Jonathan Rivera On Podcasting Growth Hacks

In this episode, we chat with Jonathan Rivera. Jonathan is a podcasting BADASS and we dig into how to use podcasting to skyrocket your business, including several ideas I haven’t heard other people talking about. In fact I learned more personally from this interview than any other interview so far. If you have a podcast or have been thinking of starting one, this is a MUST listen episode!

If you’d prefer watching the video you can watch it here:


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Jeremy Reeves: Hey guys what is going on. This is Jeremy Reeves here with another episode of the Sales Funnel Mastery Podcast. Screwed up my own name.

And on the line today we have Jonathan Rivera. And Jonathan, he has a pretty interesting background. So he got started actually in real estate and basically made his fortune in real estate, kind of conquer that world and you know, like most entrepreneurs you know, you conquer one thing and then you enjoyed that for a while and then it is like, alright, what is next you know, what is the next mountain to climb.

And so he got into podcasting and now he is essentially, the podcast king, and he likes that title.

So he is kind of like the podcast king. He has helped a lot of really big names. I was just looking up and I had it up in front of me here. Of course, I exit it out, but I know there is Dan Meredith I think you helped and Ben Settle, and there is a whole bunch of other guys in there too that I am blanking on now, but John, how are you buddy?

Jonathan Rivera: I am happy to be here and I like the king of podcast so much that I bought the domain. So you can start directing that to my outpage looking at Dan Meredith, Kevin Rogers, Ben Settle, Doberman Dan, a bunch in the guys in copywriting. I know you are a fan of copywriting and you are in the gig. So you know these guys and yeah. It has been a super fun adventure just like you and I were talking before we actually start recording.

What a great way to end the day like today I get to speak with you and that is really what this is about. Speaking, sharing, learning, and growing.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, I love it.

Guys if you are not familiar with any of those names. They are all really not only are they bad ass marketers, but they are all really cool people you know. I have talked with — I think everyone — I do not know if I ever tried to talk to Kevin Rogers actually like personally.

I actually hang out with Doberman Dan, he is a very interesting character. He always keeps it interested, to say at least, but — and he is also has a very, very long background you know, in this space doing you know, supplements and all kinds of you know body building type of stuff that used to be (inaudible 2:19.0). All kinds of crazy stuff.

So before we get into you know, essentially how do you use podcast to grow your business whether you have products or services or whatever you have. Tell everybody a little bit more you know, go a little bit deeper into your background and you know, and then that all kind of segueway into everything.

Jonathan Rivera: So you mentioned the real estate thing, and really, the real estate thing was me pulling the rip cord and saying, I cannot be employed anymore and I need to get the hell out of 9 to 5. Actually, it was 7 to 3:30. I was a construction worker, believe it or not.

And working long hot hours out there in the Florida sun just dying basically. I could not wait to die out there.

I knew that was no way to live and so I saw real estate as ejection seat. The way I was going to escape the job life and so I took that path. I made a lot of money. Lost more money than I made (inaudible 3:15.6) in debt you know, I mean like, hey, I have been broke before I broke again. No big deal. I rebuild that business. Rentals are doing great now and then I have — I have been online since 2008. I have been podcasting since 2009 and I have done other businesses and infoproducts and all sorts of stuff, but the one thing that stayed consistent from then to now is my love for just being on the mic and chatting with cool people like you Jeremy.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah. And it is fun you know. I was just thinking about podcasting the other day. By the way, it is impressive that since 2009. That was way behind you know, in front of the trend.

I was just thinking about the other day like you know, I am essentially getting paid anybody who has a podcast. You basically get paid to you know, kind of pick the brains of people that normally like, I could not just call you know, some of the people that I have on the podcast and be like, oh, hey, do you want to just talk for you know, for an hour and tell me everything that you — you know, spend your entire career learning, you know what I mean.

But with podcasting, it is like, hey, you want to be on the podcast? And you get huge people you know, big A level you know, big dog players and you get like you kind of borrow their credibility and then you make money from that.

It is such an awesome you know, I am always astounded at the (inaudible 4:30.9) technological world that we lived in you know what I mean. You could not do this stuff even like 10 years ago you could not do this you know what I mean. So it is kind of awesome.

So before we get into the actual questions. I have a couple kind of like get to know you questions right.

And I would like to do this in the beginning just to you know, so people get a little bit better of an understanding of you as a person before we get into like the business side of things.

So number 1 and most importantly is what is your favorite alcoholic drink or non-alcohol.

Jonathan River: My favorite alcoholic drink is beer and my favorite non-alcoholic drink is water, but I am also a fan of nice aged Bourbon maybe something like 15 years or so and I do the scotch things sometimes, but beer is my number 1.

Jeremy Reeves: Nice. Any particular brands?

Jonathan River: I actually went out with some friends recently and I took them out to lunch over here by the airport and it was just kind of snobby place with all these fancy beers and when the waitress came up and I asked her for a Miller Light, she was actually disappointed in me. I asked her, you have it in the can, even better, so yeah. Miller light in the can.

Jeremy Reeves: It is funny because I love craft beers so I would actually love that kind of place. There is actually a couple in our area and my wife would not go to them because she is like, she just drinks Coors Light and well nothing now. She is pregnant now. So nothing now obviously, but like you know, when we go out you know, we cannot go to those places because like a lot of them do not have even Coors Light, you know what I mean.

Jonathan River: Sounds like offensive to them.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah.

And I do not get that much into it like I am not you know, I am not like, oh my God, you like Coors light, you are a horrible person you know what I mean. It has — everything has its place you know what I mean. When we go quadding you know I drink Coors Light and Miller Light that kind of thing.

Okay. Next one.

What is one bad habit that you are trying to get rid of?

Jonathan River: One bad habit that I am trying to get rid of, I am consistently working on my cell and so I am always trying to knock out bad habits and so it is one that I am sure everybody deals with and maybe, I am just in a different place with it, but it is just procrastinating on even the smallest things like today before we get on the call I told you I had a great day. I love that I am speaking with you right now because I was really productive. I got up 4 in the morning knocking stuff out and by the way, congratulations on your kid.

Jeremy Reeves: Thanks.

Jonathan River: We just brought home our son. So we were in the middle of an adoption. Three year process and we just brought home our son.

Jeremy Reeves: That is awesome. Congratulations to you.

Jonathan River: (inaudible 7:14.9) for some fun, but it is really just putting off these little things or letting them (inaudible 7:22.1) and so I have really been working hard. I have a white board over here which you cannot see and my pride in that white board is keeping it blank.

I write things down and the point is to erase them and get them off in there. (inaudible 7:34.1).

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, I like that.

Yeah everybody has that you know. Procrastination is definitely a big one.

What is that?

Jonathan River: I said I am not alone, I am sure.

Jeremy Reeves: What is one thing in your bucket list that you cannot wait to cross off. So like, what is like the big thing that when you cross that off, you are like, oh God, that feels so good.

Jonathan River: We are in the process of doing that right now. So we brought our son home and so one of the things and I have my goals written over here. One of the things is I always wanted Rachel, I call her cupcake. I always wanted a cupcake to come work with me in the business and the reason was that, if we were working together in this business, the online business, we would be able to be location independent.

So the thing on my bucket list right now that I have never been closer to and I am really excited about is spending that month in Utah, during snowboard season and still having the money coming in, having our son with us and being like, you want a snowboard today or not? That is really be a question.

Jeremy Reeves: Oh, that is awesome, yeah.

I used to be in the snowboarding when I was probably up until, I do not know, maybe 16 or 17 and it kind of fell out — I actually tried to do it a couple of years ago and I was like nope. Not happening.

I went down it was just like pathetic and I used to be you know, pretty good. I mean not like great, but pretty good at it you know, but —

Alright if you could change one thing about your life instantly, what would it be?

Jonathan Rivera: So the one thing that I would change about my life instantly is I would not have waited so long to become an entrepreneur because life is so much sweeter nowadays.

Jeremy Reeves: Alright. The final one, the one that you did not know about is — and I want you to answer this whatever pops in your head like do not sit and think on it. Whatever pops in your head just throw it out.

What is your spirit animal?

Jonathan Rivera: What is my spirit animal? Oh, I have it written down over here and it is a foxhog.

Jeremy Reeves: A foxhog?

Jonathan Rivera: A foxhog. Look for the book and I cannot remember the author right now. The book is called Curious. It is an excellent book and in there the author tells you what foxhog is. It is basically someone who does things very quickly, but also has a deep knowledge, the foxhog.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, nice.

Is that actually an animal or is it like kind of —

Jonathan Rivera: No.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay.

Jonathan Rivera: It is a cross between a fox and a hedgehog.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, got you. I like it.

Alright, so into the you know, transition into the you know, all the business stuff.

So let us say that someone already has podcast, right. And they are looking — let us just say, they are kind of you know, they are kind of moving along and they are looking for ways to grow you know, let us kind of start there, like everybody wants you know, growth. We are already doing something. How do you make it better you know.

So when it comes to podcasting, what is like — is there something that you found that really like, you have work with all these people and they all, when they launch they are big you know, they keep growing. Is there any like kind of one big thing, the one like differentiating factor between people that are you know, get podcast to the point where it is worth it for them to keep going versus people that is like, “Ah, it is not really doing anything worse?”

Jonathan Rivera: Yeah. There is one big differentiator. I have been down this road many, many times because — at this point, and I was looking at SES because I was preparing for a webinar and we have had over a million downloads on our shows and we have done about a thousand podcast episodes. So I have some experience in here and the one thing that will make the show either make it or break it is the entertainment fact.

You see what happens is people get into podcasting and they wanted to display their expertise. They want to show off how smart they are and they end up spewing facts and trying (inaudible 11:25.8) teach, and frankly, most people are listening to shows to just be taken away to be entertained and if they learned something while they are being entertained that is a plus, but your first objective is to be entertaining on your show and if you do that, it will keep bringing listeners back. It will keep them telling other people about it and it will keep you growing.

Jeremy Reeves: Nice, I like that, yeah. It is something — I have never heard of that answer before you know, like when you know, you look up all like ways to grow your podcast and it is like, oh you know, send to your list and send it to Facebook. I do not know if I have ever heard that, but I am actually thinking of the people that you are working with and they are all very entertaining people.

Jonathan Rivera: That is the secret to the people that are on the network. Those guys, I mean Kevin Rogers, former stand-up comedian. I think you have — did you have Ben Settle on the show. You may have —

Jeremy Reeves: I am actually interviewing him in like 2 weeks. Yeah 2 weeks today.

Jonathan Rivera: And then Doberman Dan he is a guy that goes off on rants and those rants are entertaining you know, that is a common threat between all of them. It is fun to listen and you also get a little bit of education while you are there.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, yeah, so guys, for everybody listening, I am going to be thinking of ways to do that because I have actually never thought you know, of doing that. I have always kept it very you know, very light harded very you know, kind of just fun and engaging, but I have never actually thought like how can I make it more entertaining, so that is an interesting one. That is going to be my big take away for today already.

So how about like with marketing, is there any kind of big secret to you know, let us say — well actually, this is kind of a 2-part you know, question.

Number 1 is any kind of like big secret for getting you know, big names on the podcast and which would therefore help the marketing and then the other one is shows that you already have you know, is there — do you have any advice for actually you know, marketing goes and like basically getting more exposure with the podcast you know.

Jonathan Rivera: Okay, so I got 2 separate questions. One of them is how to get big name people on your show and then the other one is how to market an already existing podcast. So I will go for the first one now.

When you are talking get big names you are talking about you as an interviewer getting big name guest on your show?

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, yeah, you know. People like that your audience is going to be like, oh wow, you know, I cannot wait to listen to this you know.

Jonathan Rivera: So I got this one from Igor and he is one of the guys I worked with. Igor Kheifets a solo ads guy and he has had like Robert Kiyosaki. He has had Ken McCarthy, Mike Dillard tell these big people and I am like, you know, you are doing a lot in a little bit of time sunny boy, why (inaudible 14:09.9) right and so he wrote back to me.

Yeah, I think I interviewed him about it for the podcast recipes book and he told me the secret that he used to get all these giant name guest was the network.

So he knows this guy like, you are probably just like me and he is like, (inaudible 14:29.3) where you will pay people for work. You will pay people for mentoring, coaching, masterminds, and stuff like that.

So he makes all those connections but he does not just leave it at deck. He keeps those relationships going and then he will make an ask. Like, hey, I know you this guy, will you introduce me to him? Or it might be 2 people (inaudible 14:46.6) and be like can you introduce me to this guy so I can get introduce to that guy and that is really how he has done and he just hopscotch his network to get all the big name guest that he wants on his show.

Now second question was already existing show. How do you grow it, right. That was the question.

So there is a lot of different ways to do it. One of them is like you said, getting the big name guest on your show. Sometimes that works, sometimes it does not because people think just because you get a big name guest on your show they are going to promote. Most of the times, big name guest will not promote.

So if you already had an audience that likes them, good for you, but if you are looking for them to grow your audience for you maybe not so much.

Now here is the other things that you can do is like syndication. We like to — when we get our shows going, we have on a (inaudible 15:32.5). We have them on iTunes, (inaudible 15:34.6), or Google Play, or even put them over on Youtube now and Youtube is super cool because you can run ads to them when there is something you cannot do anywhere else. The other thing is obviously like you said, your email list.

And that is why I tell people all the time when they want to start podcast, I asked them. How big is your list? How often you get in touch with them. They tell me they do not have an email list. I told them you do not need a podcast. Much better to spend your time building that email list. You can use social media. One of the things exactly doing is, I started using the app, (inaudible 16:03.7) because we have so much contact. I can only share once as it comes out, but using that app and making sure that I have a library of content and it comes out more often.

I am sharing out episodes and that is one of the things I think most podcasters make a mistake. They shared the episode once when it comes out, make a big deal about it. Forget about it, but the content, if you did it right, is still good and you need to keep sharing it because people need to be reminded and new people need to hear it and some people will share it. So there is like 1 or 2 tips (inaudible 16:34.1)

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah. I like that last one too. That is — I actually do not think I have ever shared something like once it is — you know, it is like you publish it and then as soon as the next one comes out that last one is just forget about you know.

So we have like whatever like 65 shows and I have never promote any of them more than once. That is a good one. Learning all the mistakes I am making.

Jonathan Rivera: We all make — I mean, many, many years of these mistakes I have made, I only started doing it (inaudible 17:01.8) I started podcast in 2009. I just started sharing old one like this. I have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of shows, I just started this a couple of months ago realizing that I was making this mistake.

Jeremy Reeves: Nice.

And I just had another question for you. I was going to go deeper into one of the things and it is just like totally in and out yeah. Oh you know what it was? Have you ever found anything. One of the things that I have been, I have been kind of playing around with was getting paid ads to work with podcast you know, and even just breaking even or just you know, getting it like cheap you know, cheap downloads or whatever.

Have you ever figured out that you know, puzzle with whether it is on Youtube or whether is on Facebookor you know, whatever you know, basically anything that works for that?

Jonathan Rivera: Right now, my man Ryan Stewman from the Hardcore Closer has been — he is the one that turn me on to Youtube because I do not even care about Youtube a couple of months ago, but he has reported back to me and it is the reason why I am on Youtube now is that the ads on Youtube are working to get him more listeners and the thing about it you know, you are a funnel guy. So think about it, listeners do not particularly mean anything, but if you have a good funnel in place and a (inaudible 18:17.1) equals of visit to a website equals the subscriber equal the sale then you are in business.

So yeah, that can work if you got good funnel in place, but most people do not have a good funnel and they just waste money trying to get (inaudible 18:30.6) that may or may not matter.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, yeah. I am going to try Youtube. That is another thing — I am going to have to go back and re-listen to this episode literally.

Jonathan Rivera: Share it twice.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah. No, I definitely will. Because now I am going to start doing that but you know, going back on Youtube, that is something — you were only be I think 3rd person that is doing like a video podcast and I was actually going to ask you about that, but you already answered that question, but yeah, that is a good one. I am going to start run all over on it to this actually.

So — you know, run Youtube you know, Youtube views (inaudible 19:06.9) talking to Youtube views.

So what are you know, so you have listeners right. Now you are starting to grow and a lot of people you know, a lot of people, I do not really do this, but a lot of people kind of take the approach like okay, let me build the audience and then I will start monetizing right.

Have you found anything that works in terms of you know, getting people like you were just talking about how listeners do not necessarily equal revenue you know what I mean.

So I already know like I know my stats for it and they are very good which is why I am trying to get paid you know, do paid ads to it, but a lot of people do not really like there is never call to action. There is never — it is kind of just like you listen and then it is just over you know what I mean. Is there anything you found that works really well for getting podcast listeners onto your list or you know, not only onto your list, but actually becoming customers?

Jonathan Rivera: Yeah. So (inaudible 20:08.0) see how to tackle this and so you talked about it a little bit just getting people to your site right? With some sort of giveaways, some sort of call to action. That is what is missing and a lot of people are afraid to do that. I mean, c’mon, this day and age I do not know why they would be afraid (inaudible 20:26.4) it is like (inaudible 20:27.4) you know (inaudible 20:28.6) listening, but you should have some sort of good call to action. Some sort of — I like to do extended content, so a couple different ways that I do it is one is let us know if we do a podcast average 20-minute shows. I like to keep all my stuff short and tight. The secret there is keep them wanting more.

So they come back and listen to next week’s episode and so they dive in to your old content. That is just one of our secrets, but the other thing I like to do is if I have a cool guest, if I have some fun on the show, if it goes longer and I really do not cut it like I am supposed to then one of the things that I have done in the past and I have used it 2 different ways is, I will do a sort of extended content.

So I will set up the episode and be like, hey we got this great episode bullet point, bullet point, bullet point, the only promise we do not have enough time to cover everything because we only have 20 minutes, but at the end, I am going to tell you how to get the rest of it.

And so at the end, the call to action is go to this page and the 2 different ways that I have done is go to this page to get the rest of the interview opt-in for it that is one and another one that I like to do — I actually find more useful is go to this page and I use one of the show to get plug in and (inaudible 21:38.8) stage and it unlocks the extended interview because now they put you on Twitter. They put you on Facebook and they are getting new listeners in. They want the rest of the interview and they are sharing you.

So it is kind of mini viral effect. So that is 2 different ways of using extended content to get people back to the site.

Now I want to talk to one of your other points.

I failed in podcasting many, many times.

You know, from 2009 to now, I do not have the same shows I had back then and one of the biggest mistakes that I have made is that I started this show doing the fill the dreams thing. Build it and they will come. No forget that.

Jeremy Reeves: It is the worse phrase to have ever been said in the history of the world for entrepreneurs.

Jonathan Rivera: So I figured it out in 2013 where I launched the first show that really was the first show on the podcast factory network and it is one of my podcast recipes. I got the real estate background. We talked about that no money down podcast recipe.

And this was basically, I already had the list. I had a partner who also had a list. We had an idea for a show, but I learned my lesson. I thrown away thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours, and years of time on podcast that did not go anywhere. I am like, ehh.. I do not really want to do this podcast thing, but if we do, let us fund it from somewhere.

So we went to our list. They were having some problems with some stuff and we offered them a solution to their problem. Hey, if we provide you with this solution. Would you be interested? Yes. Well, here is the buying out button. So we created the product for them and we used all that money to fund the podcast show which was The Making Agents Rich Show which launched June 4, 2013. First show on the podcast factory network.

Within 6 months, I was making a living with what most people would call living on a show because I launched it with that idea of no money down. No money out of my own pocket. Sells something for to get the audience involved and then create it.

Jeremy Reeves: Nice. I love that. That is brilliant.

Well you are a very smart man on. You know, in general, of course, but you know, when it comes to podcast, I have — I think this may top the show for the most take aways that I have ever had from my guest.

So congratulations on that. It is very hard like you know, I have been around the block for long time and you know, I buy all kinds of stuff and so it is very hard to get that title.

Jonathan Rivera: Well thank you. I am going to cut that and snip it out.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, right. That is awesome. So you know, wrapping up. Is there any other question. I always like to say like, is there anything that I missed you know, like if you were to get off this show and you know, we were to hang up and then if there was something that you just want the audience to be like you know, you kind of walk away and you are like, shit, I wish they heard you know, this thing or this other thing you know, if there is one like kind of key take away that you want people to know you know, what would that one big thing be?

Jonathan Rivera: We actually talked about a little bit and it is more of a cautionary thing because it sounds sexy to get into podcasting. A lot of people are talking about it. A lot of products about podcasting out there, but I am going to caution you.

If you are thinking about a show ask yourself the 3 questions I ask anybody before I allow them to work with me.

How big is your email list? How often you are emailing (inaudible 25:06.9) because if you do not have any email list, you are not going to have a successful launch. That is all there is to it and if they do not know who you are and you just start sending him cold messages, they are going to ignore you.

So if you are not there then go work on that.

The other thing is what are you selling? Like people start podcast and think I am going to get sponsors. Look, you are probably not going to get sponsors (inaudible 25:25.9) get sponsors. So forget that and figure out what you are selling. If it is your show, maybe you should start somewhere else building a product, doing something that actually makes you money.

And then the third question I asked people is why they want a podcast and it is more can I help this person. Can I get behind in a mission. So what is your mission. Isn’t that big that it needs a podcast or could you do that with your email list and your product before ever having your podcast.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, I like that.

Really quick follow-up question with that. To give people just a rough guideline of you know, how many emails they think they should take, just because I know you know, I know a lot of people are going to be like okay, well you know, what is the big email list. So like, is there any kind of number or at least like general kind of range you know, that you would recommend people have before they start the podcast?

Jonathan Rivera: So I want to clarify. I never said a big email list. I just said an email list. That is a clarification. I do not care if you have 10 or 100 it does not matter. We launched Michelle Spiva show, Epic Story Lifestyle. She only had 90 subscribers on her list and I got her to number 3 on iTunes new noteworthy.

The listeners do not have to be big, the list has to know who you are. They have to be looking forward to hear it from you and they have to be engaged because if you do not know (inaudible 26:41.4) you have that little bit of trial build then you are really doing yourself a disservice starting with a podcast. You can do it other ways articles, social media, different things that won’t take as much time, won’t be as frustrated to get that and (inaudible 26:56.3) going before you get into the podcasting.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, nice. I like that.

Very good advice. So hey, it was a pleasure having you on you know, before we hop off, where can people learn more about you and maybe hire you for you know launching their podcast and you know anything else that you can help them with.

Jonathan Rivera: Well, I tell you what. What I put together for your listeners Jeremy is a little, little give away. My top 10 podcasters and we talked about the no money down podcast recipe. We talked a little bit about the interview sort of recipe that I got with Igor and put that together. There are other recipes on how to grow your audience. How to build your list. How to build your brand. All that stuff I put it together for you. It is in our app. You can get it at or you can text factory to 44222 and I will send you the link and once you get email, you are able to grab the top 10 podcast recipes and start using them.

Jeremy Reeves: Sounds good. That is awesome. And I can guarantee everybody listening that I am going to do that as soon as we are off of this because clearly I need to. That is awesome.

Well, hey, it was a pleasure having you on and we will talk to you soon. Thanks again.

Jonathan Rivera: Super fun Jeremy. Thank you very much and I hope that we got a couple good little nuggets for everyone.

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