Looking for a one-stop shop to learn everything you need to know about podcasting, digital marketing, and branding?

Introducing the PodRocket Academy — where we help you accelerate your influence and become the trusted authority you’re meant to be.

In this episode, Matt Halloran talks to Julia Ritchie, ProudMouth’s academy coordinator. She discusses our on-demand courses and guides led by podcast producers and marketers, the exclusive benefits across memberships (including our free one), and how to use PodRocket Academy to accelerate your influence — even if you’re ridiculously busy.

Julia discusses:

  • Who will benefit the most from the PodRocket Academy (and what to do if you want the info but don’t have time)
  • What’s inside: courses, checklists, worksheets, and more
  • What you can expect to learn from our podcasting course series
  • How to join our 1:1 office hours (and why now is the best time to do it)
  • A sneak peek into our advanced courses — and upcoming courses!
  • Vetted experts in the academy who can help fill any gaps in your marketing
  • And more


[00:00:00] Matt Halloran: Welcome to the Top Advisor Marketing Podcast brought to you by ProudMouth. I’m your host, Matt Halloran. Being your own loud is not new to marketing, but the mindset, strategies, and resources to help you get there are evolving faster than this industry is keeping up. It is time to find a new perspective on what works, why, and how to move your business forward.

[00:00:24] Listen as I interview guests to help you learn from them how to be your own loud. Let’s get to the show.

[00:00:34] Hello and welcome to another Top Advisor Marketing Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Halloran. We have been working on building this academy for the past two and a half years. And this is the official launch podcast for the PodRocket Academy. We’re going to talk about what it is, who it’s for, what’s in it, how you can join, all of the benefits with Julia Richie.

[00:00:54] Now she is the academy coordinator. She has been working her tail off on this for quite a while. [00:01:00] Julia, let’s talk about the origins of this. So, when you became the overseer of the academy, where was it then and why was this so important to our company do you think? 

[00:01:12] Julia Ritchie: Well, the academy today is called the PodRocket academy, but it didn’t start as the PodRocket Academy.

[00:01:19] It was initially launched as the Influence Accelerator Academy. And the idea is almost the same. We wanted a platform to give our audience and people who we want to work with AKA experts who want to be freed from the torment of sales. Even if they’re not working with us at ProudMouth personally, we wanted to give them an outlet where they could go and learn what they needed to do to accelerate their influence through podcasting, through marketing, through branding.

[00:01:52] And so, we set up the Influence Accelerator Academy. We launched that. Was it January of [00:02:00] 2021? I want to say.

[00:02:01] Matt Halloran: A very soft launch.

[00:02:04] Julia Ritchie: It went live in January 2021. And then a little bit later, we kind of honed in on the branding that we wanted to do and who we wanted to serve, how we wanted to serve them through the academy.

[00:02:19] And that’s how it came to be the PodRocket Academy, which, again, is meant to give you the boosters that you need and to build up that influence and really propel you to the level of success that you would want and need to turn skeptics into fans.

[00:02:37] Matt Halloran: And we have been putting lots and lots and lots of courses in there. We’ve gone through learning platform iterations, all of those things.

[00:02:46] And I want everybody to know that we did all of this behind the scenes because we wanted to deliver the best, most complete interactive product that we could. So, let’s talk a little bit about that. Let’s talk about what’s in the academy. [00:03:00] Why would our listener want to get in there? 

[00:03:04] Julia Ritchie: Content-wise, the academy has a lot of courses, specifically around our bread and butter, which is podcasting.

[00:03:13] We’ve taken it — what we do — and we’ve broken it down into leveled, tiered courses that you can follow and pretty much go through the entire process of starting your own podcast. You know, brainstorming the name, what you’re going to talk about, how to title your episodes, how to make your artwork. And then we teach you how to record and edit your podcast and how you publish and syndicate it.

[00:03:41] And which platforms to do that on. And in our top-tier level, the 300 level of the academy, that’s where you learn how to evolve your podcast. So that’s when you’re at the point where you’re publishing regularly, you’re comfortable behind the mic, and now, you want to really take your podcast to the next [00:04:00] level, integrate it with your branding and marketing so that you can really start getting results from what you’re doing.

[00:04:05] And that’s where we introduce you to different tactics like, you know, interviewing hobbyist guests and taking on lifestyle or Matt’s good old 12×20 formula that he loves. So we really try to take you through the entire process of setting the foundation, putting the work into practice, and then incorporating influence and marketing tactics that will help you grow.

[00:04:31] And now that we have the podcast series in there, we’re also working on doing the same with things like branding, social media, website stuff like bringing SEO to your websites, stuff like that. So, we really want to give everyone a foundation in all the different areas that you need to set yourself up for success in this digital and podcasting world, and then grow from there. [00:05:00] with all the tactics that we know now and the tactics that we’re continuing to learn through our business and then bringing it to the academy so that everyone else can put it into play as well.

[00:05:11] Matt Halloran: And this is an iterative process, right? So they can come in, and just so everybody knows… We have an entirely free level of this where you can learn Podcasting 101, a couple of branding things, some really good core fundamental things in 101.

[00:05:27] But really where the magic happens is in the 201 or the 200 level. You want to talk to us a little bit more about what’s in there and what sort of things our listeners could expect from joining that level?

[00:05:39] Julia Ritchie: Yeah. So, the 200 level is our first paid level. And with it, that’s also where the courses get a little bit more in depth.

[00:05:47] We try– and at that point, you should be beyond the fundamentals and start putting things into practice. So, we want to make sure that you’re coming away from courses with actionable steps that you can start implementing and [00:06:00] giving you resources to make it as easy as possible to do that, whether it’s giving you templates to do your artwork.

[00:06:07] Templates to create the writing that you need to do, giving you step-by-step checklists or other exercises even to just help plan when you plan on doing things and who’s going to do it. And then beyond that, people who are at the intermediate level and above also get access to office hours, which run twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays.

[00:06:32] And during that, it’s one hour where you get access to either myself or Kirk Lowe or Matt Halloran. And you pretty much just get to drop in and ask whatever questions you might have about podcasting, marketing, anything that you’re doing. And we can help you either by directing you to a resource or a course that we have in the academy or giving you our input [00:07:00] right then and there.

[00:07:00] If you need advice, if you need us to look over anything, that’s a good time where you can get some one-on-one face time with us. So, that is a benefit that you get at the intermediate or advanced level. 

Midroll Ad: Hi, it’s Julia here, sharing something really quick. If you’re serious about your marketing and not just looking for hacks or shortcuts – and if you’re looking for real tactics that will give you sustainable results for 5 years and beyond – like, having a consistent pipeline of the right people – then consider investing in PodRocket Academy’s Intermediate membership. You will get courses that show you how to take your podcast and other marketing to that next level, so you have a system for attracting pre-sold prospects. To start the Intermediate membership now, go to proudmouth.com/episode365.

[00:07:49] Matt Halloran: I love the office hours. And when people show up to those office hours, they come with such an interesting variety of questions. And this is really your opportunity [00:08:00] to get our– a lot of times it’s one-on-one because we just don’t have a lot of people in the academy as of right now. We also don’t have a lot of people who are joining our office hours. So this is a great time. And the fact that people who have joined the academy, who are at the paid levels, who are joining these office hours, they’re really leaning on us.

[00:08:21] Julia. I remember one that I had recently. It was the advisor and his director of marketing. And they peppered me with questions for like 20 minutes. Hey, Matt, look at this. What do you think of this? Hey, we wrote this intro. How does this sound? And I was having so much fun. What sort of experiences have you had with office hours?

[00:08:44] Julia Ritchie: I mean, office hours are great. Not only for members since they get one-on-one time with us, but also for us to kind of learn where people are at, what kind of things they’re thinking about, what struggles they’re having. So if we don’t have content that addresses that, we’ve gone and made checklists [00:09:00] and worksheets to help them.

[00:09:02] But other than that, it’s just nice to walk alongside them as they’re going through the process. You know, we’ve had people come in who are just starting out their brand and we help them come up with their logo. And there are other people who we’re helping them tweak what they’re doing with their podcasts by helping them strategize for ways that they can get better.

[00:09:26] And since they are farther along in the process. So it’s interesting to me to get to see and help them in a way that feels hands-on. Even though they’re not a ProudMouth client, they’re a member. So we spend a more limited time together, but I still feel like I’m getting that one-on-one relationship with them and getting to know what’s important to them.

[00:09:48] What do they want to achieve and how can we in the academy help them do that? 

[00:09:53] Matt Halloran: I love the idea of office hours. And I don’t remember when we originally came up with that idea, but [00:10:00] I remember when we said we’re going to offer eight hours of office hours for our intermediate level. And I remember Kirk and I sitting down and thinking, wow, that’s a lot of opportunity for people to join.

[00:10:14] And the people who are at that level, who do get on the office hours, they just find great, great value. But it’s also a nice way for you to ask Julia, ask me, or ask Kirk to say, “Okay, hey, I just finished this. Here’s what I want to do. Where should I go next?” And Julia knows so much about the academy because this is what she does 40+ hours a week, 30+ hours a week.

[00:10:36] I just want people to understand the opportunity that they would get by joining the academy. The other thing that I really liked. So, we’ve talked about office hours. We’ve talked about the free level, so the 100 level. We’ve talked a little bit about the 200 level. Let’s talk about the 300 level because it’s a pretty big price jump between the intermediate and the advanced level, but there are some things [00:11:00] in there that make it really worth it. Can you elaborate on that a little? 

[00:11:06] Julia Ritchie: So at the 300 level, that is our top level. And we consider members who are in there to be ones who are set with their branding, their social media, and podcasting.

[00:11:20] They’re a little more experienced. So they’re not coming in as fresh and needing to do all the foundational work. They’re more at that point where they’ve been doing the marketing and the podcasting, one or the other, and they’re ready to just take it to the next level. And they’re looking for strategies to do that.

[00:11:36] And so the courses we have in there revolve more around tactics and strategies to incorporate into what you’re already doing to take it to the next level. If there are things that you might not have already thought about, and we try to make it as comprehensive as possible. We also have in there our whole CDMA course, which is our [00:12:00] Certified Digital Marketing Assistant course. It’s a very large course designed for marketing assistance and it covers everything from making nurture sequences through emails, planning events, and doing social media.

[00:12:13] So, it’s like a very comprehensive one-off course for digital marketing assistance. And that is something for top-tier members. And then we’re also giving advanced level resources. So anything that we find of value, especially when we work with clients at ProudMouth, we’re also putting it in the advanced level for members to also take advantage of. And as we continue to test out new strategies with our clients, anything that we find to be useful and that really works, we are going to take that and put it into the advanced level so that we’re continually bringing them new thought leadership around what they can do to [00:13:00] continually grow their own influence and their own marketing strategy.

[00:13:07] Matt Halloran: I think the CDMA is something that all of our listeners really need to think about because from a marketing perspective, as an expert, there are very few tools and resources that are highly organized for experts to help you as the marketing assistant or the marketing director get really not just hands-on education, interactive education, and all of these checklists and systems and all of these things that we bring. And full disclosure here, everybody.

[00:13:38] One of the reasons why we built this was because we realized that we’re such a systematic and structured organization. All of these tools are things that we should be really giving to people more and more because, Julia, you know we can’t help everybody in our influence accelerator system because it’s very hands-on, it’s very labor intensive, [00:14:00] and it takes a lot of time for us to deliver that level of product to our clients.

[00:14:04] And this allows us to help a lot more experts, a lot more people out there, especially when it comes to marketing assistance. So I love the CDMA. I remember when we recorded that. I was in a different location. I mean, this is like the best of the best information. And then also, I just recently finished podcasting 301, which could be next to the CDMA.

[00:14:28] The longest course I’ve ever shot. Everybody, you all know that this is what I do for a living, right? I mean, I’m behind the microphone. I’ve been interviewing over a thousand people. And these are all of the things that not just I learned, but then our professional voice talents. So we have professional co-hosts who’ve done way more podcasts than I have.

[00:14:48] And this is what they’ve also learned. I’m about to film a course, and I’m super excited about this on how to be a great interviewer. So many of you have already started your show [00:15:00] and you get waist deep and you’re like, “I’m going to drown soon ‘cause I don’t know where to go from here.” We’ve got some great resources in there for that.

[00:15:07] And they’re also tested. So Julia has done such a good job of organizing this, everybody, that this is not willy nilly stuff. We’ve done this — whatever we’re giving to you — probably a thousand times. So, this sounds very ProudMouth focused, but it’s not all just about us because we have something else called the vetted experts. You want to talk about that? 

[00:15:30] Julia Ritchie: When we talk about wanting to help you accelerate your influence, we recognize that not everyone who comes into the academy might be solely podcast focused and they might want to concentrate on areas that are a little bit outside of what we at ProudMouth specialize in. So, what we’ve done is we have brought in vetted experts to fill in the gaps where we don’t feel like we could give you the best of the best.

[00:15:56] So, instead we’ve partnered with people who specialize in different areas of marketing, business, planning, all of that good stuff. [00:16:00] And they have created courses for the academy. And that’s where they share their expertise with you and tell you how to do things like, again, incorporate SEO into your podcast.

[00:16:12] Into your website at different levels, you know, at the foundational level. And if you want to take it even farther, more advanced tactics you can use. We have a course by Bill Cates on how to become more referable to your ideal clients. He breaks it down into eight easy steps, and that’s a great course for most experts since that’s all they really want to achieve with their marketing.

[00:16:36] And we also have a great course by Stephen Wershing, who teaches you how to create your own client advisory board, which is a great way to, you know, really gauge the client experience that the people you’re working with are going through and how you can improve it, what they really are thinking about.

[00:16:53] So, those are just a few of the vetted expert courses we have right now. They’re all within the intermediate or advanced levels. [00:17:00] And pretty soon, we’re hoping to also get members more interaction with the vetted experts. If they need them for any questions or one-on-one time, we’re hoping to be the connection between you and them to help guide you in the right direction of getting the help you need for whatever you want to accomplish.

[00:17:21] Matt Halloran: I am so happy that Bill Cates and Stephen Wershing decided to put courses in. When we were talking to them about the academy, it was a no-brainer for either of them because you have two actual experts. I mean, Bill Cates has written seven books now, right? Stephen Wershing not only has The Client Driven Practice, but he’s done hundreds of these advisory boards.

[00:17:43] And it’s not all about content marketing, but what you’ll start to see in the academy is how all of these things start working together. Right? So you have a great advisory board, which they’ll tell you, and they’ll all tell you this, that you need to communicate more effectively with all of your clients.

[00:18:00] Podcasting can be one of the ways to do that. And so then you can go back to the board and say, “Hey, we solved this problem.” And then you can use cases, tactics to help get referrals. Right? All of this stuff really starts to work together. And when it does, marketing becomes much easier because instead of things not meshing and gears grinding and you’re stopping and starting, you notice how all of these things become very fluid.

[00:18:27] All right. This is my favorite question anytime that I interview anybody, even though, you know, we work together. What didn’t I ask you? What didn’t we cover that we should probably talk a little bit more about or that I just totally glossed over? ‘Cause I get excited and sidetracked. 

[00:18:43] Julia Ritchie: I think we can talk about who can benefit from the academy and who it’s specifically made for. I think the obvious answer is that it’s made for experts since that is who our audience at ProudMouth is. We want to help experts [00:19:00] boost their influence, accelerate their influence. And that’s what this academy is for. But we also know that people who are experts in running the show don’t have a lot of time. And sometimes, when they have that team behind them, this isn’t the stuff that they want to be focusing their time or energy on.

[00:19:17] So, this membership and this academy doesn’t strictly need to be for experts. People who can also benefit from it are marketing assistants, marketing coordinators, anybody on that team who can help with implementing any of this stuff. They can go through the courses, learn what they need to learn, and help delegate what needs to be done behind the scenes.

[00:19:39] And even if you’re not an expert, if you just want to learn how to start your own podcast, you can come in and take those specific podcasting courses. If you’re not interested in building your business, you don’t need to pay attention to any of those sections, but you don’t even need to necessarily be an expert.

[00:19:57] We do have a great partnership with [00:20:00] Blubrry who is ProudMouth’s preferred podcast provider or streaming/publishing service. And so, we’re going to be offering our academy to their whole client base. And even if they are not experts or business owners, we want to be able to help them get their podcast off the ground.

[00:20:21] And not only start it, but keep it running and avoid podfade since most people not only start a podcast, but they have the difficulty keeping it going and having that consistency. So we really want to help make that system and make podcasting and social media and branding as easy as possible so that you can not only do it well, but you can do it consistently.

[00:20:45] And so, those are all the different types of people who can really benefit from being with us in the academy. 

[00:20:57] Matt Halloran: I was just talking to a [00:21:00] director of operations for a financial advisor and we were talking about the academy. They’d just joined as an influence accelerator, a client. And she said, “Oh my God, Matt, I’m in this group of moms. There’s 1500 of us across the nation. And so many of them want to start a podcast.”

[00:21:17] I was like, “Have them join the academy for free.” There’s Podcasting 101, just about everything you need to know — enough to be dangerous, to get started. The idea here is for us to help people not only free them from the torment of sales, but also rise above the noise and get their voice out in the marketplace.

[00:21:34] Everybody, these aren’t just taglines and cool branding things that we have. These are actually core, fundamental beliefs of ProudMouth, our organization. We know that if you’re an expert or if you want to get your voice out into the marketplace, for whatever reason, you’re a politician, you’re an attorney, you’re a CPA, not just financial services professionals, but if you sell advice or want to have your advice heard, we really believe that podcasting is the easiest way to do it.

[00:22:00] And this step-by-step approach that Julia’s talking about that she’s helped build in the academy will help you execute. Now, I want to talk about podfade real quick before we wrap up today’s show. It’s a real thing. So, during COVID, 2 million podcasts were started and only 400,000 of them remain.

[00:22:22] Right? Now, if you think about that with how many people are just in North America, that’s North American statistics. That is an unbelievable amount of attrition, which means that a lot of people started and they just weren’t organized enough to keep rolling. So, if you’re the expert who’s running the business, you’re probably not the implementer.

[00:22:43] And, Julia, you said that word and I just love that word for the academy. We give you the tools for implementation. We don’t just give you “Here’s the philosophy.” We give you, “Hey, here’s the next step. [00:23:00] Do this. Do this checklist. Make sure you have all of these ducks in a row. And then when you’re done here, you can go here.”

[00:23:06] Super well-organized. Very, very easy to get involved with. So Julia, how can they sign up?

[00:23:09] Julia Ritchie: They can visit us online either through our ProudMouth website at proudmouth.com or go directly to the academy website, which is podrocketacademy.com. 

[00:23:20] Matt Halloran: Alright, everybody, if you are an implementer who are listening to this or you’re an expert and you have a really great implementer in your office who is always craving education to help you get your voice out in the marketplace, they should join the academy.

[00:23:33] They can join directly on the site. As of right now, as of the date of this, we’ve got the free level, a $99 level, and it’s like 249. Is that right? 

[00:23:43] Julia Ritchie: I have it as 200 if you sign up for an annual. 

[00:23:49] Matt Halloran: Oh, that’s right. So monthly, it’s 249 a month, but if you sign up annually, it’s going to be 200.

[00:23:56] So, for you experts out there, what a great gift to give to your team. [00:24:00] Hey, here’s some education that you’re craving and asking for. We found a place where you can get it. And as I wrap up, I was meeting with a gentleman who runs the largest marketing firm for litigators in the United States.

[00:24:18] And I was talking to him about our regular podcasting services and he’s like, “Eh, I don’t know.” You know they talk too much anyway. And I said, “Okay, well, I don’t know if you’d be interested in this, but we have this academy that really is focused for the people who are going to implement the marketing.”

[00:24:35] And he’s like, “I’ve never seen that before.” And I was like, “Well, you know, there’s HubSpot academy and all of this stuff. He’s like, “Well, yeah, man. I know about that. And they’ve, trust me, taken all of those classes, but they’re not specifically focused on their level of expertise.” What we do at ProudMouth, which is very different than anybody else’s, helps you get your expert voice out into the marketplace.

[00:24:55] This isn’t just a personality play. [00:25:00] This is… You know stuff, you have education, you know the public needs it, and we help you get it out to the world. So, Julia, I want to thank you personally for all of the hard work that you’ve done on the academy. It has been a heck of a haul. We’re super excited about rolling this out to everybody.

[00:25:13] Now, I want everybody to know, we want to get a thousand people in this quickly because we know that once we start this momentum, more and more of you are going to stop being the best kept secret in your area and hopefully start gaining more influence in your community, which you all know is what you need to do.

[00:25:31] If you have not subscribed to the show, make sure you do. Please go to podrocketacademy.com or proudmouth.com to learn more. Also, if you have not followed me on LinkedIn yet, Matt Halloran is where you find me. I’d love to be able to connect with you, and answer any of your questions about anything that has to do with marketing, content or podcasting.

[00:25:49] So, for Julia and all of us here are ProudMouth, this is Matt Halloran. We’ll see you on the other side of the mic very soon. Thanks for listening to the Top Advisor Marketing Podcast brought to you by ProudMouth. If you want to [00:26:00] know more about how you can be your own loud, visit us at proudmouth.com and sign up for the PodRocket Academy. Through courses and office hours led by professional podcast producers and digital marketers, you will learn everything you need to know to become the trusted subject matter expert you are meant to be.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.