Steve Olsher is known as a reinvention expert. Olsher is making a living helping individuals and corporations become exceptionally clear on their WHAT – that is, the ONE thing they were created to do. Steve is also the host of several podcasts and creator of The New Media Summit which brings podcasters and those who want to be podcast guests together.
PBJ: What is the New Media Summit?
Steve: I’ve been podcasting since 2009 with a show called Reinvention Radio. I took some time off and got back into it consistently in 2015, one of the things we were finding was some of our best guests were people the general public did not know. It’s easy to sit down with the usual suspects but it’s hard to get people who the general public has not heard of before. We found over the years that many of our best interviews were with people that just wouldn’t fit the cookie cutter mold of a “great guest.” As our show continued to evolve, and I began to make more headway into the podcasting world, it became clear my peers were having similar struggles in terms of finding great guests. I’ve been marketing online since 1993 when we launched electronic mall on Compuserve so I’ve built up a personal brand under the Steve Olsher name for about the past 10 years, building my own database of people interested in my work. I was finding a lot of people were requesting appearances on Reinvention radio and as I began talking more about podcasting they wanted introductions to other podcasters. I realized an opportunity here to do an event where we could give attendees a chance to meet and learn from dozens of leading podcasters and to set aside time for them to pitch the podcasters — on who they are and what they do. They could get booked on the spot. There were other industry events but nothing else is out there that provides the matchmaking we do between people who want to be on shows and people who have shows and are looking for great guests.
PBJ: How long has the event been going on?
Steve: The first was in September of 2017. Since that time we have done three, and the fourth will be in Florida in February. We bring in 40 leading podcasters. We limit attendance to 150 so they have time to meet with them and break bread. We do panels and small group discussions. We set aside time for them to actually pitch. Everyone takes the microphone and that makes our event different.
PBJ: How do you find the 40 podcasters?
Steve: The format for every summit includes bringing back 20 icons of influence — those who’ve been at a past summit. And, we invite 20 new podcasters. The original 40 we found by my being in the industry and knowing a lot of podcasters. We presented this opportunity for them to get significant visibility and more eyeballs on what they’re doing. Since then it has been based on invitations to new people who I have met or referrals from other icons.
PBJ: What are the biggest challenges podcasters face?
Steve: Outside of finding great guests it’s making money from their show. Most podcasters I talk with have difficulty monetizing their efforts. That’s a big reason they come to our event. A significant amount of time is dedicated to teaching attendees how to pitch. A big component is teaching the attendees how to monetize their visibility and take advantage of the visibility opportunities they get as a result of appearing on these shows. A lot of that crosses over to the podcasters as well and they learn quite a bit about how to improve their business and margins.
PBJ: How are you making money at your podcast?
Steve: We don’t look at podcasting as a business. There’s a small handful of people that will actually make money from a podcast. We look at the business of podcasting which is very different from looking at podcasting as a business. Podcasting for us is a branch on a tree. It’s one element of our business revenue mix. It brings eyeballs and eardrums to what we’re doing, but it’s a lousy way as a stand-alone to make money. Unless you are Joe Rogan you’re not going to get numbers that make sense.
PBJ: Is that what you try to get across to people?
Steve: At the event we pull back the curtain. We share specifically how we’re doing it. That’s what’s different about our event. There is no iron curtain or VIP room or holding back. It’s an authentic vulnerable environment that is transparent. We give folks the exact blueprints that we follow to monetize what we are doing.
PBJ: Tell us about your Reinvention radio podcast?
Steve: We’ve been doing that podcast off and on since 2009 — mostly on since 2015. That show is all about dismantling the status quo. We feature people doing unique things in a particular niche. We share the stories how they got to where they are and how they are reinventing the piece of the puzzle they are focusing on now. Each show has a theme, like reinventing fear, intimacy, sex, marketing. We are doing a series on reinventing homelessness. It’s our job to find people who are reinventing their niche in their own unique way and share the stories about how they got from point A to B.
PBJ: Where are you doing the podcast from?
Steve: We do it as a live radio show. We do it morning zoo style. I have co-hosts, Mary Goulet and Richard Otey. It’s different from that standpoint. We go to WS radio, which is a studio here in San Diego. We broadcast live and then repurpose the episodes into podcasts. One of the main reasons I do it that way is I’m a former DJ and nightclub owner and a stickler on sound quality. We have the opportunity to use high-end gear at the station and it makes all the difference.
PBJ: What is your other podcast?
Steve: On Beyond 8 Figures we sit down with entrepreneurs who have exited with more than 10 million dollars or currently run businesses that gross more than 10 million dollars. We grill them until we get the details of the strategies, resources, tools, and initiatives they have leveraged over the years to realize the success they have. It’s a no-fluff show. We dig deep into the metrics and key hires to what propelled them to make that leap and connect the dots between the great idea and someone who is running an eight-figure+ business.
PBJ: What do you think of the podcasting industry?
Steve: Audio is a medium that continues to evolve and transform. Podcasting is the radio of today. It will take some time for it to have the degree of permeation into the consumer marketplace as radio. For the first time we saw podcast listenership exceed that of satellite radio so we know it’s happening. As WiFi goes into the car, Apple and Google Carplay start to hit the road, and people have more choices about what they can do in terms of their audio options, you will see more attention go to the medium. My fear for podcasting and where I think the opportunity is for podcasters is to avoid the quick bit of cash that can come with putting your programming on in an exclusive distribution channel that promises the world. The reality is they are not going to be able to deliver the mass audience and visibility you need to thrive. The future of podcasting as I see it doesn’t lie in exclusive distribution or pay-to-play type of content, I think it will continue to grow as a medium if we continue to be smart about how we allow people to access the content we’re creating.
PBJ: What advice do you have for new podcasters?
Steve: You have to go as niche as you can. There are shows now that are extremely popular but if they launched today they wouldn’t be. They are the beneficiaries of timing and nothing more. There is a lot of programming and content in the podcasting landscape that is suspect at best. Some of the most popular shows fall into that category because they were in the right place at the right time. Those general shows in fitness, business, education, etc., those same shows would struggle in ways you can’t imagine to find an audience because discoverability is becoming more complicated and complex. If you are new at podcasting, the opportunity is to create a show that really focuses heavily on the niche you most enjoy and leaving everything else alone. To get a show that has thousands and thousands of downloads every month, unless you already have a platform, will be difficult. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a very lucrative podcast even with several hundred downloads per episodes. The idea is to create a show focused on a niche that reflects your expertise and passion. Unlike traditional push media, no one is forcing those episodes down someone’s throat. Someone is downloading and listening to it because they’re interested in that subject. Here’s an example. One of my private clients launched a show called Life With Herpes. On the surface it’s like, who would listen to that show? The reality is not everyone will listen but I guarantee you the 200-400 people who listen to each episode either have that disease, loves someone who does, or works in that industry. The odds of her being able to enroll people in related products, programs, or services is very high. The truth or dirty little secret of podcasting is that the real opportunity lies in catering to a subset of the population who can benefit from the knowledge and expertise you bring to the table. If you look at this from an email marketing perspective, if you’re lucky you get a 10% open rate once your list hits 100K people or more. If you’re even luckier, you get a 1% click-through rate. Having a niche show where people raise their hand and say, “I want that” is the equivalent of having a 100% click-through rate. That’s where the real opportunity lies.
PBJ: What else do you want people to know about The New Media Summit?
Steve: The New Media Summit is designed to help coaches, authors, speakers, solopreneurs, holistic health care practitioners, and small business owners develop real relationships with today’s icons of influence. It’s the only event where people learn as much as they need to know about podcasting, and the only event they will leave with bookings in hand, having developed real relationships with icons of influence. We have a 100% track record of people coming to the Summit getting booked on shows. Everyone who comes leaves with bookings in hand. Not only are you pitching the 40 icons of influence, the 40 podcasters, but a lot of the attendees have platforms in their own right. A lot of them have their own blogs and social media channels, and because we live stream the event and there are thousands people watching across the globe, they get booked from those watching as well. If you need massive visibility fast, there is no more cost-efficient, time-efficient way to make that happen than to come to the New Media Summit and pitch people across the globe on who you are and what you do.