social media presence but her core strategy is borrowing other people’s audiences.

Once Allison shared that, it became a hot topic of conversation: how do you borrow someone’s audience? How do you get in touch with the people who have the right audience for you and your work? How do you make the most of these opportunities?

Today, we’re answering a bunch of those questions with Annie Schuessler from Rebel Therapist.

Annie helps therapists and other healers move their businesses beyond private practice. She has her own podcast—also called Rebel Therapist—and we talk about how hosting her show has helped to use her voice.

But we also dive into how Annie has been borrowing other people’s audiences all year long through a podcast tour, a concerted effort to pitch other hosts and appear on other shows.

Not only has her tour been successful—but it’s helped create incredible results in her business, like overselling her last Create Your Program group coaching offer.

We talk about how Annie finds shows to pitch, the research she does to pitch them, how she tracks her pitching, and how she’s overcome the fear she first felt when getting started on this project.

Now, let’s find out what works for Annie Schuessler!

Annie Schuessler: It felt pretty clear that a good way to help more people listen to my podcast would be to be on podcasts, because then it's not a very big ask to say, I'm not saying go get my free thing, I'm not saying sign up for my program even. I'm just saying, go over here and just search for this podcast. You're already a listener of another podcast.

Tara McMullin: The number one way I've built my audience might surprise you. It's not through especially useful or creative content. It's not through some top secret ad targeting strategy, and it's definitely not through social media. It's not even through this very podcast. The number one way I've built my audience is by borrowing other people's audiences.

When I had a craft and design blog, I borrowed other people's audiences by doing extensive write-ups on makers I loved who then enthusiastically shared that writeup with their audience. When I started doing more business coaching and education, I guest posted on big name online marketing sites, and their readers follow the links back to my site. Then as time went on, I borrowed audiences by appearing on podcasts and speaking for free, and of course I borrowed the audience at CreativeLive for years, which is a move I still benefit from to this day. There are other ways to grow an audience, things like search engine optimization, PR, and of course advertising, but even at the heart of these tactics is the strategy of borrowing audiences from other sources.

I'm Tara McMullin, and this is What Works. The show that takes you behind the scenes to explore what's really working as small business owners build stronger businesses. Now, even though borrowing audiences is something that I know works for me, I all too often forget to build that work into my plans. Now, recently, during our last What Works Network virtual conference, sales strategist, Allison Davis, shared that it's the only way she's working to grow her audience. Sure, she has some social media presence and she does email marketing, but her core strategy is borrowing other people's audiences. Once Alison shared that, it became a hot topic of conversation. How do you borrow someone else's audience? How do you get in touch with the people who have the right audience for you and your work? How do you make the most of these opportunities when they do appear?

Today, we're answering a bunch of those questions with Annie Schuessler from Rebel Therapist. Annie helps therapists and other healers move their businesses beyond a private practice. She has her own podcast, also called Rebel Therapist, and we talk about how hosting her show has helped her to use her voice. But we also do a deep dive into how Annie has been borrowing other people's audiences all year long through a podcast tour. A concerted effort to pitch other hosts and appear on other shows. Not only has her tour been successful, but it's helped create incredible results in her business, like overselling her last Create Your Program group coaching offer. We talk about how Annie finds shows to pitch, the research she does to pitch them, how she tracks her pitching, and how she's overcome the fear she first felt when getting started on this project. Now, let's find out what works for Annie Schuessler.

Annie Schuessler, welcome to What Works. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Annie Schuessler: Thank you so much, Tara. I'm really excited.

Tara McMullin: I am excited too. We are going to be talking about speaking up and finding your voice when it comes to podcasts, something that is, of course near and dear to my heart, and I think that something is near and dear to your heart as well. So, you are a podcaster, you've got the Rebel Therapist Podcast. Why did you decide to start a podcast in the first place?

Annie Schuessler: In the beginning, I knew that I either wanted to start a podcast or write a book in 2017, and I decided to start with a podcast because I love listening to podcasts so much. I think that's about all I understood or knew about starting a podcast at that point. In the beginning, it was pretty purely strategic, like I really wanted to grow my audience, and then as I started creating it, I started getting really excited about the vision and how this was an opportunity to create something that I could be proud of and that I could do all different kinds of things with, and all the people I would get to talk to. Yeah, so as it was getting created, the vision got more and more clear.

Tara McMullin: Talk to me about the relationship between the idea of writing a book and the idea of starting a podcast, because this is something that I hear from a lot of people, and I have my own opinions about this and my own thoughts on this and I will keep them to myself for at least a moment while I let you answer, but I'd love to hear sort of like the compare and contrast, or maybe even more just the compare. What are the qualities of writing a book and starting a podcast that you really wanted to explore or that you saw as sort of being two sides maybe of the same coin?

Annie Schuessler: Yeah, for one thing I knew that either one could be a lot of work. It's hard to remember what I was thinking at the time compared to what I've realized now. I'll just pretend I had this all figured out at the time. That I felt like being an introvert, it would be good for me to use my voice with other people and to have a chance to explore, have a lot of conversations, and to have something that I was creating as I go, as opposed to a book, where what I was picturing at least is that I would be disappearing into solitude and creating something and really thinking it through myself. I'm really glad that I went the podcast route. I'm sure I'll still write a book, but I'm really glad I went the podcast route, because in all of these conversations, the way that I think about business, the way that I think about my business, it's all completely changed since 2017, because it's been this work in progress.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. I love that. When I think about the similarities between writing a book and creating a podcast, for me, it boils down to, there two different ways to really create your body of work, or to build the foundation for your body of work. So many of us want to write books, and I completely agree with you, that when you write a book, then it's like, it's done and it's there and now it's finished. Whereas with a podcast, you are still building this incredible foundation for your body of work. It is a body of work, and like you said, it's a work in progress, which ... and it's a collaborative, it's a co-creative process. I love that approach to thinking about your body of work. Because to me, it feels even a lot more human. Like, this is how we think and evolve. So, speaking of evolving, how has your show evolved since you started it?

Annie Schuessler: It actually has a totally different name. I pivoted about a year and a half in, and I changed the name to Rebel Therapist, and I also changed who it was for and what the purpose of it was. It started as a podcast for therapists wanting to build their private practices and interviewing a different therapist in every episode about what has helped them build their practice, their mindset stuff, and really getting into the nitty-gritty of their business. Then, as I helped more and more people to go beyond a traditional private practice and to expand their businesses in new ways, usually online, then I really wanted to geek out with people just on that. The show, around the end of 2018, it really became all about interviewing people who have done something beyond a private practice and what's worked for them.

So, it's been people who are therapists and healers and coaches, and then sometimes people who are from other fields, but they've got something going on that I really want my people to get to hear about, people who are doing things in an innovative way, or have figured something out that maybe therapists and healers haven't figured out yet. It's been really fun to go on that journey and get to expand who I'm talking to and what we're learning from them.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. I love that. How has your own voice evolved as the show has evolved? How are you using your voice differently today than when you first started the show?

Annie Schuessler: I've gotten more comfortable just using my voice. I've gotten way more comfortable stepping into more of a leadership role, but my kind of leadership role where I'm talking more at the beginning of the episodes, I'm doing more solo episodes where I'm saying, here's what I'm noticing, here's what I think is really important about these interviews I've been doing that I want you to pay attention to, and here's where I think we're going next. That's been really exciting to kind of step more into my own message. Even though I'm not necessarily talking a lot, it's still mostly me interviewing people. I'm taking these opportunities to bring together what I've been hearing and present them to people.

Tara McMullin: How do you plan out your podcast content?

Annie Schuessler: I am always looking for, who's inspiring me, and what are the questions I'm getting from my participants, and who out there seems to have a really good answer for them. If somebody is asking me about retreats and saying, "I really want to run a retreat," then I'm looking for, okay, who's doing retreats really well? Whether it's a therapist or it could be someone from any profession, who's doing retreats well? Then I go after that person and ask them to be on the show, and I think about what do I want my listeners to get to understand from this person? I don't have like what you have, which I admire so much of, like there's a theme, and so people are going to fit into that theme. It's really much more of, let me think about what's going to inspire me next and what's going to inspire my listeners next, and then just going after that.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. I think that's great. Obviously what works has that sort of thematic editorial calendar, and a lot of our clients at Yellow House ask, "Do I have to do it this way?" It's like, No. all we want is for people to think about how they're planning their content and being intentional about it. I love that you're thinking about it from the dual components of what is inspiring you and what you're really interested in, and also what kind of questions you're hearing out there in the ether from your listeners as well and how can the podcast to be a response to that? I think that makes a ton of sense. You mentioned that, as your voice has evolved, you've been able to take on more of a leadership role in the show that you're sort of crafting the episodes a little bit differently and that there are more solo episodes.

You're speaking more at the beginning and ends of shows. It sounds like you're guiding your listeners experience a little bit more. Tell me how you put together an individual episode. What does that process look like? Not from the logistical perspective, but when you're thinking through, what is going in to this episode, what kind of story am I telling, what's going through your head and kind of, what is the order of operations there?

Annie Schuessler: Oh, I love that. I always have a solo episode in mind that's going to be coming up, and I don't know when. Right now, I'm working on one that's about the path of a visionary. I notice certain things happening to the people I work with, where they doubt themselves, and it almost happens in a sort of predictable way, where they doubt themselves in certain ways as they're getting bigger, as they're pushing themselves, as they're growing their audiences. I've been kind of taking notes about what happens to these folks on this path, and then when I'm ready, I'm going to put it into a solo episode. It's so much more work than interview, because there's so much more like thinking, and I'm coming up with all of it myself and planning it out.

But it's really something that I always have going on behind the scenes is like, what's the next big message that I have for people and how am I going to craft that? Then it'll only end up being probably a 20 minute episode, but it will be something that's kind of important to me and important, at least to the right listeners.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. Is that something then that you book interviews with that in mind, so that you're exploring that in conversations? Or is that something that's happening more like, if the research part of it, observation part of it going on more behind the scenes?

Annie Schuessler: It's behind the scenes. So, it's more listening to ... it may be stuff that's coming up in interviews, but it's mostly stuff that's coming up in my coaching and looking at like, oh, okay, look what's happening with this person and with this person. And that reminds me of what happened to me, and then that all goes into the show.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. That is a really great reflection on how the work that we do inside of our businesses can feel how we use our voices outside of our businesses, because that's my experience as well. If I have a conversation in a mastermind group on a Q&A call, even internally in our team, and I can feel or sense that, that conversation is something that's going to serve more people. It's like, all right, how am I going to put this out into the world? What kind of story can I tell around that? How can I construct this so that the public, or my audience anyway, can engage with that? I really appreciate you sharing that part of your process, because I think that's something that people get really stuck on when they think about using their voices.

Annie Schuessler: Oh yeah, I agree, and it feels like sometimes something is just going to turn into an email. Sometimes it might just turn into a post and then sometimes it's asking to be something bigger and to take up the space of a whole podcast episode.

Tara McMullin: Yeah, absolutely. Sometimes it's all of those things. Right?

Annie Schuessler: Yeah. If it's a podcast episode, it's definitely going to be all those things for me.

Tara McMullin: Right. Yeah, because like you said, it is a lot of work. People have no idea. Okay. Let's shift gears a little bit. Not only have you been producing your own show this year, but you have been on sort of a podcast tour. You have been working on getting featured on other people's podcasts. What made you decide to do that?

Annie Schuessler: Well, one thing was that I noticed that when people are on my show, they tell me about all of the good things that come to them from that opportunity. So, I was thinking, oh, I should do that too. I should do more of that and not just wait for things to come to me. Then I also have noticed that most people who sign up for my programs come through my podcast. It felt pretty clear that a good way to help more people listen to my podcast would be to be on podcasts, because then, it's not a very big ask to say, I'm not saying go get my free thing. I'm not saying sign up for my program even. I'm just saying, go over here and just search for this podcast. You're already a solicitor of another podcast. So, it felt kind of like an easy ask.

Then also, I kept telling my clients to pitch themselves to podcasts. Over and over again, I was like, "You should be doing a podcast tour. You'd be so great. People are going to get to know you and they get to spend all this time with you when they're listening." Then I just kept not doing it myself. When 2020 was coming, I was looking at like, what are my goals for the year? And so I just decided it's really obvious. I even created a training for my audience on how to pitch yourself to podcasts. I did that in 2019. I was like, okay, obviously what I need to do in 2020 is what I tell everyone else to do, and I need pitch myself to a bunch of podcasts, and so I set a goal of being on 20 podcasts in 2020. Yeah, and it kind of scared the hell out of me.

Tara McMullin: Okay. I want to talk about why it scared the hell out of you for sure. Actually, let's start there. Let's start there and then we'll get into the nitty-gritty of it, because I want to know all of the details, as I'm sure our listeners do too. I think the fear around pitching podcasts is very real. Yeah. I want to break that down a little bit. What is it about pitching shows that made you feel that fear?

Annie Schuessler: Yeah, I didn't know it was going to be so scary when I was telling all my clients to do it. It was really scary to think of putting this ask out there, like putting work into it and being thoughtful, and then putting the ask out there, and then having no idea how it was received. So, it really brought in all of my worst fears around how people see me, and I was just picturing people opening these emails and having a response of, "Oh my gosh, I can't stand her. I would never want her on my show, and I'm so annoyed that she wrote me this email." Just these ridiculous stories started coming up for me. I think it's just the fear of rejection and exposure all like mixed together in a terrible brew.

Tara McMullin: Yes. Let me ask you, putting your podcaster hat back on, how do you feel when you receive a pitch to come on your show?

Annie Schuessler: I mean, that's why it's so funny is I don't ... I'm just glad that they pitched. I usually say no. More than half the time I say no, and it has nothing to do with bad feelings I'm having about them. It just has to do with, I have a really particular direction I'm going, and it's just so unlikely that the person pitching ... it's not that unlikely, but it's going to happen a lot that the person pitching me isn't going to be a good fit. That's obviously going to be true in the other direction, but it just doesn't feel that way, or at least it didn't feel that way in the beginning.

Tara McMullin: Totally. Totally. The main reason I asked you was it was not a gotcha question.

Annie Schuessler: No, it's a really good insight for everybody. Yeah.

Tara McMullin: Yeah, because it's the same thing on my end. I mean, we say no to 99%, probably more than 99% of the pitches that come our way, but I never open an email and think, oh my God, that's so dumb. Well, there are some pitches that I get that are clearly form letters that I'm like, oh my God, that form letter is so dumb, but a thoughtful pitch that comes my way, I have never received as this person is stupid or I can't believe they sent this to me, or I would never have them on the show. Just because it's a no doesn't mean it's a personal reflection, a personal rejection of you. Yeah, I think what you're describing is obvious. It's just so common when people think about reaching out to shows, which is the main reason I wanted to ask you to voice that.

We'll talk about how Annie worked through her fears around pitching other podcast hosts in just a minute, but first a word from our What Works partners. what works is brought to you by the What Works Network. You have a bold vision for your business. You can see it all grown up with efficient systems, effective offers and a sustainable business model that pays you well. The gap between where you're at and that bold vision, well, it can feel daunting. At times, you feel like you're just spinning your wheels. You work in bits and starts on building that bold vision for your business, but as time passes, you haven't made that much progress at all. You're hard at work day in and day out, and you're largely doing the same things, getting about the same results.

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What have you done to get past that fear of rejection and exposure over the course of this year?

Annie Schuessler: Yeah. One thing that I have done is to take that ridiculous story more ... like to take it further. Be like, okay, so they hate me, they've been always hating me, they've been like, "I can't stand her." I just really play it out, and then I can't help but see how ridiculous it is, and that, even if that were true with any particular person, that's so strange. I'm just going to let this imaginary person have these feelings about me. It doesn't actually have that much to do with me. That's one thing. It's just taking it further, like I would as a therapist with a client, like, okay, let's really follow that story for a minute.

Then another thing is really giving myself credit for the ask. Actually writing the email and sending it, I just pat myself on the back for it, and I'm like, awesome, you're getting closer to the number of asks that you set as a goal. Good for you. So, I kind of give myself that little hit. For me having a goal of this is how many pitches I'm going to do, so I planned on doing 40 pitches to get 20 podcast episodes, or as many as it would take, and so getting more focused on that goal rather than what happens from it has been really helpful. I also remind myself that what feels like danger in my nervous system is actually not danger, so I have to come back to that. I feel there's something about my survival being threatened here, but actually I'm just sitting at my computer, I'm just pressing send on an email, so it's going to be okay.

Then the great thing is that it just gets easier. Every time that I pitch a show, like January was really challenging, but ever since then, it's been so much easier. I don't get that same terror or fear of rejection the way that I used to.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. I love that you ended with that piece of it, because I really thought that's where you were going to start, and I would have been like where the answer ended, but you're right. You so answered that question like a therapist. Obviously this is more helpful than just do it and it gets easier, even if that is very, very true. I love everything you shared. I love this idea of reminding yourself that what feels like danger, what you're perceiving as danger is not real danger. I think that pertains to so many different ways that we consider using our voices or that we ... when we try and speak up, that feeling of danger comes up, when really, there's nothing dangerous about it, and the upside of it is so huge. But it takes a consciousness of that, an awareness of that to be able to open yourself up, I think, to that opportunity.

Annie Schuessler: Me too. So, know those feelings are going to happen and makes sense of them.

Tara McMullin: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so we tackled the fear part of it, at least a little bit, and with just such fantastic insight from you. Thank you again for that. Let's get into some of the logistics here. You mentioned that you had a goal of getting 20 interviews. What you realize is you really wanted to focus on the process part of it, the piece that you could actually control, which is how many pitches you've done. I'm really curious, it is September 3rd, 2020, about how many pitches have you sent out to date so far this year, and then how many interviews have you landed?

Annie Schuessler: Okay. It was fun to look at this in getting ready for today. So, I've done about 15 pitches, and about 15 interviews that either got already released or are in the works somewhere, but they're not the same ones. So, not that I got a hundred percent, but I got a lot higher percentage than I thought I would, so I have not had to pitch 40, although I'm happy to do that eventually over time. But a lot of people said yes. Then also, some people started asking me who were not on my list, and I've been happy to ... also, I think this is maybe good to know, just for everybody to know is like, I will say yes to almost any show. It doesn't have to be this perfect match where, oh yes, you have exactly the listeners I'm looking for, because it's really fun to do. It's not that big of a time commitment. I just think it's a great opportunity to practice using my voice and practice being interviewed. Yeah, I've been really happy with that number of pitches and number of episodes.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. I am so glad that you shared those results in that way too, because yeah, you're right. You're not going to get a yes to every single pitch, but just the process of speaking up, of putting yourself out there more, actually attracts more attention then, right? I was already thinking about you for this theme and like, I should talk to Annie about podcasting, but I had forgotten that you were on a podcast tour as well. When you posted about it on Instagram, I was like, ah, right. I must have Annie on this month. We must talk about both sides of this. So, you didn't pitch me. I pitched you, but it was literally because you had put out that you were doing this thing, and it reminded me how perfect you were for our conversation this month.

I think that's a really valuable takeaway for people too, is that it's not just all about the pitching. It's also about the exposure and the opportunities that come from speaking up more often in that way. So, how do you decide what shows to pitch?

Annie Schuessler: Yeah. For that, I have a database in notion, where I'm always keeping track of a lot of different potential shows. I first am thinking who my listener is, which is like a therapist, or a healer, or a coach who wants to focus on their business. So, I look at what are the shows that they're looking to, to learn about those things or to think about those things. Then I listen to each of those shows. This is probably the most time-consuming part. I listen to all of those shows. I try to listen to at least a few episodes, if they seem like it might be a good fit, and I look at their whole history to see if, is there a way that I could fit into this? If it's a solo show, obviously I'm not going to pitch them. It's got to make sense for them.

I'm thinking about first, the listener, and then I'm looking at the show itself and thinking about the host and like, do I have something that the host might want? Then if all of that's a fit, then I definitely pitch.

Tara McMullin: Okay. What does the actual pitching process look like?

Annie Schuessler: In my database, I take notes about what the tone of the show is and what they're trying to deliver to their listeners. Then I'm creating a pitch where I'm saying, okay, I get your show. Like, I like your show, or I wouldn't be pitching obviously. I like your show, this is what I like about it, and here's an idea for an episode. I'm flexible, I could do something different, but here's one idea, and then I bullet point it out so that I'm saying like, there are a few, at least a few talking points in our conversation about this. I might mention, if there are a couple of other episodes where they're talking about something similar and say like, I love what you did with this person and with this person, and here's how maybe we could come at this a third time, but in a different way.

Then I also let them know I'm pretty comfortable talking, as a podcast host, I know that that's something that can be difficult with some people is, if they're really uncomfortable talking that it's going to be a lot more work for me as the host. I just let them know I'm pretty comfortable talking, here's why, and here's a link to my podcast in case you want to check it out. That's pretty much like, it's gotten easier, obviously having done it more than once, more than three times, but I do a really particular pitch for each show, though sometimes I'd put a loom video into, especially if we've never met, just to say like, this is me, I'm a real person. I'm friendly. Hi.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. Well, and it demonstrates your voice too, right?

Annie Schuessler: Yes.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. I love that idea. I don't know that I've ever gotten a pitch with the loom video in. I think Sean got a pitch for us once with a video that was strange. Don't make a strange video, I shouldn't say that. I'll make people worried. No, I love the idea of putting together a loom video, especially if it's something quick and personal like that, I think that's a fantastic idea. Because you're right. I know when I'm interviewing a podcaster like you, that it's going to be a really easy conversation. The technology is going to work, you're going to sound fantastic. In addition to all of the wonderful things you have to say and the way that you use your voice. At the same time, I interview a lot of people who are brand new to, maybe it's their first podcast interview because it's just not part of their marketing strategy, but I'm just the weirdo who really wants to talk to them.

That is a lot of work. It can be great. It's not a reason to not pitch. It's not a reason to not do an interview, but it is a lot of extra work, so I love that you include that as well, and I think that's a great idea. Is there anything that you've learned in the process of pitching that was unexpected or surprising as you've gone on throughout the year?

Annie Schuessler: I think I've been surprised at how easy it is. I know what I've described doesn't necessarily sound easy, but it's so doable, and the fact that it gets easier, and I've been really surprised how many people say yes. I think we can forget that people are looking for content every single week, and so if we're really thoughtful there's probably, not on every show, but there's probably a place for us on a lot of shows. Oh, and I think another thing is, I just hadn't thought about this, is how fun it is. Usually, podcasters are really lovely, interesting people. Even if we're really different and we might not be friends, if we met another way, I always feel like they're my little friend for that hour together, and that we get to connect, and I really love getting to know them. I didn't necessarily remember that that was going to happen.

Tara McMullin: Yeah. What are some of the results that you've experienced, even if they're anecdotal results, you don't have to have data. I'm just curious. Yeah, what are some of the results beyond just booking these interviews?

Annie Schuessler: Yeah. I always have data, Tara.

Tara McMullin: Okay. Good.

Annie Schuessler: I have at least three people who signed up for my program who said, I found you on this other podcast, and that's why I'm here. So, I was like, whoa, I didn't expect that to happen kind of so quickly. Then my own listenership does continue to grow, so I'm going to assume part of that is from the podcasts. Then also, like I already mentioned that then I'm being asked more, so I think of that as another result where it's kind of that snowball effect.

Tara McMullin: Those are incredible results. Yeah. I mean, and it's not like three new customers who bought your $15 ebook. This is a high touch program. You only work with a certain number of people a year. That's a significant and fairly immediate return on that time investment that you've made. I love that your listenership is growing too. So many podcasts, their audiences are pretty stagnant because people churn out naturally, and sure new people find the show, but listenership is fairly stagnant. So, the fact that your listenership is growing is a huge result. If you know people are coming to your programs from your podcast, which I don't think that I put a little star to earlier when you mentioned that, but this is a thing that people do not realize about podcasts, just how close to the sale they are and how much selling you can actually do from a podcast, whether that's your own or an interview. I think that's really important too, and the listenership piece of that plays into that. How has being interviewed more often impacted the way that you use your voice in other places?

Annie Schuessler: I think the biggest way is not really my business, but how I'm feeling, as I'm just walking around in the world is I'm feeling much friendlier and more open to people. My wife had a car accident, she's fine, but she had a car accident a couple of weeks ago, and we had to replace our car, and we just met this guy yesterday and purchased a car from him, and I felt like, I am being so much more curious and friendly and open than I would have been before, and I do attribute it to meeting new people and just doing these asks and having all these conversations and realizing how connected I can be to people who I wouldn't have expected. I think that's the biggest thing. Then I'm also just much more comfortable saying yes to things like speaking at a conference or doing a training, or doing a webinar for someone else's audience that feels just less of a stretch, I think because of these interviews.

It's like, it requires a bit of improv and a bit of getting comfortable with not knowing where things are going, and that's a muscle that's been really good to work on developing.

Tara McMullin: That is awesome. I love to hear that. I love to hear that. Annie, what are you excited about right now?

Annie Schuessler: I am super excited about getting to watch my clients create really cool stuff. In my program where people come in and they create a pilot program for themselves, I get to see really, really cool, innovative people doing great stuff. I think that's the most fun this year.

Tara McMullin: That's awesome. Annie Schuessler, thank you so much for sharing how you have been speaking up, not only on your own podcast, but on other people's podcasts as well, and all of the amazing results that you've gotten for yourself and for your business through all of that. Thank you.

Annie Schuessler: Thank you so much, Tara.

Tara McMullin: All right. Is it possible to grow your audience by hitting the Instagram algorithm jackpot in theory? Yeah. Is it possible to grow your audience by creating a Cracker Jack advertising strategy? Sure, if you have plenty of on hand to burn. But if you're looking for the closest thing to a sure bet, borrowing other people's audiences is the way to do it. You can go on a podcast tour like Annie has been doing. You can contribute articles to websites, big and small. You can offer free trainings to someone else's mastermind or group program. You can speak on virtual stages. The key is to figure out who you want to talk to and who is already talking with them, then find a way to bring something useful or interesting to the conversation.

Find out more about Annie Schuessler at rebeltherapist.me, or find the Rebel Therapist Podcast wherever you listen to What Works. On Thursday, we'll share our final episode in the speak-up series and hear from some What Works Network members on how they've been speaking up for their businesses. Then in November, we're talking about learning new skills to support the growth of your small business.

What Works is produced by Yellow House Media. Our production coordinator is Sean McMullin. This episode was edited by Marty Seefeldt, and our production assistants are Kristen Runvik and Lou Blaser. What Works is recorded in what is now known as Lititz, Pennsylvania, which is on the Homeland of the Susquehannock people. The Yellow House is located in what is now known as Northwestern Montana on the Homeland of the Ktunaxa Nation.

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Host of What Works

Tara is a podcaster, small business community leader, strategist, and speaker. She’s been helping small business owners build stronger businesses for over a decade.  

Tara McMullin, What Works Weekly Newsletter

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