Podcasts are the new prime time.
The best podcasts in my industry (business and marketing) get between 500,000 and 800,000 downloads every month. A focused podcast is a powerful tool to establish your distinct voice in a crowded landscape of yammering experts. You can become a celebrity expert in just months with a quality podcast.
But before you jump over to Amazon to order your new microphone and start brainstorming a “cool name” for your podcast — you’ll want to come up with a good reason why people should listen to you. Establish a theme, a vibe, some parameters around your subject matter so that people know your agenda, can create expectations for your show and justify giving you a permanent slot inside their ear hole.
There’s a ton of competition out there and if you expect to make your way into anyone’s favorites file, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about – and make sure your listeners know what you’ll be talking about.
The best way to do that is to start with getting yourself invited as a guest on the most popular podcasts in your industry. That’s a good test for your own show ideas, because if you don’t have a “pitchable” POV and clear premise for your subject, you won’t win any invites.
Yesterday I recorded my tenth or so guest appearance on a podcast since releasing The 60-Second Sales Hook back in February, and this was the biggest one yet.
John Lee Dumas started the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast two years ago with the crazy idea of releasing a new episode every day. People told him he was nuts, warned him that he would burnout fast. That listeners would not appreciate so much content.
Fortunately he ignored them all and launched it anyway. Today his show gets over 800,000 downloads every month (even more than longer running standouts like I love Marketing and Smart Passive Income).
The important thing to note about John’s podcast is that he asks the same questions of every single guest. You might think this would become boring or monotonous, but the exact opposite is true. Because his listeners know the questions, they can look forward to hearing how different guests will answer. They don’t have to wonder if the “conversation will go anywhere” – they know exactly where it will go, and that John will bring a ton of enthusiasm… then it’s up to the guest to do something with the opportunity.
It’s a brilliant strategy. John sends out very clear instructions to his guests leading up to the interview. He sends you links to the top rated show to get a n example of what resonates. He relentlessly reminds you that the audience loves STORY! And to please frame your answers to questions like “tell us about a time you failed as an entrepreneur” in a STORY!
Simple enough instruction. But time after time, his guests blow the chance to smack one over the fence by pontificating instead of unleashing an adventure. Eager to establish their authority, experts can get so focused on lecturing that they forget to be interesting.
The truth is… no one wants to hear your important sounding “mission statements”, they want to hear about the time you dangled from a cliff, one slippery fingertip from death. And how you made it back alive. Remember, nothing resonates like story. We are hardwired to listen and react to them, so use them as often as possible.
1. Present a very specific interview subject to your host. Don’t expect them figure out what to talk to you about. Provide specific questions they can use if they want. The more clear you make your subject for them the better. The best interviews include lots of surprises, but when you approach them, your first job is to make your subject matter crystal clear. It helps to have a book or report to discuss and link to for the listeners.
2. Train like a fighter for the interview. The key to being spontaneous is being prepared. Listen to a few episodes of the podcast you’ll appear on and get a feel for the host’s style. For EonFire I wrote out the answer to every question and tweaked them over days. I knew I’d change some answers at the last minute and that John would throw some curveballs inside the context of his established question format… but, if you’re prone to “ums and uhhs” like I am, getting your answers straight ahead of time is a big help.
3. Be in the moment. If you’ve gone through the effort to prepare yourself, trust your subconscious to know the answers, then be in the moment. Don’t read your answers like a robot. Go for the joke if you see it. Tell the story you didn’t expect to. Listeners can sense when a conversation is happening in real time, or if you’re just repeating words for the seven hundredth time.
4. Make a special page with extra goodies for the show’s listeners. This is one I’ll admit dropping the ball on up till now. But I’m going to use Lead Pages to create a special “Friends of EonFire” page that John can link to with extra bonuses relevant to the things we discussed on the show. That’s a cool way to extend the conversation from the podcast over into your world.
5. Record on your end, too. Always run a recorder during the interview (usually recorded over Skype) on your own computer. Yesterday, in the middle of my interview with John Lee Dumas, the line went dead. He had a rolling blackout. “First time that’s ever happened in over 600 episodes!” he said. I was able to send him my recording and save what we had done up till then. He said he’s saved a few lost files from other guests by doing the same. Good tip. Also, transcribe your interviews and use the material as future blog posts.
One last tip is to get out of your entrepreneurial cocoon and attend live events. Even though it was the book that created the reason to have me as a guest, I’d met Pat Flynn, Dean Jackson and John Lee Dumas somewhere along the way. A living flesh handshake goes a lot further than a Facebook “ping” for starting a relationship with influencers.
Fire away any questions in the comments and I’d love to hear which podcasts own space in your ear hole right now.
P.S. I’m traveling on business and pleasure for the next two weeks. I’ll be posting some marketing lessons along the way on my facebook page, meet me there and join the fun.
Here are links to the interviews:
Entrepreneur on Fire (coming August 14th)