Category Archives: Audience Engagement

Help Your Listener With Your Podcast – PTC Episode 011


Help Your Listener With Your Podcast

This week we discuss how you can help your listener using your podcast.  There are four questions you can ask that will really help you focus your content.

Zig Ziglar had many great quotes. One of my favorite quotes is, “You can have anything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” How true that is.

As you turn your information into engaging entertainment with your podcast, keep in mind that helping people is part of the foundation of a strong relationship. If you take, take, take, your relationship won’t last long. If you are there to give and help, you will develop friends for life. (read more)

What problem does your listener need help solving?

Everyone has a problem.  You have knowledge.  If you can use your knowledge to help your listener solve a problem, you will begin to build trust with your audience.  You may not know it all.  However, you surely know more than some people.  Your listener is coming to you to learn something.  Teach and help.  Build that bond.

What are the greatest needs of your listener?

The best way to discover the needs of your listener is to ask her.  Before I launched this podcast, many people would seek me out for advice about speaking on the mic.  They could find tons of information covering the technical aspect of podcasting.  Very little was published about the art of the craft.

These people needed to find that confidence to speak into the mic.  Since they found very little help, they would imitate radio announcers they heard in the past using cliches like “Hello everyone in Radioland“.  Real people do not talk using those words.  That is when I knew I could fulfill a need.

What is your listener’s greatest fear?

Many people face the impostor syndrome.  They feel like they are kid playing dress-up amongst professionals.  They feel like they don’t belong.  They didn’t earn what they have.  Success has only come to them through luck.  This is the fear I help crush with my podcast.

Everyone belongs on a podcast.  You know more than most people about your subject.  Have the confidence in yourself to put it forward in a podcast.

Find the fear in your listener.  Help him overcome it.

What is the strongest desire of your listener?

Dan Miller of “48 Days to The Work You Love” book and podcast says, “You can make money selling what people need; you can get rich selling what people want.”  It is so true.  Think of the hot toy around the holidays.  Everyone is buying that, because it is what the kids want.  Everybody needs a toothbrush.  You can find a million of those on any given day.  Find your listener’s desire.

Let me know how I can help you.  E-mail me anytime at  I’d love to help you transform your content.

I have FREE worksheets available on the Podcast Talent Coach website.  There is also a workbook available that will walk you through each worksheet with detailed instructions.

Looking over my 4th quarter calendar, I have room to take on two coaching clients. My coaching clients receive a full show review each week.  Each client also receives one-on-one coaching over the phone by me for one hour each week.  Written notes are provide after each critique and call.  I am also available for unlimited e-mail correspondence.  It is all included in a simple, monthly retainer.

If you are interested in the worksheets, workbook or coaching, find further details HERE at

This week, find your listener’s great desire and start your next podcast at that point.  Let’s see what kind of results you get.

Can I Be You? …


Can I Be You?

Vicarious. Voyeurism. Eavesdropping.

Those are three main reasons people listen to your podcast. Tell stories to help fulfill those desires.

People dream about having a different (and usually better) life. They want to experience those things others are experiencing. The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. People crave living the lives of others.

Your listeners want to live vicariously through you. They want to experience your success. They wish they had the courage to do the things you have done. Your fans want to be you in some way or another.

Voyeurism is a reason many people watch the shows they watch, listen to the stories they hear, or read the books they read. They want to experience the lives of others.

People eavesdrop on the conversations of others for the very same reasons. They can experience the life of others without the risk of failure. Eavesdropping doesn’t take the courage required to actually live the life.

By telling great stories about your experiences, you help your audience fulfill the desire to live vicariously through you. If your show contains audio of your feats and experiences, you allow your audience to fulfill their voyeuristic desires. When you interview people on your show, you allow your listener to eavesdrop on your conversation.

When your show is simply a lecture of your content, you fail to help your listener experience any of these three desires. Find new ways to deliver your material to your audience. You will make those important connections that turn into friendships. Those relationships will foster loyalty to your show. Your tribe will follow you wherever you go. That’s a powerful thing.

Tell stories of self-revelation. See where it takes you. You’ll be surprised how many people wish they could be you.

I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at You can also find tools to help you create great content at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Photo by adamr –

The Creativity of Podcast Sound …


The Creativity of Podcast Sound


Your podcast can rise above the other average podcasts when you use sound in a creative manner. When you add audio effects to your podcast that add to the listening experience, you add an element of show business to your show. Your effects add another level of entertainment to your content.


When a well-placed effect surprises your audience when they least expect it, you will bring a smile to the face of your listener. It also adds depth and context to your story. Great sound brings your story to life.


At the end of his podcast “The School of Podcasting”, Dave Jackson uses a school bell sound effect to conclude the show. It is brilliant. The school bell relates to the title of the show. The sound of the school bell creates the mental picture of a real “school of podcasting”. The audio also brings about a bit of emotional nostalgia.  It is fantastic.


So few people take the time to add creative sound to their show. Most will have music for an intro to the show. Some may even incorporate that music to the close of the podcast as well. Very few will go beyond that point.


To be creative and surprising, you don’t need to add many effects. Two or three sound effects that are well-placed will work. If you overuse effects, you will no longer surprise your audience. One or two pieces of audio that appear at the perfect time will be a delight.


Take the extra step to find a few creative sound effects for your podcast. Place those pieces in your show where they will be unexpected yet entertaining. Your podcast will instantly rise above the average shows of your competition.



I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at You can also find tools to help you create great content at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.




Photo courtesy of



Grab Attention Like Dr. Seuss …

Grab Attention Like Dr. Suess

Dr Seuss Pictures

American children’s author Dr. Seuss (Theodor “Ted” Suess Geisel) was more interested in telling a good story than he was in telling a true story. He often exaggerated. He always used wonderful, colorful words.

The good story approach is even described In his biography at Dr. Suess and his wife were unable to have children.

“To silence friends who bragged about their own children, Ted liked to boast of the achievements of their imaginary daughter, Chrysanthemum-Pearl. … He included her on Christmas cards, along with Norval, Wally, Wickersham, Miggles, Boo-Boo, Thnud, and other purely fictional children. For a photograph used on one year’s Christmas card, Geisel even invited in half a dozen neighborhood kids to pose as his and Helen’s children. The card reads, ‘All of us over at Our House / Wish all of you over at / Your House / A very Merry Christmas,’ and is signed ‘Helen and Ted Geisel and the kiddies.’”

Part of the magic that was Seuss was created by the words he used. Oftentimes, he used words he created himself, like whisper-ma-phone, fiffer-feffer-feff, schloppity-schlopp. His words were memorable and unique. His words have sounds that catch your attention.

If you want to catch the attention of your audience, use great words like Dr. Seuss. You don’t need to create your own vocabulary. Simply use words that stir emotion. Your words do not need to be long, flamboyant words. They simply need to be emotional.

Betraying. Jubilant. Downtrodden. Passionate. Unmovable. Use words that paint pictures.

Great storytellers use delightful details created by fabulous words.

Use delightful details. “It was a muggy, hot lunchtime. We had ducked into the cool, dark shade of the woods where the sun was barely visible through the dense leaves. My eyes hadn’t yet adjusted to the leave-covered path when I lost my footing near the edge of an embankment. I ended up landing on my hip and rolling head-over-feet down the fairly steep, 10-foot drop where I promptly landed on my butt in the muddy mess below. My legs were completely covered in mud as if I had been rolling in it for hours.”

With the delightful details of that story, you can almost feel yourself in the woods. You can see the muddy mess in your mind. You can smell the thick, wooded area. Details help your listener experience the story rather than just hearing it.

Capture the attention of your listener by putting your listener in the moment. Always include delightful details in your story. Use fabulous words that paint pictures.  Grab attention like Dr. Seuss.

I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at  You can also get tools to help you create great content at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Content Isn’t King …

Content Isn’t King …

You’ve heard it often. Content is King.

That isn’t necessarily true. Content by itself won’t gain you an audience. Content isn’t King. Great content is King.

Don’t wander through your content without any pizzazz.

If your content isn’t great, nothing else matters. The production of your podcast could easily be the best available. You could have all the bells and whistles available in your studio. The marketing of your podcast could be incredibly creative and unique. However, if the content is great, no one will care.

Don’t simply go through the motions creating your content. Find a unique angle. Your take on the subject should be interesting. Make your content stand out using stories, creativity, and personal revelation.

Content won’t attract an audience unless it is great content. When your content is great, you become king. Make it happen.

I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at You can also find tools to help you create great content at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Six Ways To Produce Listening Magic …

Six Ways To Produce Listening Magic

Imagination. It is the wonderful result of recorded audio. When you listen to the radio, podcasts, audiobooks or other recorded audio, the imagination is in full motion. Your imagination belongs to you and you alone. You have full control. Your imagination is unlike any other.

Your imagination is used for your sole benefit. The characters and scenes created in your “Theater of the Mind” are exactly how you want them to look. The images are created in your mind in a way that gives you the greatest pleasure. It is all to benefit you.

The wonderful details in a story can stir the imagination in magical ways.

There are ways to include recorded production elements within your show that will enhance your listener’s imagination and experience. When you add recorded elements, the imagination of your listener will be further stimulated. You will help create elements within your listener’s “Theater of the Mind”.

There are six ways to include production elements in your podcast to create magic in the mind.  I detail them all in THIS NEW MEDIA EXPO POST.

Five Ways To Generate Topics …

Five Ways To Generate Topics

(photo by Erik K. Johnson)

As I coach talent, people often as me, “Where do I find good topics?” It’s often a struggle of new talent and veterans alike.

There are five primary methods I teach my clients to get past the topic block. These five questions will help you find quality topics for your show. If you take a few minutes before each episode to brainstorm these questions, you will have plenty of material for your show.

Read the full post on the New Media Expo blog >>

The Secret Reason People Listen To Your Show …



There is a secret, primary reason people listen to podcasts and radio shows.

The primary reason people listen to your show at all is companionship.

There are six secrets to providing a high level of companionship to your listener. If you add a little of each ingredient to your show, you will be well on your way to developing meaningful relationships with your audience.

The six secrets to companionship is the subject of my new blog entry on the New Media Expo Blog.

Check it out HERE.


3 Steps To The Art Of The Tease …


Three Steps To The Art Of The Tease

(Photo by Tiom)

When you want your listeners to stick around and listen to what you have to say, you need to give them a compelling reason. Your listener needs to anticipate what is to come later in the show. You need to excite them. You need to tease them.

Anticipation is a key feature to storytelling. Your story should build just like a good plot builds in a movie. You need to make your audience anticipate the content that is on the way.

There are three steps to creating an effective tease.  You can read my entire post about it here on the New Media Expo Blog.


— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Can You Hear The Smile? …


Can you hear the smile?

(photo by eyedear)

It may sound strange. It may sound hard to believe. But, it is true. Your audience can hear it when you smile.

If you want your listener to have fun and enjoy your podcast, you need to smile as you deliver your lines. The smile will come through in your voice.

Just like you can hear when someone has fear in their voice, you can hear joy in a voice.

When Adam Carolla is having fun with a guest on his podcast, you can hear it in his voice. When he is getting angry at the dues he pays the Screen Actors Guild, you can hear the frustration in his voice. When Adam is getting excited about his next opportunity to drive really fast, it is clear in his voice.

The voice is a very special communication tool. The nuances in your speech tell so much about the information being delivered. Your inflection is a critical part of your communication.

If you hope to get your listener excited about your content, you need to first be excited yourself. If you want to turn your information into entertainment, you need to sound like your content is entertaining you. A smile goes a long way.

When you don’t smile, you sound bored. Your content sounds boring. Your information will never become entertainment if you sound like you are simply going through the motions.

Remind yourself.  Smile. Your listener will hear it.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Your emotion will come through the speakers. When you sound excited about your content, your listeners will feel excited about it. That’s when you begin to develop influence.  Next time you are recording your show, ask, “Can you hear the smile?”

Avoid The Shiny Objects …


Avoid the shiny objects.

(photo by scantynebula)

In the past, I’ve suggested you incorporate stories in your podcast to truly engage your listener. To make your stories powerful, lead with a strong introduction that tells your listener exactly what to expect. Your first few sentences will tell your audience exactly where you are going with your tale.

Many podcasters find it fairly easy to lead with an intriguing introduction. The trouble comes as the story develops. Storytellers often find it difficult to stay focused on the goal of the story. They often get distracted and sidetracked following tangents that really have nothing to do with the story.

Let’s say the story begins with, “I found the deal of a lifetime at the mall this weekend.” You know exactly where we are going with this story. I’m going to tell you all about a great deal I found at the mall.

If we are in the middle of the story, we get completely derailed if I ponder, “Why do parents think they can just drop their kids off at the mall like it is a daycare?” This has absolutely nothing to do with the great deal I found. We are now running down a rabbit hole and need to figure out how to get back on track.

Your listener has a difficult time following your story when you get off on tangents. Your show becomes confusing. Meandering stories also waste time and limit the number of subjects you can address in any particular episode.  Stay on topic.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Make it easy for your listener to follow and enjoy your stories. Stay focused on the goal of the story. Avoid the shiny objects.

That’s Right, Of Course, Like I Said, Obviously …


That’s right, of course, like I said, obviously.

(photo by klikk)

If you find yourself saying “obviously” or “of course”, you are making one of two errors.

The first error is repeating yourself. If you are saying “obviously” because you feel everyone already knows the information, you are wasting your breath. There is no need to say it.

I may say, “The sun comes up in the East, of course.” Everyone listening to me knows the sun comes up in the East. There was no reason for me to point out the origin of the morning sun.

“Of course” gets thrown in, so it didn’t appear as if I were trying to teach you about the sunrise. I didn’t want you to think I just learned that. “Of course” plays it off and brushes it aside.

The second error is lack of confidence. You may want to sound knowledgeable to those who know the information. Yet, you know there is a segment of the audience unaware of the details. In this case, you’re just wasting words.

I may say, “The band will be at the arena Saturday night, of course.” Some may be aware of this performance. Yet, there may be members of the audience who haven’t heard the news. It makes sense to add the information.  “Of course” is meaningless.

The idea is to sound knowledgeable and credible to those that already know, while providing the information to those unaware. You simply need to restructure you sentence and eliminate the cliché.

“When the band is at the arena Saturday night, parking will be at a premium.” This sentence provides new information to both segments. I include the “arena Saturday night” portion for the new listeners while giving those already aware of the concert new parking information. Both receive a benefit.

When you include “that’s right” or “like I said”, you are repeating yourself. Your listener heard you the first time. Most people use these clichés to fill time while they think of the next thing to say. Avoid going in circles. Your listener will quickly become uninterested. Know where you’re going and keep moving forward.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Avoid the clichés. That’s right, of course, like I said, obviously.

6 Steps To Get Your Listeners To Stick Around …


I was a guest contributor this week to the New Media Expo and BlogWorld Podcasting blog.  It is an article longer than I usually write here.  However, the length allowed me to dig a little deeper into show structure.

You can read the full post here on the NEW MEDIA EXPO SITE.  I hope you enjoy it.  Be sure to leave a comment or two on the entry.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Talk To Me, Not At Me …


Talk To Me, Not At Me

(photo by Albo)

When you are podcasting, talk “to” your listener.  Don’t talk “at” her.  You are not announcing.  You are having a personal conversation and building a relationship.

Podcasting is an intimate conversation with one person.  The conversation is typically one person speaking into a microphone addressing another single individual.

There may sometimes be hundreds of thousands of people listening.  However, they are all listening by themselves.  Even in an automobile with others listening via communal speakers, the members of the audience are listening alone in their own head.  Each listener is developing their own unique, mental images.

Garrison Keillor paints fantastic, mental pictures for his listeners. On his show “A Prairie Home Companion”, Keillor describes Lake Wobegon as “the little town that time forgot, and the decades cannot improve,” and as the town “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” It is that idealistic, fantasy town where everyone wishes they lived. As you listen to his stories, you get the feeling that Keillor is talking directly to you personally. That approach is the key to personal connections with your listener.

Have a conversation directly with each individual listener collectively.  Put your listener in the moment.  Avoid addressing the group.  Instead of using “hello everyone”, use “hi, how are you?”  Make her feel like you are talking directly to her.  It will make your podcast relationship much stronger.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

When you are podcasting, talk “to” your listener.  Don’t talk “at” her.

First Is Rarely Unique …


First is rarely unique.

(photo by alexshebanov)

To create engaging content with your podcast, you need to be unique. Your first idea will rarely be a truly unique idea. That first idea will usually be something you have done or seen in the past.

Keep working the idea. Let it inspire other, more creative ideas. The more often you let your mind explore other options, the more often you will develop truly unique ideas. Don’t settle.

Always attempt to create something unique with your content. Do not settle for your first idea. Push yourself. Brainstorm. Let one idea lead to the next until you have a long list of ideas. Then, select the best idea from the bunch. You will usually find the unique idea further down the list.

If you settle for your first idea, your content will become stale. You will continue to use ideas that have been used in the past. There will be nothing to engage your audience.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Don’t settle for your first idea. Brainstorm until you push past good and find great. First is rarely unique.

Would The Evening News Air Stories That Are Not Edited? …


Would the evening news air stories that are not edited?

(photo by ginaellen)

Why do podcast hosts air a show that hasn’t been edited? No other producer in show business would publish their content without first editing it. This is entertainment. Your show should have an introduction, body and conclusion. The content should lead somewhere. To make your podcast compelling, you must edit your show.

If you do not edit your content, you will sound like an amateur. If you edit it well, the podcast will sound polished and professional.

If you don’t edit your interview, your guest will sound less like an expert. Help them shine. Edit out the “ums” and “you knows”. Make them sound great. When you do, they will be proud of the interview and spread the word. (It goes without saying that you should never makes edits that make your guest say something they are not.)

Add elements to your show that create excitement. Remove the parts of the show that take away from the professionalism. This is show business. Your podcast is supposed to be engaging and entertaining. If you are simply airing raw audio, you are delivering lack-luster content that could have been polished. There are too many weeds left in the grass.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Your podcast is a show. Make it sound that way. Edit every show to deliver the best content possible. Would the evening news air stories that are not edited?

Lose The Script …


Lose the script.

(photo by sandrarbarba)

When you are interviewing a guest on your podcast, be real. Be present in the moment. Truly listen to the answers your guest is giving. Your next question may come from that answer, and the question may be nowhere in your notes.

As you prepare for your interview, don’t script your questions. When you have a script, you will be too focused on the script and less attentive to the answers your guest is providing. Lose the script.

Instead of scripted questions, follow bullet points. Be prepared for your interview by being familiar with the material. Have an idea of the questions you want to ask. Review your bullet points to the point that you are ready to ask various questions about a single topic that might come up during the interview.

Be sure to make your questions succinct. A long-winded question is hard to follow for both your guest and your audience. Ask one short question. Let it lead into another short question. It may take three questions to get to the same answer as it would with your one long question. However, three short questions will be easier to follow and digest by your audience.

If you are concerned with following a script, you won’t allow yourself to explore unexpected twists and turns presented by the answers of your guest.

Television hosts such as Jay Leno and David Letterman have a list of questions on their blue cards that have been previewed and screened by a show producer. The host may start with one of those questions. They will then let the interview flow on its own. If the discussion hits a lull, Leno and Letterman will revert back to one of the bullet points on the card to restart the conversation.

You will never see either of these hosts ask the card questions in order, in full or in a vacuum. The interview becomes organic and develops according to the answers of the guest. Your interview should do the same.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Don’t script your interview. Instead, use a short list of bullet points, and be familiar with the subject matter. By all means, lose the script.

Is Rehearsal Really The Enemy Of Spontaneity? …


Is Rehearsal really the enemy of Spontaneity?

(photo by mibseo)

Many people refuse to rehearse any part of their podcast, because they feel it will remove all spontaneity from the show. Is that really the case?

Think about a speech you have given. When you have only rehearsed the speech a couple of times, anxiety sets in right before you go onstage. Thinking about mistakes makes you nervous. You worry you may forget a section. You simply are not prepared.

On the other hand, when you have rehearsed the speech many, many times, you eventually know it by heart. The anxiety level of presenting the material isn’t as high. When you begin, you feel much more confident. The worry about making mistakes or forgetting parts isn’t present. You relax. This is when the spontaneity kicks in.

Spontaneity in your speech happens most when you aren’t worried about the mechanics of the presentation. Your mind is allowed to move naturally through the material. This helps you become truly engaged with the audience and material. Wonderful, creative, spontaneous things happen when you reach this point.

The same can be said for your podcast. When you know the material, have defined a specific goal for the show, and have mapped out a plan to achieve that goal, your podcast will be filled with many “oh wow” moments.

If you are worried about how you will answer a question, if you haven’t rehearsed the key questions you intend to ask your guest, if you haven’t scripted an introduction and conclusion to the show, spontaneity will not be allowed to flourish. You will be too concerned about thinking of answers, questions and conclusions. There will be no brain power left for spontaneous things to happen.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Where are you spending your time? Are you too busy thinking about the next question and blocking out the spontaneity? Is rehearsal really the enemy of spontaneity?

Know The Guest, Not Their Bio …


Know the guest, not their bio.

(photo by Mil)

If you are only familiar with the bio of your guest, you will ask the same questions every other interviewer has asked. Your guest will be bored. They will provide the same, lame answers they have given on every other show. There will be very little content here to engage anyone.

Instead, do a bit of research on your guest for your podcast. When searching for your guest on the web, don’t stop at the first page. When skimming articles about your guest, don’t just look at the first few paragraphs. Find the unique material deep within the article.

When you have discovered something of interest about your guest, don’t tell them about it. Let your guest tell you the story. Throw them the easy pitch that they can hit out of the park. You don’t want your interview to sound like the Saturday Night Live bit where Chris Farley interviewed Sir Paul McCartney, leaving McCartney the only option of answering “yes” to Farley’s questions.

Let your guest shine. Just because you know the details of the story, you don’t have to reveal that you do. Ask the question in a way that sets up the story so your guest can tell it. You will both look great.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

The bio of your guest will give you common information. If your listeners know anything about your guest, they will probably be familiar with the content of the bio. Instead, do your homework. Know the guest, not their bio.

Everyone will get you nowhere …



Everyone will get you nowhere.

(photo by sergge)

Don’t worry about pleasing everyone with your podcast. As the saying goes, you’ll end up pleasing no one. You will never be able to satisfy everyone. There will always be someone who doesn’t like, need or want whatever it is that you’re selling.

Instead, develop meaningful relationships with your biggest fans. Deliver great content to those who love what you do. If you keep your fans happy and coming back for more, you can leverage those relationships to create additional fans.

Apple doesn’t worry about pleasing every computer user. The company is focused on converting their users into super-fans by delivering great products. Their efforts are creating a cult brand.

In the past, Apple was a niche player in the desktop market. Their market share was small. As the company super-served its audience by expanding into music players and tablets, fans become more engaged and evangelical. Apple now#3 and owns 17% of the total PC market.

The success of Apple wasn’t achieved by selling more desktops to more people. It was achieved by creating wonderful products for their fans. Those carrying iPhones, iPads and iPods became promoters of the brand. This evangelism is the key to the success of Apple. The company didn’t worry about pleasing everyone. Apple focused on their fans.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

If you want to truly engage your audience, and create an effective call to action, don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Focus on creating relationships with your fans. Everyone will get you nowhere.

Keep Yourself Out …

Keep yourself out.

(photo by zen2000)

When you have invited a guest to appear on your podcast, your listener is interested in hearing your guest. Your guest is the star.  Keep yourself out of the interview.

If your listener wanted to hear what you think about the subject, there would be no reason to have the guest on your show. You could simply disseminate the information by yourself. There is no problem if you want to provide the information yourself. Just save your guest the time, effort and dignity by leaving them at home.

Many hosts want to show the guest how much they know about the subject. This will sometimes come in the form of long, detailed questions. The host will fill time with personal stories that display their knowledge.

Unless you have invited your guest to debate you on a topic, as an interviewer, your job is to make your guest look good. Don’t invite the guest to appear on your show if you simply want to show how smart you are. Ask your guest questions that will allow them to tell great stories.

David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon and the other great talk hosts use their monologue to address any topics they want to discuss. When they bring their guests on the show, they ask questions that will elicit great stories. Then, they sit back and listen.  Learn to do the same.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Do your homework. Ask wonderful, open-ended questions that set up great stories. Then, sit back and listen. When it comes to interviewing, keep yourself out.

Think Like A Fan …

Think like a fan.

(photo by jjmaree)

There will always be new people joining your podcast. Never take your audience for granted. Never act like you have been there and done that. Your listener is still enamored by your celebrity status and ability to do what you do. Be humble. Be real. Be just as amazed as your listener is by the things you get to see and do.

Help your new listener get up to speed with your podcast. Inside jokes only make your new listener feel like they are not part of the group. You want your podcast to feel inclusive. If a new listener feels like they are being left out of the inside jokes, they will leave quickly. Your listener will feel unwelcome. Nothing will keep them around if they feel left out.

I recently heard a host on a podcast say, “I don’t do this to grow the audience. I just do this for fun.” It should always be fun AND grow the audience. Rarely is your audience size staying the same. It is either growing or shrinking.

You will always have listeners that go away never to return. If you aren’t doing something to grow new listeners to replace those that are leaving, you will soon have no listeners. You might as well be sitting in a room talking to yourself. There will be no need to record your material, because there will be nobody listening.

Help your new fan get familiar with the show quickly. Make it easy to understand and get involved. Include your listener. If you need to bring up something a new listener wouldn’t understand, explain it. There is never a reason to include an inside joke. A joke that needs to be explained is rarely funny.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Be excited about what you do. Think like a fan.

Turn Over The Interview Rocks …

Turn over the interview rocks.

How do you find great questions for your guest during your interview? Look in unlikely places. If you want to truly engage your audience, you need to ask engaging questions of your guest.

The guest’s website or news release is a decent place to get familiar with your guest. However, if you only use these common sources for the basis of your questions, you will be asking the same questions every other interviewer is asking. Your interview won’t be different and will not stand out from the crowd.

One source I like to use is the people traveling with the guest. Ask your guest’s traveling companion if anything amusing has happened lately. It will sound wonderfully spontaneous when you ask about it during the interview.

Country artist Miranda Lambert once joined me on my show before her performance as opening act for Kenny Chesney. Before she arrived, I asked her record label representative what she had been doing lately. He told me she had injured her leg night hunting a few days earlier.

After Miranda and I exchanged typical interview pleasantries, I said, “It looks like you have a little limp in your step. What happened?” She really wasn’t limping and was a bit surprised that I had noticed.

Miranda now had the chance to tell me a great story about falling down a small ravine while night hunting with her husband Blake Shelton. It was a wonderful question that included a story about her well-publicized relationship with Blake without asking typical interview questions. I didn’t ask, “So, what have you and Blake been up to lately?” I’m sure she gets questions like that often.

None of this would have happened if I had just read Miranda’s bio, website and news release.  If you want great questions, dig a little bit.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Be unique. Be original. Make your interview engaging for your audience and guest. Turn over the interview rocks.

Is Your Pause Pregnant? …

Is Your Pause Pregnant?

(photo by alexey05)

Our world today is so busy and noisy. There are thousands of messages hitting us everyday from every direction. In a noisy world, silence attracts attention. Silence is golden.

When you are interviewing a guest during your podcast, don’t be afraid of the pregnant pause. When that long pause begins to feel uncomfortable, let it last a little longer. Don’t create just a pause. Make it a pregnant pause. Not only will the silence attract attention, the break will give your guest time to think of a great answer to your question.

Too many hosts ramble on with their questions fearing the pause that naturally comes between question and answer. Some hosts make their questions go on and on to the point where the question is almost answered before the guest even has a chance to speak. When conducting an interview, avoid the urge to continue talking. Shut up and listen.

A typical question may start with, “Do you ever take any grief for your unorthodox approach to selling?” The interviewer quickly becomes uncomfortable with any silence at all. He then continues with, “I mean, when you are giving a speech in front of an audience, do they ever take you to task for the ideas you suggest? Or, do you ever get hate mail? I can see where your ideas might rub people the wrong way and how you might get some e-mails from people criticizing your approach.” And on, and on, and on. By the time the guest is able to cut in, his only answer is, “Yes.”

Let the natural pause happen. Attract attention with silence. Above all, give your guest time to consider a great answer without having to decipher the question from all of your babble.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Silence is golden. Is your pause pregnant?

Swing For The Fences …

Swing for the fence.

(photo by rpernell)

Rather than being consistently good with your podcast, be occasionally great.

Your listener will remember one big thing from your show. They will not remember every detail, every comment or every e-mail answer. They will remember that one thing you did. Each show, try to make one big splash that will be memorable.

Swing for the fence.

Many know the great Babe Ruth as one of the greatest home run hitters in baseball. Many also know that Ruth struck out roughly twice as often as the league average. He struck out 1,330 times.

Babe set out to do something exciting. He wanted to be memorable. Sometimes, that meant striking out.

People don’t remember all of the singles Babe hit. Even though he is 2nd all-time with his on-base percentage of .474, nobody talks about all the times Ruth got on base. He had 1,517 singles and 506 doubles to his 714 home runs. That is nearly twice as many singles as homers. Doubles and home runs were just about equal.

Why do people remember all of the home runs? Because they were exciting. Babe was occasionally great. He was great often enough to be memorable.

You don’t have to set records. Simply make your podcast occasionally great. Nobody remembers your strikeouts. Don’t worry about them. When you finally hit the home run, people will remember.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Every now and then, swing for the fence.

Did You Really Hear That? …

Did you really hear that?

(photo by mirselena)

When you are conducting an interviewing on your podcast, really listen to the answers your guest is giving. Don’t be in such a hurry to move on to the next question. Engage with your guests in order to make your show engaging for your listener.

I’m sure you probably think you are listening. In reality, you are probably thinking about the next great question you can ask. Even if you aren’t asking it, you are preparing the question in your head.

Stop. Be in the moment. Really listen to the answer of your guest. Let the answer spark your next question. If you truly listen to the answer, you will then ask the next logical question your listener is asking in their head.

When you are more concerned about the next question rather than the answer coming your way, you will miss the magic. Your guest could be giving you great question leads that you won’t find in their bio, on their website or in their news release.

If you don’t make it through your entire list of questions, nobody will know but you. The goal of the interview is to engage your audience. It doesn’t matter if that takes three questions or twelve from your list.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

In every interview, intently listen to the answers. Did you really hear that?

Don’t Ask THAT Question …

Don’t Ask That Question.

(photo by icyimage)

If you have a decent guest on your podcast, they have probably been interviewed many, many times about the same subject. Popular guests often get bored with the same questions being posed to them over and over again. To make your interview truly engaging for all involved, find unique ways to ask questions that serve the guest as well as the listener.

Often, you will hear a host ask their guest stale, typical questions. You know the questions. “So, how did you come up with the name of your latest project?” “What have you been up to lately?” Guests truly dread these questions. They serve no real purpose, yet everyone asks them.

I have had musicians confide in me off the air how much they hate doing radio interviews, because they are all the same. When I once asked a question taken from the band’s website, my guest said, “Oh, I see you’ve read my bio.” He called me out right there on the air. Most hosts take the easy way out and just skim the bio or news release and take their questions straight from there.

Using typical methods of preparation leads to stale questions. “When does your album come out?” “Where did you get the name for the band?” “How did you guys meet?” Pop group Ben Folds Five began making up answers for the question “Where did you get the name for the band?”. In fact, they almost had a different answer every time the question was asked. They had to make the interview interesting for themselves.

Every guest is looking to benefit in some way from the interview. Usually, they have come on your show to promote their latest book or new product. You can help your guest promote without asking painful questions.

Let’s say you are interviewing a musician who has a new album coming out on July 1st. You ask, “When does the new album come out?” Your guest will instantly think, “Didn’t this guy do any homework before he set up this interview?” Your guest will also be saying in his head, “Oh, not this line of questioning again.”

Instead, make your questions interesting. Ask, “When your album comes out on July 1st, what will you be doing to celebrate?” You could also ask, “The album is released on July 1st. Who have you slipped some advanced copies to?” How about asking, “When the album hits stores on July 1st, where will you go to buy your first copy?” Believe me, every artist buys a copy of their first album in the store. They just want to see it on the shelf.

By asking creative questions, you’ve helped the guest promote their goods without sounding stale. You have avoided the mistake of stealing their answer. Best yet, everyone is engaged in the discussion.  Be unique.

Country act Little Big Town was recently a guest on my show. By reading information about the band on the internet, I knew all four members have kids. I also knew all of the kids travel with the group when they tour. I could have asked, “What are the names of your kids.” How about, “Is it fun travelling with your children?” I’m sure they get asked questions like this all of the time.

By getting a little creative, I instead asked the members of Little Big Town, “When the kids travel with you guys, what is the craziest kid thing you have on the bus?” They had just purchased a new kiddie pool for the summer that would fit on top of their gear. They also have a pink pottie for toilet training. It gave them a great opportunity to talk about their kids without asking the same, lame questions they always receive.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Keep your interview engaging. Be creative. Find unique ways to ask questions that serve the guest as well as the listener. By all means, don’t ask that question.

Selling Is Easy, Right? …

Selling is easy, right?

(photo by friday)

I was listening to the latest interview CD that accompanies each issue of Success magazine. Publisher Darren Hardy was talking with Founder and President of Piranha Marketing, Inc. Joe Polish. During that interview, Mr. Polish proclaimed great marketing makes selling easy and unnecessary.

You may not be selling in the traditional sense of products or services in exchange for money. However, you are making a call-to-action within your podcast. It may be selling for money. It may also be inviting your listener to come again, asking him to visit your website, requesting that she join your mailing list, inspire him to get involved with a cause or any other action. It all involves selling yourself.

Polish’s statement was bold. As he went on to explain himself, Polish made perfect sense. In fact, his comments were very similar to the marketing and branding information we’ve been discussing with regard to your podcast.

In summary, Polish said great marketing gets people properly positioned, so they are pre-interested, pre-motivated, pre-qualified, and predisposed to do business with you (or act on your call-to-action). Great marketing therefore makes selling easy and unnecessarily.

If you have truly engaged your listener and created that strong relationship we’ve been discussing, the selling should take care of itself. Selling becomes difficult when you are trying to get your listener interested. Selling before your listener is motivated is a challenge. Trying to sell to a listener that isn’t qualified is hard work. If your listener isn’t predisposed to taking action, you will need to sell hard.

When you have taken the time to build the relationship, your listener will be pre-interested, pre-motivated, pre-qualified, and predisposed to do business with you. They will be ready to buy. Selling, in terms of convincing your listener to buy, will be unnecessary. The marketing and engaging relationship created with your podcast will have your audience ready to act upon your call-to-action.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Selling is easy, right?

Do They Remember? …

Do they remember?

(photo by lesscholz)

When you consider the options podcast listeners have, the importance of creating a powerful brand really becomes apparent.

I searched iTunes for podcasts about hockey. There are hundreds of hockey podcasts available. Thousands and thousands of episodes exist that deal with hockey. You can find various topics, including drills, NHL teams, coaching, fantasy hockey and many more.

How do you stand out? How do you get noticed?

Your listener needs to remember your podcast, so they can return and listen again. That is the way to build a following. It really doesn’t matter how many people listen today. What builds a strong podcast is the number of listeners that come back the next time, and the next time, and the time after that. You build your audience slowly by getting more people to listen to this episode than listened to the last episode. Get your listener to remember to return.

Using your brand to create strong relationships with your listeners is critical to the health of your podcast. If you are bland, you will get lost in the sea of average. There are over 100,000 podcasts available for consumption. Most of them are average or worse. If you refine your content, turn your information into entertainment, and transform your podcast into powerful relationships, you will easily stand out from the crowd. It is a must not only for your success, but your mere survival. Begin your brand today.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

When it comes time for your audience listening again, do they remember?

Emotionally Powerful? …

Emotionally Powerful?

(photo by hvf)

A successful podcast is built on a strong relationship with the listener. It could be called a tribe as defined by Seth Godin in his book of the same name. The strong relationships with your listeners begin to develop your brand. You can then monetize your brand and associated relationships with an effective call-to-action. But it starts with the brand.

Powerful brands are more than just recognizable names. Powerful brands are full of emotion. A brand is a collection of perceptions, creating emotional connections, while consistently delivering on a promise. The more powerful the emotional connection, the more powerful the brand.

Take a moment to think of some very powerful brands and the associated emotions of the rabid fans of those brands. Nike. Volkswagen. Star Trek. Starbucks. Apple. Harley Davidson. Fans will go out of their way to interact with their favorite brand. These brands are unique, because they create powerful emotions within their fans that are not found in ordinary brands.

Ordinary brands lack emotion. Keds. Buick. Battlestar Galactica (either one). Dunkin’ Donuts. Hewlett-Packard. Honda. The powerful emotions are not present for most people in these brands.  Even the websites of these brands lack the emotion of the powerful brands.

An amazing book entitled “The Power of Cult Branding” by Matthew W. Ragas and B. J. Bueno describes the Seven Golden Rules to cult branding. Emotion is the key to all seven. Social Groups, Courage, Fun, Human Needs, Contribution, Openness, and Freedom. All emotional, not functional. It’s not the best, biggest, brightest, loudest, or #1 product. Cult brands are focused on emotion, not hype.

If you want to turn your podcast into a powerful brand that you can monetize with a strong call-to-action, stir emotion every time.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Is your podcast emotionally powerful?

Are You Shouting? …

Are you shouting?

(photo by Tobkatrina)

You can’t shout your way into a person’s trust circle. They only way to gain trust is to add value. Give them something they can use. Building trust is the foundation of revenue generation for your podcast.

As you build trusting relationships with your podcast, continue to ask yourself, “How am I helping my listener?” Continue to give, and the trust will develop over time.

When you begin every discussion with your products, needs or wants, people will tune you out. You will begin to sound (and be treated) like advertisements for used cars. Shouting doesn’t work. Your listener won’t care and will rarely return.

Serve first, many times over. Then and only then can you effectively sell.

Shows like the “Dave Ramsey Show“, “48 Days To The Work You Love” and “No More Mondays” are all designed to help their listeners first. Sure, they all have products to sell as the end result. However, they never begin with their product. The discussions on these shows always begin with the listener’s needs in mind first.

As you prepare for your show, find great ways to help. Your help may simply come in the form of entertainment. You may serve as companionship for your podcast listener. Help them find other forms of companionship as well. If your podcast is only one hour weekly, there are 167 more hours in the week that aren’t occupied by your show. Your listeners will surely need more companionship to fill a few of those hours.  Help your audience fill those hours, too.

— I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Are you building trust, or are you shouting?

Is It An Ad For Everything Else? …

Is it an ad for everything else?

(photo by crystalvenus)

Media consultant Mark Ramsey had a fantastic blog post this week regarding the monetization of podcasts.

Mark says:

“In the world of these upstarts (the world we all now reside in), anyone can create media and the goal isn’t necessarily for the media to be monetizable but for the media to enable the monetization of other things.”

As long as podcasters see their show as entertainment first and advertising second, a podcast can go a long way to building a brand.  Adam Carolla does an amazing job at this.  He is very entertaining and uses his podcast to promote all of his other ventures.

Entertainment could mean companionship, advice or any other form.  If podcasters make the mistake many advertisers make by beginning with the product features rather than product benefits for the listener, their podcast will be no more effective than their advertising.

A great podcast can help build a great brand if the intent of the podcast is to help the listener in some way.

Read Mark Ramsey’s great blog here:

I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Is it an ad for everything else?

Are You Using Cows? …

Are you using cows?

(photo by lisavan)

The unexpected is amusing, delightful and memorable. Being direct assumes your listener cares about your marketing message. They don’t. Your listener cares about his or her needs, wants and desires. Attract their attention by doing the unexpected.

To engage your podcast listener and create a relationship, you need to be memorable. In order to be memorable, you must be unique. Be distinct, unusual, and unexpected. If you sound like every other show, you will not stand out and get noticed.

Chick-fil-a could have easily become another fast food restaurant lost in the sea of mediocrity. Founder Truett Cathy wouldn’t let that happen. The company pays great attention to the details and does the unexpected at every turn.

The Chick-fil-a mission statement is “Be America’s Best Quick-Service Restaurant.” Sure, every fast food joint wants to be the best. Few are willing to put in the work.

One Saturday, we were on a road trip. We were passing through Des Moines, IA at 8:45p as we pulled into the mall to grab a quick bite. We discovered the mall would be closing at 9p. As you can imagine, most restaurants in the food court were cleaning up. We were one of two parties there to eat.

We stepped up to the Chick-fil-a counter and apologized for cutting it so close and causing them extra work. The gentleman behind the counter assured us it was no trouble at all. We received our (fresh) food quickly and grabbed a table in the middle of the food court.

About five minutes later, the same Chick-fil-a employee (a teenager) came to our food court table to make sure everything was alright. This was a mall food court. Few fast food restaurants ever check on you in their own establishment, let alone a mall. You especially do not receive this sort of attention 10 minutes before closing.

That wonderful and surprising level of service is the norm at Chick-fil-a. They always take the extra step to surprise and stand out. The unexpected effort is carried through to the careers they offer, the scholarships they provide to their employees and the process of accepting partners and franchisees.

The company uses cows in their commercials to promote chicken sandwiches. The Chick-fil-a website even has a special section devoted to the cows. When a cow parachutes into a football game promoting chicken sandwiches on a commercial, it us unexpected. Chick-fil-a is memorable.

If you can create unique, memorable experiences for your listener by incorporating the unexpected, you begin to create powerful, meaningful relationships.

I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.

Are you using cows?

Are You Spending Time On The Right Things? …

Are you spending time on the right things?

(photo by Alancrosthwaite)

Many podcast hosts work to spice up their podcast with big words. They try to sound important and impressive. Self-aggrandizing words like “best”, “most” and “number one” usually go in one ear of your listener and out the other. Most people are too skeptical to believe statements of that nature.

People will only pay attention when they care. Focusing on you will not make them care. You need to begin with your listener. Pay great attention to their wants, needs, fears and desires. Tie those basic desires to your content.

When creating your show, you should spend time on what your listener is hearing rather than what you are saying. You don’t need big words or oversized claims to get your point across. You simply need to entertain your listener with wonderful stories.

On his show, Dave Ramsey uses listener calls and e-mails to address the concerns of his audience. He dispenses financial advice with words and concepts that are easy to understand. He has given memorable names to the elements of his strategy, like “baby steps” and “emergency fund”. He makes his listeners care by starting with their fears and desires. He then makes his information easy to understand. Dave is focused on what his listener is hearing.

Make sure you listeners are receiving your message. Say it in different ways. Use common language. Engage your listener with vivid yet familiar words.

Work to refine what your audience is hearing.


– I’d love to help you with your podcast. Post any questions or comments you might have, or e-mail me at Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment.


Are you spending time on the right things?

What Did You Reveal Today? …

What did you reveal today?

(photo by photoblaz)

When you tell stories on your podcast, you reveal things about yourself. Vivid details are critical elements of great storytelling.

Details are more believable than generalities.

Details reveal specifics about your thoughts, beliefs and character.

Details put your listener in the moment helping them envision your story in their mind.

Garrison Keillor, in one of his “Stories From Lake Wobegon”, describes a woman who endures crushing loneliness and town gossip. Keillor says, “She got into bed with a dying man – so she could sing ‘Abide With Me’ in his good ear”. You can see the details in your mind. Envision the man’s hearing aid. Can you hear the song? There are so many details in that one sentence, many of which aren’t even described.

Lake Wobegon is a fictitious place, yet is believable due to the details. The story details reveal what Keillor finds amusing. The story is also vivid enough that you can see it in your mind.

That’s the wonderful thing about audio. Everyone sees their own personal, mental images in their own way. Those differences add to the enjoyment and entertainment of the story. Each listener can enjoy the unspoken details in their own way. They are not at the mercy of the interpretation of a movie director.

Tell great stories. Use vivid details. What did you reveal today?

Are You Delivering What They Seek? …

Are you delivering what they seek?

(photo by VITALIJLANG)

People listen to podcasts, the radio and other audio for companionship. They don’t want to drive alone. People have an inner desire to be around other people. Companionship is the reason people listen to your podcast, even if you are selling something. Your listener will always ask, “What’s in it for me.”

Make your listener feel comfortable, as if she is spending time with a friend. When people listen to guys like Adam Carolla, they feel like they know him. Women feel like they could actually hang out with Ellen DeGeneres when they watch her show. Leo Laporte comes across as your friend when you listen to his tech podcast. Each of these shows are about that comfortable connection.

When you make your listener feel comfortable, they will come back time and again. You are their companion. Are you delivering what they seek?

Are You Defending? …

Are you defending?

(photo by Sloth92)

When you defend the status quo, you never do anything new. You will also find it hard to get noticed. You are doing the same thing everyone else is doing. You will blend in. You won’t stand out.  You won’t truly engage your audience.

Creating meaning relationships with your podcast audience requires that you be remembered.

Be different and bold. Instead of looking for reasons why your idea won’t work, find all of the reasons your idea will be great. Get inspired. If your reason to avoid the challenge is the fact that no one has done it before, you’re drawing the wrong conclusion. The fact that it hasn’t been done before is exactly why you should be doing it. Be different.

Oprah Winfrey had done her show for years as “the father of my child left us / I need a paternity test / crying on tv” show. Once everyone else began doing the same thing, Oprah flipped it. She even created a book club … on television! Who would have ever given that a shot at success? Her status quo went right out the window. She rode it all the way to the bank.

Jerry Springer, on the other hand, just added some chair throwing and hair pulling and took the whole thing in the opposite direction. Bigger, better and bolder than anyone else. He too stands out.

Your experience makes it even harder to avoid the status quo. Your preconceived notions created from everything you’ve seen in the past makes it difficult for you to see things in a new way. You only know what you’ve seen in the past. suddenly, you are telling yourself, “That will never work. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.” Avoid your past.

Be creative and get noticed. Are you defending?

Risky Stands Out …

Risky Stands Out.

(photo by Hurricanehank)

As we develop meaningful relationships with your podcast, we in turn build credibility that will support your call-to-action within your show. To develop strong relationships, you need to create engaging entertainment that will get you remembered by your listener. To be remembered, you must stand out.

You stand out when you are loved. You are remembered when you are hated. You fade into the background when you are plain, vanilla and trying to not upset anyone. If you don’t stir strong emotions, you are easily forgotten.

When we create, we expose our perspective. We open ourselves to criticism. It is natural to want your thoughts, views, art and creation to be accepted by everyone. To avoid being disappointed, we often play it safe.

The fantastic, memorable personalities are usually both loved and hated. Rush Limbaugh is loved by the conservatives and hated by the liberals. Dave Ramsey is loved by the conservative investor and hated by credit card companies, whole life insurance salespeople and high-risk investors. Dr. Laura is consistently critical of her callers. Yet she receives more callers than she could ever handle on any given show.

Safety lacks creativity. It is risky to be truly creative. However, that is really the only way to get noticed. Safe blends in. Risky stands out.

Their Voice Will Always Be More Meaningful …

Their voice will always be more meaningful.

(photo by Yanc)

One major purpose of your podcast is to foster relationships with your listeners. Many use e-mail, texts, tweets and posts to interact with the audience. The podcast host will read these on the show.

Unfortunately, these methods of communication put distance between you and your listener. It is much more compelling to hear the words of another individual in their own voice than it is to hear someone else tell the same story (or ask the same question). Written word loses the passion when it is read from an e-mail. The inflection, meaning and emotion is always different when read by another individual.

A scripted e-mail lacks spontaneity. When read, an e-mail will always make less of a connection than your listener actually asking the question in their own voice. Less of a connection equals less of a relationship.

Be creative in finding ways to use the voice of your audience. You might use voicemail or ask listeners to submit audio questions through your website or by e-mail. Similar to the way Clark Howard occasionally answers financial questions on “The Clark Howard Show“, you could record questions using a “man on the street” style with a quality, handheld recorder.

There are various ways to capture the voice. Be creative. Stockpile some great questions that you can use over the course of a few shows to cut down on the work it takes to collect the questions. Begin truly engaging your audience and creating meaningful relationships by using their voice. Their voice will always be more meaningful.

Are You Following The Four Steps? …

Are you following the four steps?

(photo by Rcaucino)

I listened to Chris LoCurto’s “Entreleadership” podcast today. He made a great point that everyone is a salesperson. You’re always selling something. You could be selling your product, your service, your ideas, or yourself. You are selling to your clients, your boss, your employees, your future date and your kids.

What caught my ear was the four essential steps present and necessary in every sale. The four steps must be followed in order for the sale of everything. If one step is skipped, it will derail the entire sales process.

The four steps in the sales process are qualify, rapport, educate and close.

I began to wonder how many podcasts view their show as selling. Beyond that perspective, I wondered how many actually understand and use the four selling steps. The answer is probably not enough.

Your podcast is selling something. It could simply be your ideas. You could be selling an actual product. You are most likely at least selling your listener the idea of listening again. Be sure you follow the four steps.

The qualification step will probably occur in the description of your show. If your show is about gardening, you probably will have a difficult time attracting someone not interested in gardening. They are not a qualified “buyer”.

When you get your listener to tune into the show, begin building rapport. Friendship comes from self-revelation. Help your audience where you can.

Next, education your listener. Explain what problems are solved by your “product”. Explain the importance of solving those problems. Explain how you have succeeded in that process in the past. Help your listener solve their problems.

If you have completed the first three steps successfully, the close should be easy. It should handle itself. The first three steps have found a qualified “buyer”, developed a relationship with that individual, and explained to your listener how you can help them. If the close is difficult, you have probably made a shortcut through one of the steps. Make sure each step is fully executed.

Are you following the four steps?

Raw Talent vs. Passion – And The Winner Is…

Tim Mushey has created a fantastic blog post on caring for your customer. The experience is centered around seeing Van Halen in concert. Tim makes a great point.

It is unfortunate in business today that “going the extra mile” isn’t even necessary to stand out most of the time. Being consistent and delivering on your brand’s promise will usually make you better than most of the competition.

It amazes me that delivering a simple recap after the job is complete to one of our clients can create astonishment on their part. They are so numb to the average lack of care from their other suppliers that any sense of attention will get them to take notice.

I’ve seen many, many bands go through the motions. Not to make excuses. However, It’s like a couple trying to get back together after a breakup. The relationship ended for a reason the first time. Getting together again may be good for a beer. Any longer will probably only make you realize why you broke up in the first place … even when you’re making hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it.

Tease Me …

Tease me.

(photo by Ersler)

Anticipation is a key feature to storytelling. Your story should build just like a good plot builds in a movie. You need to make your audience anticipate the content that is on the way. It is like a vacation you are planning to take. The fantastic anticipation for the trip is almost as pleasurable as the trip itself. You can’t wait for the trip to arrive. You want your listener to feel the same way about your content. When they can’t wait for the story to arrive, you have created some great content.

Teasing is the art of creating anticipation for your audience to entice them to stick around for the payoff to your setup. It is a critical element of your show. Teasing helps create momentum for your podcast.

When you promote parts of the show that are coming up, you must creatively tease your audience. You must give them a reason to stick around. It isn’t enough to simply say, “A great story about this weekend is coming up.” Few will stick around for the payoff. Tease. Create anticipation. Instead, use something like, “You’re never gonna believe what I found in the attic this past weekend.”

Television news does a wonderful job at teasing. Create anticipation. Tease me.

Unique, Vivid, Mental Images …

Unique, Vivid, Mental Images.

(photo by Chris Harvey)

When someone tells a story, on the radio or in a podcast, it is theater of the mind. When you hear the old-time radio show describe the dim light in the servant’s quarters, the scenery is playing out in your mind in a unique way unlike the way anyone else could envision it. No other person is imagining the clothing of the characters the exact same way you are imagining them. That mental theater is unique to you. You are listening and imagining by yourself.

Podcasts make the one-on-one approach even more important. Podcasts are often enjoyed through headphones. Your audience is truly listening by themselves. The headphones block out all other sounds and distractions. You have multiple “one person” audiences at the same time. Yet, it is still always one person and their imagination.

Connect with your “one person” audience by creating a great theater. The theater will be different for each listener, because they are using their individual imagination. Create a movie, and put the listener in it. Make the story an individual experience for the listener. Engage the listener with vivid details and a fantastic storyline. Make them forget they are listening to a podcast.

Create great theater of the mind. Create unique, vivid, mental images.

I Think We’re Lost …

I think we’re lost.

(photo by Dreef)

While listening to the podcast described below, I just about gave up and moved onto another show. I had to force myself to stick with it. I honestly thought they may have uploaded the wrong show.

Here is the opening of the podcast. (I’ve eliminated the names and other identifying parts.)

Show host: Welcome to (show name). I’m your host (host name). (website). We’ve got a couple people hangin’ out in the live chat with us. (chat link) And you know, I shouldn’t say that, because I’ve taken the link down from the site. But if you’re listening and wanna see the schedule, it is fairly current. Although, not exactly throughout the summer. I am joined today, as I frequently am lately, by (co-host name) of (other show name). How’s it goin’ (co-host name)?

Co-host: It is wonderful up here.

Show host: Is the … uh … now you guys probably didn’t have a lot of snow like we didn’t have a lot of snow, which I’m still bummed about. But, I’m trying not to talk about it. How’s your … how’s your weather in (city)?

Co-host: It’s pretty good. It’s, uh … it’s been a pretty warm winter.

They proceeded to discuss the Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion for the first 10 minutes of the 30-minute show. At 10:45 into the show, host says, “Should we get into some questions?”

This is a show designed to coach businesses to attract more customers.

How did we get lost down some path about temperature conversions?

I’m not even sure I can say it got lost. The introduction never laid out the expectations of the show. Neither does the show title. As I’ve written before, the opening of the show must tell your audience what the show is all about right at the beginning. Let your listener know what to expect.  Assume they are listening to your show for the very first time.

Six minutes into the show, they actually say, “You’re safe by now skipping over the first 10 minutes” of the show.  What!?! You’ve got me, now you’re actually telling me this isn’t worth my time?

At this point they aren’t really lost. They are well aware they are wasting my time. There are over 100,000 podcasts available. These shows are all trying to attract me. These guys actually have me paying attention (the tough part) and are wasting the incredible opportunity. What are the chances I’ll actually be back?

Your show must deliver on the brand promise right out of the box. That is the key to audience engagement. Your listener has come to your show for a reason. If you get lost on some tangent, your audience will be gone in a heartbeat.

Lay out the expectations in your introduction. Deliver on those expectations immediately. If you find you’re getting off on a tangent, get back on track as soon as possible.

You will quickly find you are talking to yourself if your listener says to themselves, “I think we’re lost.”

Move Beyond Information …

Move beyond information.

The goal of our podcasts is to create strong relationships with our audiences. We can take those relationships and move our listeners with a call to action. To achieve that strong relationship, we need to move beyond information to engaging entertainment.

Dan Miller, author of “48 Days To The Work You Love” could simply explain how you might find a new job. Instead, Dan instills the belief in his listeners that there is more to work than a paycheck. He stirs emotion describing how you can turn your passion into your career. Dan uses that emotion to turn his job finding information into engaging entertainment.

Financial information is turned into entertainment on “The Dave Ramsey Show” when Dave turns debt into the enemy. He doesn’t simply walk you through the steps to become debt free. Dave helps you find that burning desire to escape the shackles of debt. He makes you envision the possibility of “living like no one else”. His help becomes engaging entertainment. That is the reason his show is extremely popular and he is very wealthy.

Our shows can be powerful when we build relationships and move our listeners with a call to action. Those relationships happen when we move beyond information to engaging entertainment.

Be Memorable …

Be memorable.

If you want to keep your listener coming back show after show, you need to make them remember to come back. You need to remain top-of-mind for your listener. That is the purpose of audience engagement. Make your listener remember you for something specific about your show.

As you build your show, make it about one thing. Find one particular thing that will be remembered. If you try to be all things to all people, you will water down the show. Everything will be nice. However, nice isn’t usually truly memorable. You will get lost in the millions of messages your listener receives on a daily basis.

Find one point that you can make amazing. Take it over the top. Make it the “goodbye” scene in “Titanic”. Make it the “I am your father” scene in “Empire Strikes Back” between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Your particular point could be the point where you assure your caller that everything will be ok. It could be the fantastic story of your brush with celebrity.  It is your show.  Find the magic.

Stir emotion. Make it amazing. Bring your listener back. Be memorable.

Take The First Exit …

Take the first exit.

When you are discussing a topic, take the first opportunity to get out of the bit. You will keep your audience engaged. You will maintain the momentum of the show. You will also avoid repeating yourself and becoming boring. Take the first exit.

There are clues in your show that let you know you’ve missed the opportunity to end the bit. When you find yourself saying things like “as I said”, “like I was saying”, or “as we’ve discussed”, you have missed your exit. Those phrases are simply additional ways to say, “let me repeat this again”. Once you have reached that point, you are stating your introduction point again. This should be your conclusion. Move on to the next discussion.

If you miss the exit, you begin retracing your steps. You begin offering information you’ve already provided. Your listener then begins thinking of other things, because they have heard this part before. I got it. Let’s move on.

Only you will know when you’ve offered enough information to make your point. Once you hit that point, keep the show moving. Get to the next topic. Keep your audience engaged. Take the first exit.

Creating Theater Of The Mind …


Create theater of the mind.

The use of active language will stir the imagination of your listener and help you connect to your audience. Put the listener in the moment. Make the listener see the action you are describing.

“I’m walking into the bustling restaurant and shaking off the evening cold without even watching where I’m shuffling.” That is active language. In your mind, you can see me walking in.

Sure, your restaurant may be different from my restaurant. That difference is what makes theater of the mind great. You see it the way you think it fits best for you. Your scene doesn’t need to match my scene in order for the story to make sense. It is your theater.

Active language connects each listener to the story in his or her own way. It will create strong audience engagement.  Active language during storytelling is a powerful tool you can use while you’re building your podcast.

Create a great podcast brand. Create theater of the mind.

I would love to stay connected with you.  Follow my blog by clicking the “follow” button on this page.

Hello Everybody In Radioland …

Hello Everybody in Radioland!

To be engaging, you need to be human.  You need to be yourself.

As you record your podcast, use your natural voice and your own words. Individuals who are new to broadcasting tend to want to sound like their broadcasting idols. They try to imitate those they have heard on the radio with their voice and clichés. Unfortunately, new broadcasters tend to sound as if they are using scripted drivel done in some character voice that is forced and unnatural.

You don’t need to sound like Wolfman Jack, Howard Cosell, Don LaFontaine or Howard Stern. In fact, you shouldn’t sound like those guys. They are who they are. You should be who you are. If you are naturally over-the-top, then be over-the-top. If you are not, don’t fake it. You’ll sound like an amateur.

Be natural. Talk with a little energy, but always deliver it as you naturally speak. The days of “the voice for radio” are gone. You don’t need a big voice to be on the radio. You surely don’t need a big voice to create a podcast. Your voice becomes unique by what you say, not how you sound saying it.

Be yourself. Use your own voice instead of trying to impersonate someone else. Use your natural voice and your own words. And please, avoid all of the clichés like “Hello Everybody in Radioland.”

No Sleep ‘Til: The Best of MCA

No Sleep ‘Til: The Best of MCA.

Today, I had a post written that is consistent with my content.  I was ready to post it for you.

As I logged on to share it, I came across this post regarding the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys.

I was saddened when I heard the news of MCA’s death earlier today.  Though I’ve been musical since my youth and long before “Licensed To Ill“, the Beastie Boys was the first concert I ever attended.  I first discovered them in the movie “Krush Groove“.  They’ve always been a big part of my musical history.

As I read this post, I realized how much MCA’s writing clicks with the philosophies I’ve been suggesting.  He is always focused, creative, witty, engaging, entertaining, surprising, and vivid with his details.  He includes words and phrases in his lyrics most wouldn’t normally consider.  I truly admire his work for that.

Even if you are not a fan of hip hop, I would still recommend the attached blog as a worthwhile read.  MCA’s style is admirable and inspirational.  He will surely be missed.

I’ll return tomorrow with another podcast post.  Until then, RIP MCA.

via No Sleep ‘Til: The Best of MCA.

They Are Never Boring …

They are never boring.

Engagement in your content is either rising or falling. Attention never remains constant. The interest of your audience is either growing or diminishing because of what you’re saying and how you are saying it.

Keep your podcast listener engaged by having a clear focus with your content. Know exactly where you are going with any particular topic. Make sure your audience also knows where you are going by leading with a clear, intriguing introduction. Then, make sure you are always building anticipation as the story progresses. Once you begin treading water by following a tangent, interest will begin to fall quickly.

Pip Hunn of “The Write Thing” blog lists “11 Ways To Be A Great Storyteller”. It is worth the read.

Keep your audience engaged by remaining focused on the point of your story. All great storytellers avoid the tangents while the plot of their story builds. That is why great storytellers are never boring.

You vs. Me …

You vs. Me

Great marketing is like a mirror. It is a reflection of the customer, not of the company. Great products that use great marketing are focused on the needs, wants and desires of their customers. To turn your podcast into a great brand, focus on your listener and not on yourself.

Scheels had a great commercial for their snowboarding gear. The commercial was completely focused on the lifestyle of the snowboarder. It didn’t feature all of the great salespeople or wide aisles in the store or sales. The commercial was a mirror reflecting the customer.

To turn your information into engaging entertainment with your podcast, focus on the listener. Use words like “you” instead of “I”, “me” or “we”. Convey your content from the point of view of your listener. They will feel appreciated. They will be engaged. Your podcast will become a relationship. Success will follow. When it is You vs. Me, always pick you.

Focus On Helping Others …

Focus on helping others.

Zig Ziglar has many great quotes. One of my favorite quotes is, “You can have anything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” How true that is.

As you turn your information into engaging entertainment with your podcast, keep in mind that helping people is part of the foundation of a strong relationship. If you take, take, take, your relationship won’t last long. If you are there to give and help, you will develop friends for life.

Ziglar is a great example of helping people. His speeches always offer great tips to improve your life, sales or attitude. He also sells great books, CDs and other products. However, most of his time is spent on helping others. There is a lot of free Ziglar information available. He helps others, and eventually sales come his way.

Get what you want out of life. Focus on helping others.

Put Your Audience In The Story …

Put your audience in the story.

If you truly want to engage your listener, put her in your story. This doesn’t mean create a fictitious part of your story where she becomes a fake character. Include details that are so vivid that your listener feels like she is right there in the moment. Stir the passion within your listener with great emotion.

You have probably seen a movie like “Silence of the Lambs” where you completely lose awareness of your surroundings as you’re sucked into the scene. It may have been a movie like “Casablanca” where Rick and Ilsa say goodbye at the very end. Those are two great stories that put you right there in the moment.

Stories told by great storytellers do the same thing. Garrison Keillor is probably one of the best storytellers of our time. When listening to this story, you can see the guy Keillor describes in a few short seconds. He includes great lines like, “… In the midst of drinking a Bombardier at the Moonlight Bay Supper Club and she’d gone off with him to the Romeo Motel.” The story is short, yet the details are vivid.

If you can create details so vivid that your listeners can almost feel them, you can truly put her in the story. Your listener will be fully engaged. That is where information becomes entertainment. Strengthen your relationship with your podcast listener at every opportunity. Put the audience in the story.

Make It Interesting By Being Interested …

Make it interesting by being interested.

It really is the easiest way to engage your audience. When you are interested in a subject, your audience can hear it. You can’t fake enthusiasm.

When you are selecting topics and guests for your podcast, find those that really strike a chord with you. Look for material that really gets you excited. When you are truly interested, your listener will take notice. Your excitement will come through the speakers. The excitement will also be contagious.

Being authentically interested in a topic will naturally make you find interesting ways to approach the subject. As you interview that guest you’ve been dying to get on the show, your questions will have an edge of anticipation to them. You will ask great questions that elicit great answers. You will surprise your listener with content they don’t expect.

To create those great “oh wow” moments when you surprise your listener, be authentically interested. When you surprise your audience on a regular basis, they are entertained and engaged by your content. An entertained and engaged audience will keep coming back for more. Make it interesting by being interested.

It’s Got A Great Beat, And I Can Dance To It …

It’s got a great beat, and I can dance to it. I’d give it a 57. Don’t let it happen to your podcast.

It was a common joke back in the day as a reference to the “Rate a Record” feature on American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark. Sadly, we lost Mr. Clark this week. The broadcasting world lost a great one.

All of the tributes to Dick Clark this week brought American Bandstand back to my mind. Each week, a couple of teens would rate some new song Dick was featuring on the show. He would play the song and the kids would dance. Afterward, the two selected teens would be asked to rate the song on a 1-to-100 scale.

Often, the kids would say, “It’s got a great beat, and I can dance to it.” I would think they really liked the song. Then, they would give it a 57. It confused me. They just said it had a great beat. They can dance to it. What’s not to like? 57? Really? I didn’t get it.

Much later in life, after coaching on-air radio talent for years, it hit me. The beat and “dancability” of a song means very little. To cut through and be meaningful, the song needs to connect on an emotional level. Songs that fail to make that connection receive a 57 and fade into oblivion.

Some of the greatest pop songs of all time make wonderful, emotional connections. The angst of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. Paul McCartney’s tender words to John Lennon’s son Julian in “Hey Jude”. The pride and power of “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. The plea for peace in “What’s Goin’ On” by Marvin Gaye. The frustration in “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by the Rolling Stones. Fantastic emotion can be found in each and every one of them.

Now, relate that to your podcast. Are you just filling your time with generic content? Is your material simply a “great beat”? Or, are you really stirring strong emotions in your listener? You need that emotion for great audience engagement.  It could be the desire for love or fame. It could be thoughts of wealth. It could be anger at the government.

Find the emotion. Stir it up. You will probably discover that emotion in the very reason you created your show in the first place. That’s a good place to start.

If you’re not filling your podcast with emotion, you’re not connecting with your audience. You’ll have a great beat. They might even be able to dance to it. But, you’ll still get a 57.

And Now It’s Time For …


And now it’s time for …

This phrase seems harmless. It looks like a logical transition from one segment to another during your podcast. Unfortunately, this phrase gives your listener permission to leave the show.  It is detrimental to your audience engagement.

When you use “and now it’s time for…” or some similar phrase, it tells the listener that one segment is over and we are moving on to something else. It also signals a natural break in the show and the perfect time to exit. The transition is a lot like a commercial break in a television show. It is time to grab the remote to see what else is available.

Famous American showman P. T. Barnum noticed that people were lingering too long at his exhibits. If he could get them through the exhibit faster, he could get more people through in a day. Barnum posted signs around the exhibit indicating “This Way to the Egress”. Unaware that “Egress” simply meant “Exit”, people followed the signs to what they assumed was a fascinating exhibit only to end up outside.

Take down the “egress” sign. If you truly want to hold your listener from one piece of content to the next, don’t send up the signal. Simply move to the next segment.

Imagine you are at a cocktail party. You are discussing the baseball game that you saw over the weekend. After that topic runs its course, do you say, “Now it’s time to talk about my new car”? I doubt it. You probably just roll right into, “Hey, I bought a new car last week.” It is a natural transition. Your friend doesn’t think, “Hmm, that was a pretty rough transition.” Great storytelling is captivating.  If you use an intriguing introduction, your friend moved on right along with you.

As you wrap up one segment, move right to the next. You might end the first segment with, “If you take those steps, things should be back to normal.” Roll into the next with, “Jackie has a question about teamwork,” and play the call. The next segment just starts. You’ve hooked them on the next segment without opening the door to leave.

Don’t flash the exit sign. Eliminate “and now it’s time for …” to hold your listener for the entire podcast.

Hey, I’m New Here …

Hey, I’m new here. What’s goin’ on?

The opening of your podcast should explain the purpose of your podcast and let your listeners know exactly what to expect as if this is the first time they have ever heard the show.  This should happen on each and every show.

A well-crafted introduction serves two purposes.

First, it tells the brand new listener who is hearing the show for the very first time exactly what to expect from the show. It is like the intro to a late night talk show. “From New York. It’s the Late Show with David Letterman. Tonight, Tom Cruise. Larry The Cable Guy. And Katy Perry. Letters from the mail bag. Tonight’s Top Ten list. And Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra. And now, former New York City Medical Examiner … David Letterman.” You know exactly what is coming your way, even if you have never seen the show before.

Second, those that have heard the show before are confident that they are in the right place. Those regular listeners will find comfort in the opening of the show they hear each time they tune in. Fans will also feel like they are “in the know”. This is similar to singing the theme song of your favorite sitcom. As soon as you hear the first few notes of the theme song, you know you’re on the right channel. Your show intro should elicit the same response.

As you create your show open, treat it as if every listener is saying, “Hey, I’m new here. What’s going on?” You’ll make everyone comfortable as the show begins.

Delightful Details Dazzle

Delightful details dazzle.

Great storytellers use delightful details.

Great stories reveal things about the person telling the story. It allows the listener the opportunity to discover new things about the storyteller. Stories are how strong relationships are built.

When you’ve used an intriguing introduction in your podcast, your listener can now enjoy the details of your story. The more vivid the details, the more your listener will enjoy the story. Make them see the story in their mind. Draw the mental picture for them.

“We were walking through the woods when I lost my footing, rolled down a hill and into some mud.” Generic stories like this do very little to spark the imagination.

Use delightful details. “It was a muggy, hot lunchtime. We had ducked into the cool, dark shade of the thick woods where the sun was barely visible through the thick leaves. My eyes hadn’t yet adjusted to the leave-covered path when I lost my footing near the edge of an embankment. I ended up landing on my hip and rolling head-over-feet down the fairly steep, 10-foot drop where I promptly landed on my butt in the muddy mess below. My legs were completely covered in mud as if I had been rolling in it for hours.”

With the delightful details of that story, you can almost feel yourself in the woods. You can see the muddy mess in your mind. You can smell the thick, wooded area. Details help your listener experience the story rather than just hearing it.

Put your listener in the moment. Always include delightful details in your story.


Podcast about your passion.

I know that sounds like logical, common sense.  I know you probably think only a crazy person would ever put the time and effort into a podcast on a topic about which they do not care.  It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Podcasters and broadcasters alike will often discuss topics they think interests their audience.  These may be topics in which the podcaster may have a slight interest, but not a passion.  They tell themselves, “I must discuss this.  It is what the audience expects.”

It creates a problem when you are only generally interested in a topic and  you’re only discussing it because you think the audience will be interested.  As you discuss, you will sound generally interested.  It is tough to fake interest for any length of time.  Your listeners will notice.  When you aren’t interested, they aren’t interested.

Find that topic that stirs your passion.  When you are passionate, your audience will hear your enthusiasm come through the speakers.  Your enthusiasm will be contagious.  Your passion will stir their interest.

I’m sure you’ve seen a professor who had the ability to make a dry subject interesting.  Maybe it was your trigonometry teacher.  They were passionate about the subject and created an interest with you.  There may not have been a passion in  you for trig.  But, there was some interest.

Interest works from speaker to audience.  It won’t work from audience to speaker.  For true audience engagement, podcast about your passion.

Audience Of One

As you are creating your podcast, treat your audience like you are talking to each person individually.  This is critical when creating a trusting relationship with your audience.

I hear many shows address their audience as a group with comments like “hello everyone” or “hey guys”.  Each person in your audience is listening to you as an individual.  Audio is a very personal medium.  Many times, they are listening with headphones.  It is just you and her.  Talk to her just like that.

Addressing a crowd on the radio began when radio began.  As radio was just being created, station owners needed content to broadcast.  Radio programming began with rebroadcasting live, theater events.  The person on the stage would address the crowd as “ladies and gentleman”.

As radio progressed, live audiences were eliminated.  However, people on the radio continued to address the audience as a group.  It was fitting.  The family still gathered around the radio before television was introduced to the family room.  An on-air personality could address the audience as a group and be justified in doing so.

Radio then became a personal medium.  The television replaced the radio as family entertainment.  In-car and headphones became the preferred method of radio listening.  Each listener was now creating images and visions in his or her own head that were unique to their imagination.  Their thoughts were different from those of any other listener.  The conversation was now between the person on the air and the individual listening.

Unfortunately, radio personalities continued to address the listener as a group.  “It has always been done this way.”  The disconnect began.

Podcasts are even more individualistic than radio.  Most people select a podcast because of their own tastes.  Groupthink does not play a factor as it would to select a movie or television show for the family.  It is one person listening on their own to a show that interests them.

If you are talking to your listener as if they are in a group, using plural terms like everyone and you guys and you all, your listener will wonder who you are addressing.  They will think, “You guys?  I’m listening by myself.  Who are you talking to?”  In the end, they will not follow your call-to-action, because they will think someone else in your “group” will handle it.  Talk to an audience of one and build that relationship with each listener individually.

Make Them Care

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “what’s in it for me?”

Your audience will be asking this very question every time they tune into your podcast.  Your introduction better tell your listener exactly how your topic will affect them.  You need to hook them right at the beginning with an intriguing introduction.  If you don’t hook them early, they will be gone in search of something more captivating.

When your audience knows what is in it for them, they begin to care.  Making your listener care is the only way to get them to listen and more importantly come back again.

Don’t Waste My Time

Make the introduction of your show compelling. It should make your audience want to stick around for the payoff. I hear so many shows begin with their standard show open immediately followed by a bunch of housekeeping. Don’t waste the time of your audience. Your introduction should make a promise (tell the audience what to expect). You should then follow through on that promise (give them the content they expect).

When a show begins with, “I’ll show you how to make a million dollars in 4 easy-to-understand steps”, followed by, “But first, I want to let you know that my increase in speaking engagements has slowed my ability to respond to e-mail, blah, blah, blah”, you are losing your audience. Your fan tuned in to hear your secrets, not your problems.

If you have housekeeping notes to pass along, sprinkle them within the show among the content. Lead with your strongest material. Housekeeping is not it.

Your introduction should set up your podcast. It should be an intriguing introduction that tells the listener exactly what the podcast is all about. What will I get when I listen? It doesn’t matter whether your podcast is 10 minutes or 60 minutes long. You need to tell the listener what is to come.

“Welcome to Podcast Talent Coach Podcast. My name is Erik K. Johnson. Over the next 30 minutes, we will answer your questions about transforming your podcast from information into engaging entertainment and from a relationship into cash.”

With that quick introduction, I told you exactly what to expect. You know the name of my podcast. You know the name of the host. You know exactly how long my podcast will run. You know the goal we are setting out to accomplish. I’ve also put you in the mix by referencing your dreams and how my podcast will help you. In those brief seconds, I’ve given you who, what, when and why.

That content should be followed immediately by a creative tease of this particular show. It might be something like, “We will help Steve figure out how to gently end a bad interview. Shelly asks about incorporating a call-to-action without making the show sound like an infomercial. And finally, we will hear a clip for the ‘The Golden Garden’ podcast and help Chris increase the energy and forward momentum in the show. Let’s get to it. First up …” This goes right into the show content. We start delivering on the promise made in the introducion. The show is moving forward.

If I said, “Before we get to it, let me explain the new look of my website”, I would only be relevant to a small portion of my audience. Who cares about my new layout? That would assume first that most of my audience has visited my website prior to this show, and second that they can’t find their own way around the new layout. That’s a pretty big assumption. If is important enough to include, put it at the end, or somehow incorporate the information into an answer.

Don’t waste the time of your audience. Make your introduction intriguing and get to the content immediately.

Talk To Me, Not At Me

When you are podcasting, talk “to” your listener.  Don’t talk “at” her.  You are not announcing.  You are having a personal conversation and building a relationship.

Podcasting is an intimate conversation with one person.  The conversation is typically one person speaking into a microphone addressing another single individual.  There may sometimes be hundreds of thousands of people listening.  However, they are all listening by themselves.  Even in an automobile with others listening via communal speakers, the members of the audience are listening by themselves in their own head.  Each listener is developing their own unique, mental images.

Have a conversation directly with that individual.  Put your listener in the moment.  Avoid addressing the group.  Instead of using “hello everyone”, use “hi, how are you?”  Make her feel like you are talking directly to her.  It will make your podcast relationship much stronger.