Category: Entrepreneurship

How to Make Your Podcast More Conversational

Some of my favorite podcasts are the ones where I feel like a fly on the wall in a room where two people are having a great conversation. But making your podcast conversational is not something that always comes naturally. Here are 4 tips on making your podcast interviews more conversational.

  1. Be a welcoming and gracious host – Set the stage for a great interview by being warm and welcoming with your guest. Invite them to be relaxed and honest.  When you are open and friendly, your guests will feel more comfortable sharing personal experiences.  This will help the conversation flow and break the ice.
  2. Share your own stories – Even though your interview-based podcast is spotlighting your guest, your listeners want to hear from you, too!  Share your own stories and perspective so the interview sounds less like a job interview and more like real conversation.
  3. Pause before you ask your next question – While it’s easy to rush to the next question after a guest has finished with their answer, make a conscious effort to pause before you move on to your next question.  This will allow the guest to expand on their answer with a personal story or anecdote or even lead the conversation in a new direction, spurred on by something that came up in their answer.
  4. Go off script – While it’s great to be prepared for your interview with a list of questions you’d like to ask your guests, don’t let that preparation dictate how the interview goes.  If your conversation is going in a really interesting direction, don’t cut it off to get on with your next question.  Follow the natural flow of the conversation and allow that amazing content to reach your audience.

So don’t be afraid to loosen up, be yourself and open your podcast up to fantastic conversations with your guests.  And if you need fantastic guests for your podcast, my team and I at Interview Connections would love to help!

4 Things That Make a Podcast Good

It’s hard to put your finger on exactly what makes a podcast good, but when I listened to Erik Newton’s interview on Jason Havey’s podcast, Spinning Logic, that’s exactly what I heard: a really good podcast. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. It keeps you listening in your car even after you reach your destination. I usually listen to podcasts when I’m driving and I know a podcast is really good when I get home and I don’t want to get out of the car and stop the podcast! When I was listening to Spinning Logic on the way home from my office, I sat in my driveway, not wanting to turn off Erik telling his story of the Tibetan guide! Since my husband was inside putting our kids to bed, I found a good place to pause and head inside to lend a hand, but the point is, I was so engaged in the interview, I didn’t want to stop listening! So is your podcast white noise, or does it keep listeners locked in until the last minute of your show?
  1. It goes deep. Shows that are really engaging are shows that tell stories. Sure, actionable content is great, but unless that content is delivered in a way that listeners can relate to, its impact is going to be lost. Good podcasts also allow the time and flexibility to go beyond the surface and dive deep into content through anecdotes, explanations, and following the natural flow of conversation.
  1. It’s honest. When both the guest and the host are open, honest, and even vulnerable, amazing content is produced. Ali Brown of Glambition Radio calls after-effects of this kind of honesty a “vulnerability hangover!” That’s what makes a great show! Listeners don’t want to hear about your perfect life and your perfect business where nothing ever went wrong in your perfect world. Listeners want to hear your REAL, raw story, and when you are brave enough to share that side and allow your guests to do the same, some incredible podcasting moments can happen.
  1. Highlights the guest AND the host. No matter how great your guests are, your listeners will keep coming back for YOU, the host. So why is it that so many hosts I talk to are hesitant to share from their own personal stories and graciously default to their guests? Jason Havey does an amazing job interjecting his own experience and anecdotes without overshadowing his guests, and as a listener of his show myself, I am always so happy to hear his perspective! Remember, your audience wants to hear from YOU.

So with all these elements of what makes a good podcast, what truly makes your message matter? The answer is, the RIGHT audience. If the right people are listening to your podcast and are entertained and getting value, your message matters. Notice I didn’t say a big audience makes your message matter. In fact, the opposite is often true! I’ve recently focused my podcast to cover questions that clients or potential clients generally asked me, and even though my download numbers are only around 200 per episode, I know I am reaching the right audience. How do I know that? My engagement and conversion rates are fantastic. I’ve drilled down my content and my format to reach my target market, and the results are speaking for themselves.

So don’t worry about getting higher download numbers or getting more subscribers. Worry about making your show GOOD. No amount of marketing will make people share and subscribe to your podcast if it’s just not good. But rest assured, listeners will come and will naturally share your content when you are producing a really good podcast.

Setting Clear Expectations

No matter what strategies you are using to grow your business; podcasting, hiring a business coach, attending a conference, trying a new marketing channel, etc., it is absolutely essential that you set clear and realistic expectations.  Without setting clear expectations right from the get go, you will find yourself frustrated along the way simply because most investments you make in your business do not deliver immediate results. Without setting clear expectations, you might become a marketing quitter!

Keep in mind how long it might take for you to see results with the marketing strategies you invest in.  If you record a podcast interview today, your phone is not going to be ringing off the hook with new clients tomorrow. It could take months before the show is released online and then weeks before most listeners download the interview.

It takes time to see results from your marketing efforts, and you need to keep that realistic timeline in mind.  I recently started working with Lindsey Anderson of Traffic and Leads to improve my SEO and Facebook advertising.  She was upfront with me right from the beginning for what I should expect and essentially told me that the first $500 of Facebook advertising dollars would pretty much be going down the drain!  That was simply because there was a lot of testing to be done to figure out what was going to work for me.  I was so grateful for Lindsey’s honesty, so I could be prepared for a longer timeline to get results.

When I meet with new clients at Interview Connections, we set expectations from our very first conversation.  While podcasting is seen by many as the newest, hottest marketing technique that is making everyone millionaires overnight, the truth is that podcasting is a very effective marketing method that requires a lot of work both before and after the episodes go live.  It’s important to me that my clients know this and are on board with the podcasting process.  But no matter what you are doing to build your business, set yourself up for real success by making sure your expectations are clear and your timelines are realistic!

How to Find a VA To Help Leverage Your Podcast Interviews

If you listened to episode 112 of Rhodes to Success, you know that leveraging the power of your podcast interviews takes a lot more work than simply recording an interview.  Not only are you booking, preparing for and recording great interviews, you are marketing and promoting them as well. The tips I gave you in episode 112 of my podcast are likely overwhelming unless you have an amazing VA on your team to help you with the process. So, how do you find a great VA? Here are some tips:

Referrals – Ask your friends in business, colleagues, peers, mentors, etc., who they can personally recommend. It is better to work with a VA who has worked with someone you trust.

Social Media/Email List – If you don’t have any personal connections that can recommend a good VA, reach out to your network via social media.  Post on your LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. that you are looking for a VA and include a brief description of the duties you need them to fulfill.  Oftentimes, your contacts will tag their recommendations right on your post, so you can connect with them right away.  You can also send an email out to your list asking for recommendations.

A note about phrasing: Instead of posting that you are “hiring,” post that you are growing your team.  Why?  When you say you are growing your team, you are denoting that your business is growing as well!  Additionally, VA’s are usually independent contractors, not “hired” as W-2 employees. To learn more about employees vs. independent contractors, visit my friend Carmen Torres at MyHRSpecialist.com. You can use her services to write a contractor agreement and an NDA, two documents I recommend you have your VA sign before working with you.

Online Marketplace – There are several online resources you can tap into to find a VA.  Most of these websites allow you to post a role description of what you are looking for and interested candidates will submit a proposal for how they would meet those requirements and at what rate.  Some resources to check out are Upwork, Freelancer and https://www.hiremymom.com/.

Once you have identified some potential candidates, start evaluating them right from the get go.  During your initial email exchange, are they professional and prompt or are their typos in their emails?  Set up a time to meet via Skype or a phone call and get a feel for whether they would be a good fit for you.

How to get started: When working with a VA, start by assigning them one project as a test run.  Judge the quality and timeliness of their work based on that one project before bringing them into your team indefinitely.  That way they will be able to prove themselves as a member of your team before they take on a larger amount of responsibility.

I encourage you to go listen to episode 112 of Rhodes to Success and even send that episode to your VA candidates, so they know what you expect!  And remember, you don’t need a VA to book your podcast interviews.  Outsource to me and my expert team of guest bookers at Interview Connections and we’ll get you booked on the best podcasts!

BONUS – If you are reading this and want to become a Virtual Assistant yourself, check out this episode of Interview Connections TV, and I’ll show you how!

Who is Your Podcast Avatar?

It’s impossible to run a successful business without knowing who your target market is, and the same is true with podcasting!  Whether you are a podcast host or guest expert, you need to identify your ideal listener if podcasting is going to be a successful medium to grow your business.  Here are my tips for identifying your podcast avatar and integrating it into your podcasting strategy.

  1. Align your avatar with your goals – What is your goal with podcasting?  Are you hoping to grow your email list or increase enrollment for your online course?  Maybe you want to fill the open slots in your coaching program.  Whatever your goal may be, think of the most ideal person you want fulfilling those goals for you.
  2. Get specific – Building a podcast avatar is all about the details.  A lot of clients I speak to about this are afraid to get too narrow in their avatar, but the more specific you get, the more you can drill down on the best podcasts to get interviewed on or on the best content to share on your own podcast.  Get into demographics!  Age, employment, interests, geographical location, etc., all of these important traits will help you narrow down the exact identity of your ideal listener and your client.  I encourage you to get a pen and paper and write these traits out until you have a clear picture of your podcast avatar.
  3. Use your avatar to shape your podcast strategy – Once you have developed your podcast avatar, use that information wisely.  If you are a guest expert, do your research and find out what shows your avatar is listening to.  It might not be that big flashy podcast with millions of downloads that you’ve had your heart set on.  You are far more likely to reach your ideal listener on niched shows that speak directly to your avatar.  If you are a podcast host, there is a wealth of information you can glean from your podcast avatar!  Do they enjoy a loose, conversational format or a more rigid, structured show?  Maybe you’ve been doing a series of guest expert interviews, only to find out that your avatar prefers to hear YOU instead.  There are lots of changes you can make, big and small, to best reach your target audience.

At Interview Connections, we help both our podcast host and guest expert clients identify and get in front of their podcast avatar.  We’d love to help you too!

How to Write Interview Questions for Your One Sheet

When you are a guest expert on podcasts, a one sheet is an essential part of your interview toolkit.  A one sheet showcases your expertise in a concise and attractive way to let podcast hosts know who you are and what you have to offer their audience. A well-crafted one sheet will give a host all the information they need to not only decide if they want to have you on their show, but also how to contact you and set up the interview.

One of the most important elements of a one sheet and the element that stumps most guest experts is suggested interview questions.  When a podcast host sees your one sheet, they may or may not know anything about you.  By reading your suggested interview questions, they get a sneak peak into what an interview with you would sound like. Having great interview questions on your one sheet will allow you to have some control over how you are going to be positioned before the show’s audience.

So how do you pick the best interview questions for your one sheet?  Here are my 3 top tips:

  1. Review your content – To start writing the best interview questions, start by reviewing all the content you have produced.  Read through your blog posts, watch your videos, read your white papers, etc, and determine what you most popular topics are.  Check Google Analytics, look at your download numbers, and grab the topics that are most popular with your audience.
  1. Pull questions from your online courses – If you have an online course, that can be a great place to pull interview questions from.  What topics are you already teaching people about that you could confidently and enthusiastically  relay during an interview?
  1. Frequently asked questions – Whether you have published content or not, one of the best sources for interview questions are your FAQ’s from your clients or potential clients.  What are people constantly asking you about?  What problems are you always helping people solve?  One question I am asked all the time is “Does audience size really matter?” This is a topic I love speaking about and something I know listeners want to know about.  So naturally, I have this included on my one sheet!

Take the topics and questions you gather from the above techniques and craft them into awesome interview questions for your one sheet.  Contact me and the team at Interview Connections, and we can create a gorgeous one sheet to get you interviews on great podcasts.

What to Do if a Podcaster is Making You Jump Through Hoops to Schedule

A recurring theme I am seeing in the feedback I get from our guest expert clients at Interview Connections is that podcast hosts are making it more and more difficult to schedule interviews.  Here are the most common mistakes I’m seeing podcast hosts make when they are scheduling guests and what hosts should be doing instead.

  1. Multiple emails back and forth to schedule – Email is probably the most inefficient way to communicate.  When you’re scheduling an appointment, you end up sending emails back and forth multiple times to find a time that works for everyone and wasting a lot of time in the process.  There are multiple online calendars you can use like Schedule Once or Calendly, but if you prefer not to use an online scheduler, pick up the phone and CALL.  Get the interview on both of your schedules while you are live together on the phone, instead of the hassle and frustration of playing email tag.
  2. Long pre-interview forms – Great guest often have professional one-sheets that will contain their bio, interview topics and questions, contact information, etc, and when you book them on your show, you’ll get a copy of this.  So why, then, is it necessary to have incredibly long pre-interview forms or applications that require guests to tediously type in the same information you already have?  Granted, not all guests may have one sheets or media pages with the information you need, and in that case, you may need to collect information from them using a form.  However, this should be the exception, NOT the rule!  Long forms will only serve to turn away amazing guests who might just be a great fit for your show.
  3. Pre-interview calls – More and more hosts are scheduling “pre-interviews” calls before the actual interview.  The purpose of these calls is to test software, test internet connection, go over content, etc.  As one of our clients Marty MacDonald said, “If you have to set up a call to test your internet connection in this day and age, you have much bigger problems.”  These calls are nothing but a waste of time.  It’s ridiculous to force your guest to clear an entirely different block of time on their calendar!  If you do want to take time to go over content and test the technical aspects of the interview, allot time at the beginning of your scheduled interview to do so.  Add a 5-10 minute buffer before you start the actual interview to troubleshoot any problems, and you’ll be fine.

All this goes back to one simple rule that every podcast host should follow: Respect your guests’ time. The more you make guests jump through hoops, the more you are going to turn great guests away.  Most hosts want to interview successful people, and successful people are BUSY, just like you.  Respect their time and make it easy to interview on your show!

If you are looking for great guests for your podcast, come check out Interview Connections, and we can connect you with amazing experts for your show.

What Do I Do When a Podcaster Accepts Me as a Guest?

Congratulations!  You’ve been accepted as a guest on a great podcast….now what?

The first and I mean FIRST thing you need to before you do anything else is thank the host.  Show your appreciation for them opening up time on their show for you, and say “THANK YOU!”  If your assistant schedules your interviews for you, please make sure they are expressing your gratitude to the host on your behalf.  Having a gracious attitude will set the tone all your future interactions and for the interview itself.  You could even send the host a free gift of one of your products in the mail.  Just ask the host for their mailing address when you schedule!

And don’t be afraid to express yourself in your own authentic voice. I know some people don’t think exclamation points are professional, but I think they show excitement and appreciation!  So go ahead and express your genuine gratitude with a few well-placed exclamation points, if that is your personal style.

Once you’ve thanked the host, move directly to getting the interview scheduled.  If the host does not automatically provide you with scheduling information, ask if they have a scheduling calendar for you to select a date.  While using scheduling calendars is something I highly recommend, not all hosts use them.  So send along your phone number and offer to arrange details of the interview over the phone.  This is a great way to connect with the host before the interview as well as work out the details.

With a date and time set, it’s time to do your homework and get ready for your interview.  Have your equipment and software ready and set reminders so you don’t forget about it in your busy schedule!  If something does come up and you have to reschedule, contact the host right away and apologize for the inconvenience.  But don’t be surprised if the host has to cancel or schedule your far in the future as a result.  Adopt an attitude of graciousness no matter what the outcome is.

Now you’re ready to get booked!  Come check out Interview Connections, and we’ll get you interviewed on the best podcasts for your niche.

Can you tell me about the audience size of the podcasts?

Can you tell me about the audience size of the podcasts?

No.

Okay, I guess my blog should be longer than one word.

But when I am asked by clients “Can you tell me about the audience size of the podcasts you book me on” my answer truly is no! I cannot tell you because download stats for podcasts are not public. The only people who truly know the size of a podcast’s audience are the people who can access their media hosting account.

On Episode 79 of The Feed, the official Libsyn podcast, Rob Walch said “If your episode had more than 165 downloads one month after you published it – it is better than half the episodes released in Libsyn.  And I would argue on average the shows on libsyn get more downloads than anyplace that offers free hosting – so by that argument – yes more than 50% of the episodes in iTunes.”

So…just in case that didn’t sink in, what Rob is saying is: IF YOU HAVE MORE THAN 165 DOWNLOADS ON AN EPISODE 30 DAYS AFTER YOU PUBLISH IT, YOU’RE DOING BETTER THAN HALF THE PODCASTS ON ITUNES.

UPDATE: 

If they are getting more than 1,400 – you are better than 80% of the shows.

more than 4,000 – you are better than 90% of the shows.

more than 10,000 – you are better than 95% of the shows.

more than 28,000 – you are better than 98% of the shows.

More than 53,000 – you are better than 99% of the shows.

(Thank you, Rob Walch Elsie Escobar from Libsyn.com for the above stats)

So, if you are a podcaster and your show is getting way more than 165 downloads an episode, you should feel pretty good about yourself! If you are a guest, this is helpful information to know because it proves that podcasts are NOT a medium where you will likely be speaking to thousands of people an episode.

Rather than asking about the audience size, you should be asking about a podcast’s target audience.  This is information that is generally readily available on the show’s website or even their show description.  You can even figure this out by listening to a few episodes of the show as well.  If your target audience matches your’s, you’ve found a great show to be on!   The audience size becomes rather irrelevant, because you know you are reaching the RIGHT audience.
At Interview Connections, we work with our guest experts to book them on podcasts that will get them in front of the most ideal potential clients, customers and patients!

How to Produce a More Compelling Podcast

There is no shortage of marketing advice out there for increasing your podcast’s download numbers or making it to the top of the iTunes charts.  What truly makes a great podcast that attracts listeners, however, is a highly produced, high quality show with compelling content. Here are some simple yet high impact tips that will help you #RockthePodcast!

1. Custom music – While there is a host of options for free music to integrate into your podcast, what will really set you apart is music that is written and produced specifically for your show.  The music you hear on my show, Rhodes to Success, was is written, recorded, and produced entirely by my brother and his band, The Danger Os.  Its music that I know no one else is using and makes my show stand out.

2. Audio clips – I love listening to shows like David Ralph’s Join Up Dots and Dave Jackson’s The School of Podcasting because they seamlessly integrate relevant audio clips into their shows.  Rather than simply two people talking, David Ralph’s interviews include clips from movies, current events, etc. that not only help accent a point in the content but also grabs listeners attention and keeps them entertained.  Taking the time to edit in some great audio clips in post-production is a great way to make your podcast more compelling.

3. Ignore the experts – If you hop onto iTunes and listen to 10 different episodes of 10 different shows, chances are, you are going to start noticing a lot similarities.  Similar intros, similar music, similar show format, even similar content!  As much as it’s great to admire and be inspired by other shows, the most important thing you can do to create a compelling podcast is to be yourself! YOU DO YOU! Ditch the script, stop emulating the “experts” and do your own thing with your show.  People won’t want to listen to your show if you are just like everyone else.  Give your listeners a reason to listen to YOUR show!

Having great guests on your show is another way to generate compelling content, so come check out Interview Connections, where my expert team of guest bookers and I can get the best guests for your podcast.