Podcasting is the new blogging — everybody’s doing it, especially thought leaders. If you do it well, you could see real impact for you and your business.
I’ve been producing podcasts since 2010 and to date have more than 300 in my archive. I like to think of “All Access Radio” episodes as fireside chats with some of the most interesting movers and shakers I know across tech, music and entertainment. While the episodes themselves are evergreen for the most part, that series was Phase One of my experience as a podcast host.
I chose to pause my podcast during the past few years — and I’ve been considering how I want to re-engage in the podcast arena given the explosion that’s taken place in the space since. These days episodes tend to be shorter, punchier and tighter — and even more practical in their approach.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that podcasting is a natural by-product of my business as a super-connector. People love to talk about their work, and podcasters are seen as well-networked thought leaders, hosts and facilitators. So inviting guests to my show is an easy way to foster valuable connections, as these “fireside chats” often segue into longer, off-air conversations. And honestly I’m having these conversations regardless of whether I hit the “record” button, so why not let the world in on these wonderful exchanges.
Building Relationships Builds Business
Probably one of my favorite shows featured the founder of the Campowerment retreat for executive women, Tammi Leader Fuller. In another, I had a great discussion with famous venture capitalist, author, marketing specialist, and Apple alum Guy Kawasaki. By hosting artists like Stewart Copeland, Greg Kihn, Ann Wilson, Linda Ronstadt and other influencers — such as my two living mentors, Alan Weiss and Alan Cohen — I’ve opened up multiple channels through which I can promote my brand.
Having created this platform and body of work, I can also re-contextualize the content. For example, I typically have my podcast interviews transcribed and sent to my guests, as well as to re-purpose for my own social media, blog and newsletter.
While some of my guests were (or have since become) clients, I consider all of them to be important connections that add value to my business and to my audience. Podcasting is a great way to build or reinforce those relationships. I’ve learned some things about making quality podcasts as effective as possible so that you can later capitalize on those connections; here are a few tips:
Don’t just wing it. In the early days of podcasting, you could probably get away with rudimentary production. People weren’t as put off by low-quality audio or poor editing.
However, in today’s world, that won’t cut it. Episodes need to hit just the right balance. Too little editing, and you end up with a lot of distraction. Too much editing, and you have an episode with awkward cuts or not enough quiet spaces. And ensuring you have high quality sound is absolutely critical, nothing less will do. Striking the balance of all these parameters can be a challenge. So I’ve hired a show producer and recommend you do the same if you can. It’s well worth the investment across the board.
Besides getting the editing right, show producers can also do a lot of the legwork of inviting and researching guests, framing context, structuring interview questions, and following up afterward. A producer not only helps you create high-quality content, but also saves you time.
Target guests your audience will connect with. This sounds like a no-brainer, but because the market is so crowded these days, it’s harder to do than you might think.
First, identify the guests who your audience would find most appealing. This might mean nixing the biggest name with the most recent book in favor of a lesser-known guest with a story your audience will love and will often be captivated and inspired by.
You can also look around at similar podcasts to discover guests or ideas you may not have considered. Dig deep and invite really interesting guests who other podcast hosts may be overlooking to reveal some real gems. To add greater value for your audience when bringing familiar guests on, try asking them unique and unusual questions that will yield more interesting answers.
Leverage key influencers. Don’t forget about your brand! When it comes to guest selection, your audience matters, of course, but so does your business.
Consider what types of guests will enhance and promote your brand as someone who engages comfortably with thought leaders. You automatically benefit from having a peer-to-peer conversation with them, as you’ll be seen to associate with people at the top of their game in your field. Also make sure they interview well — are upbeat, conversational and have stories to share.
Inviting prospective clients or mentors as podcast guests is a great way to create rapport with them. By promoting them and their pursuits, you could turn the experience into opportunities to do business together and/or to provide reciprocal referrals.
After the interview, follow up. Your guests are now thought leaders in your network. Using your podcasting experience as a foundation, you can suggest future projects or connect them to opportunities that will enhance their businesses. Doing a podcast isn’t all about you, but in fact it’s a wonderful opportunity to grow your business, build your brand, and boost your revenues.