Category Archives: Podcast content

Show Prep & Review – 004


This podcast is created to help you with the ART of podcasting. Let’s turn your information into engaging entertainment. I’d love to help you with your podcast. E-mail any questions or comments you might have to

In this episode, we cover 5 things …

1. How to properly prepare for your show

2. Is rehearsal really the enemy of spontaneity?

3. Lose the script

4. Review to improve

5. Coaching

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.

Don’t Tell Me Your Podcast Is Funny …

Don’t Tell Me Your Podcast Is Funny.

Fewer things are less funny than somebody telling you they are funny.

When somebody starts a story with, “Ok, this is funny”, the story rarely lives up to its billing.

My latest post on the New Media Expo blog deals with this very issue.  Check it out HERE.

Just be funny, or don’t.  Either way, don’t tell me you’re funny.  That diminishes the humor.

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.

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.

Avoid The Scoop …


Avoid the scoop.

(photo by pemotret)

The scoop is that fake announcer voice that you hear quite often. It’s like a slow start with a gradual build.

“Wwwwweeeelllllcom to the big show.”

It sounds like your voice is going up and down as if it is on a yo-yo.

Real people don’t talk like that. You are trying to build trusting relationships with your podcast audience. You want to sound real and authentic.

When you sound like a supermarket announcer, you sound fake. Your listeners will find it hard to trust you, because they know that isn’t really you. The audio they are hearing sounds like a character you are portraying.

Don’t let your voice bounce like a ball. You can be excited and enthusiastic. You can also be real and natural at the same time. Just be yourself.

— 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 the inflection of your voice bounces up and down, you will find it difficult to truly engage your listener. Be real. Avoid the scoop.

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.


Avoid Missing The Great Interview Questions …


Avoid missing the great interview questions.

(photo by miqul76)

When preparing for an interview, gather more information than you will ever need. Then, don’t worry about getting to it all.

When you have more content and questions than you will need, you will feel more relaxed and comfortable during the interview. You will be able to spend more time truly listening to the answers that your guest is giving and less time trying to think of the next question. You won’t have the nervous feeling that you’ll be stuck trying to come up with something on the fly.

Some of the best questions are missed during an interview because the interviewer wasn’t truly listening. When your guest gives you a little nugget of compelling information, it is up to you to ask the follow-up question to fully develop the answer.

Let’s say you score an interview with Taylor Swift. You get on the topic of movies. “Have you seen any good movies lately?” Taylor mentions she recently saw the latest box office smash while on a date.

If you are not truly listening, you’ll follow your notes into the next boring question. If you actually hear what she says, you’ll ask her who took her on a date. That is the question everyone will be asking in their head.

You need to be engaged with your guest to catch great follow-up questions. If you are too busy worrying about the next question, you’ll miss the diamonds in the rough.

— I’d love to coach 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.

Prepare for your interview. Know more than you’ll need about your guest. If you have information left over, you’ve prepared enough. That’s when you can feel confident that you will avoid missing the great interview questions.

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.

Fish For Interviews With Bigger Bait …


Fish for interviews with bigger bait.

(photo by Canon56)

To score a guest interview for your podcast, you need to begin by explaining how the interview will benefit your prospective guest. The fact that your audience will love it has no bearing. It really doesn’t matter to your guest if your show or your audience will benefit from the guest’s appearance. When your guest makes the decision whether to appear on your show, they will only consider how the appearance will benefit them personally.

Many podcast hosts use their audience size to lure guests. If you have a reasonable audience size, surely use it to your advantage. However, don’t stop there. You may be overlooking many other ways you could benefit your guest.

Offer to promote the interview and your guest’s information to your mailing list. You may have many people who receive your newsletter who may never listen to your podcast. By including a link to your guests website in your mailing, your guest will reach additional people. Take credit for that.

Play to your guest’s ego by dropping a few names. If you have had other notable guests on your show in the past, let your guest know. Tell your prospective guest they will be among good company. They will feel more comfortable saying yes to your request.

You could offer to give your guest exposure on your website. You may have visitors to your site that do not listen to the show. Promote your guest on the site with a link to their content. This will be an additional benefit.

Mention your guest and interview in your blog. Again, your guest will be reaching additional audience. You are helping them spread their message beyond your podcast.

Your audience for any one of these avenues may be small. However, when you combine the benefit of each distribution method, your proposal for the interview will be more appealing to your guest. Every audience has value.  Use the access to the audiences you have to your advantage.

— 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 sure to explain every benefit your guest will receive by accepting your request for an interview. Stack your benefits to make them more appealing. Fish for interviews with bigger bait.

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.

What Is Your File? …


What is your file?

(photo by Kreego)

There is one file in your listener’s mind that you occupy. You can not occupy multiple files. You must pick one. Define that file and do all you can to support that image. That is the essence of your brand.

Where does McDonald’s fit in your brain file? McDonald’s is probably the “Fast Hamburgers” file. Does it also fill the “Milkshake File”? Probably not. Sure, they serve milkshakes. However, that file is probably occupied by your favorite ice cream shop.

Where would Cheetos fit in your brain file? It would go in the “Lip Balm” file, right? Of course not. However, Frito-Lay launched Cheetos Lip Balm in 2005. It failed miserably, because Cheetos occupies the “Cheesy Puffed Snack” file in your brain.

Your podcast brand can only occupy one file. You need to decided the one image you can own. Define your brand.

— 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 not try to be all things to all people. Pick one thing for which your brand will be known. What is your file?

Funny Follows Fun …


Funny follows fun.

(photo by Pescarus)

Many podcasters painstakingly try to be funny. Stop trying so hard. The funny will come. You are simply focused on the wrong thing.

Spend time trying to have fun on your podcast. If you are having fun, your audience is having fun. Your listeners will be able to hear the fun in your voice. Funny isn’t always necessary for entertainment. Having fun is usually entertainment enough.

Have fun and the funny will follow. It will be natural. If you force trying to be funny, you will rarely be funny.

Adam Carolla is always having fun on his podcast. “The Adam Carolla Show” is sometimes funny. However, it is always entertaining. He doesn’t force the entertainment. He simply does what he enjoys. Adam’s fun is contagious, because he is natural. The funny follows.  Follow his lead.

— 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.

Funny will usually come along because you are trying to have fun and not because you are trying to be funny. Funny follows fun.

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.

Are You Important Yet? …

Are you important yet?

(photo by tofi)

The most important marketer in a person’s life is someone they know, like and trust.

This is the primary reason word-of-mouth is so powerful. The recommendation that comes from word-of-mouth usually only comes from a friend. A friend is someone you know, like and trust.

If the recommendation comes from someone you don’t know, the message is no longer word-of-mouth. The suggestion is now called “marketing”, or “sales” or “a pitch”.

If you want the call-to-action within your podcast to be effective, you need to build that trusting relationship with your listener. From your stories will come self-revelation. This will allow your listener to get to know you. By being yourself and sincere, you will become likable. Finally, if you continually help your listener get what they want by putting their interests first, you will build trust.

On The Dave Ramsey Show, Dave helps people with every call he receives. Out of six or eight calls and e-mails he answers in an hour, he may mention his books, websites or seminars once. He will always mention his “baby steps” philosophy. However, he will rarely suggest people buy his products.

Dave reveals many personal things about his past and his family. The listener gets to know him. He is often blunt and honest. Dave’s tough love makes him likable. The help he provides his callers builds trust. These steps make Dave’s manta become a true following. His listeners spread the word to the point where The Dave Ramsey Show has around 5 million listeners.

If you have built a true friendship with your listener, where they know, like and trust you, your call-to-action will be powerful. Spend time creating that relationship between your brand and your listener. Then and only then can you effectively use word-of-mouth.

— 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 important yet?

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.

Do You Have The Magic? …

Do you have the magic?

(photo by Maa-Illustrations)

Production elements create the magic of the podcast. If it is missing, your show will sound flat. Solid, well-placed production elements add that element of show biz.

You can add production elements at various points within your show.

The most common production element is the show open. A well-produced show open will make your podcast sound big time. Cliff Ravenscraft has a very strong show open for “Podcast Answer Man“. His introduction incorporates the show network, explains exactly what the podcast is about and contains some great music and sound effects.

You don’t always need a big voice guy to produce your show open for you. Dave Ramsey does his own show open on a daily basis for four or five million people on “The Dave Ramsey Show”. His theme music provides solid consistency and familiarity for his show.

You can also incorporate production elements within your show to add depth. Adam Carolla has a great producer for his podcast. His guy adds sound effects, audio clips and production elements throughout “The Adam Carolla Show”. It sounds just like the big talk shows. Carolla’s show always delivers.

To incorporate sound effects, you don’t need a full-time producer. You don’t even need to add the effects in real-time. This is show business. Sound effects can always be added in post-production.

A solid show close will put a nice bow on the podcast. The elements of your show close should be similar to those of your open. Dan Miller simply uses the same theme music in his show closing as he uses in the opening of “48 Days To The Work You Love”.

Take the time to find some great production elements for your show. Put in a touch of show biz. Production elements create the magic of the podcast.

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 you have the magic?

Is That You Calling? …

Is that you calling?

(photo by erwinova)

To create a successful podcast, you need to create an effective call-to-action within your show. So, how do we measure success? If we are trying to get our audience to do something by using a call-to-action (listen again, buy our product, visit our website, support our cause), our call-to-action should be our determining factor of success.

When you create your podcast, you should measure your success not by the number of listeners or downloads, but by conversions to whatever you want them to be or do.

Let’s say your goal is to get people to visit the store on your website. If you have 1,000 people listening to your show, but you only get 2 of them to act and actually visit the site, you really haven’t been successful.

However, if you only have 200 listeners, but 100 love everything you do and visit your site regularly, I would consider that a success. Having 1,000 listeners may sound better than 200. By closer evaluation, I would much rather have 100 fans than 2.

Don’t get fooled by measuring the incorrect statistic. Measure what counts. Measure 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.

Create an effective call-to-action, and measure it. Is that you calling?

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 Building Credibility? …

Are you building credibility?

(photo by bakalusha)

Just the other day, I heard a podcast host answering a listener question about a website. The host said, “Click on the ‘FAQ’ tab. I’m not sure if it is above or below the video.” Now, let’s think about this answer. Before the show began, the host knew he was going to answer this specific question. He knew the steps to take in order to solve the listener’s problem. In preparing, he apparently stopped there.

Instead of taking notes and knowing the exact details regarding the answer, he just freestyled and sounded uninformed. In doing so, he sounded like he wasn’t quite sure of the answer. It would have taken him 2 minutes to pull up the website before he began to record and jot down a few notes regarding the answer.

Listen to a podcast like “48 Days To The Work You Love” by Dan Miller. In the show open, Dan lays out the exact e-mail questions he will answer. He has all of the information at his fingertips for each detail he intends to give. He doesn’t stumble. He doesn’t guess. Dan knows exactly what he is going to deliver to his audience. He is prepared and sticks to his plan.

That is what I mean when I say “be prepared”. Get the details down. Stumbling makes you sound unsure of your answer. Nailing the details will give you credibility and make you sound like the expert you are.

— 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 credibility?

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.

People Buy Benefits …

People buy benefits.

(photo by Studio)

Your podcast should contain some sort of call to action. You might ask the listener to visit your website. You may ask them to contribute to a cause. Selling your product is a definite possibility. Simply tuning in again is a call to action. Whatever it happens to be, the call to action is part of the relationship building process with your listener.

In your call to action, be sure to sell benefits, not features. If you are selling a cookbook, the large print, stain-free cover and fact that it will stay open are all features. The ease at which the cook can read the book at a distance, the way it will stay clean to hand down to the next generation and the time they will save with the hands-free help it provides are all benefits. People don’t buy products. They buy what the product will accomplish.

How often does Starbuck’s promote their fine coffee bean. The answer is very little. Starbuck’s spends their time creating the Starbuck’s experience. They market the way Starbuck’s makes you feel. They aren’t promoting the warmth, color and robust flavor of their coffee. They create a relationship and true experience. They sell the way the coffee experience makes you feel. It is the barista, the smell, the music, the drink names, the cup, the sleeve, and even the lid. It isn’t warm, dark caffeinated beverages.  Their story says, “Every day, we go to work hoping to do two things: share great coffee with our friends and help make the world a little better.”  Benefits, not features.

Find the true benefits of your podcast and product. Then, promote them heavily. People buy benefits.

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.

Out Of Self-Revelation Comes Trust …

Out of self-revelation comes trust.

(photo by Vatikaki)

If you wish to have your audience/listener/customer act on your call-to-action (sales pitch, invitation, read your blog again), you must first create trust. People buy things from people they trust.

A person will only trust you if 1.) they believe you have their best interest at heart and 2.) they believe you trust them.

A relationship moves beyond acquaintance to friendship when trust is developed.

People will believe you trust them when you reveal things about yourself to them. Your revelations show you trust the other person to hear you without judgement.

If you give first, your counterpart will be more likely to give in return. If you show trust, they will eventually show trust in return.

When you tell great stories in your podcast, you begin to develop strong relationships with your listeners by revealing details about yourself and trusting your audience with those details.

Howard Stern reveals his inadequacies often on his show. Domino’s Pizza revealed their missteps in their latest ad campaign. When Oprah Winfrey revealed her personal issues and troubles, people loved her even more.

Create a trustworthy, solid, effective brand by telling great stories. Out of self-revelation comes trust.

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.

Don’t Just Fill Time …

Don’t just fill time.

(photo by Hornpipe)

When you fill time, you waste time. Your listeners have come to your podcast, because you have made them a promise with your brand. They believe they will receive some sort of information and entertainment from your show. Your listener will only give you a few minutes to begin delivering, or they will be headed to the next podcast.

Consistently add value for your listener at every opportunity. Either make the show shorter, or prepare better. It is usually a solid rule of thumb to prepare more content than you will need. This will allow you to always deliver valuable information.

Seth Godin does a fantastic job delivering brief bits of valuable information with his blog. He even carries this through to the manifestos published by his Domino Project. Seth wastes very little time. Once he has made his point, he wraps it up.

Your listener is expecting something from your podcast. Deliver continuously on the promise of your brand. Don’t just fill time.

You’re Damaging Your Brand …

You’re damaging your brand.

(photo by Lastdays1)

Three comments doesn’t equal success.

I really wanted to scream. It is frustrating to see people blindly damage their brand. Today, I read a blog post by a gentleman who is willingly doing just that.

Recently, I wrote a blog post entitled “I think we’re lost”. I described how the two hosts spent the first 10 minutes of a 30-minute business podcast discussing the weather instead of their podcast topic. Wasting time like this damages the credibility of their show. The hosts are not delivering what any new listener would expect to receive from a business podcast.

As of today, they have received three comments on that particular show. The host has written a blog post proclaiming success with his show, because his tangent received three comments. In the past, he would typically jump right into pertinent content and receive no comments.

Lately, he has been opening the show with these tangents. He received one negative message from a listener who felt these musings before the true content were a waste of time. He feels his “new” approach is justified, because he received three positive comments on the show.

The host stated that since the prior method wasn’t receiving any comments, good or bad, this new strategy must be better. This thinking is flawed. Three comments only means three people thought it was amusing enough to comment. That’s it. It means nothing more. The fact that nobody commented on the previous shows with the direct content method also does not mean no listener found the shows entertaining or valuable. It simply means the content wasn’t special enough to elicit a comment.

This host should judge the success of his podcast by the growth and overall listenership of the show. I think if he continues with this tangent strategy, he will surely see his growth stagnate. He will also probably see the size of his audience shrink, because he is no longer living up to his brand’s promise.

If you want more comments, deliver better content that stirs emotions. Comments for the sake of getting comments really proves nothing. Sure, I love comments. However, I’ll take a growing, engaged audience over comments every time. Audience growth and engagement will move you forward.

Three comments doesn’t equal success. You’re damaging your brand.

Make ‘Em Look Good …

Make ’em look good.

(photo by Piksells)

When you have a guest on your podcast, it is your job as the interviewer to make the interviewee look good. You are the professional. You know everything there is to know about your podcast. Your guest is new to your show. They may even be new to interviewing. Help them.

When you help your guest get comfortable and look good, you help them successfully promote whatever it is they came on your show to promote. They will be grateful for that. Your guest will see the benefit of being a guest on your show. You will develop a reputation. That success will help you book even better guests in the future. Word will spread.

There are a three steps you can take to help your guest look good.

First, ask open-ended questions. This will allow your guest to convey the information they have come to share. If you ask yes/no questions, your guest will be stuck trying to figure out how to get his point across. It will also be easy for him to simply say “yes” and leave it at that. You will then be the one trying to find the next point to make. Open-ended questions allow your guest to elaborate on their subject.

Second, know why your guest is on your show and help them make their point. Do a short pre-interview before you start the show. Ask them about the important points they would like to hit. Then during the show, ask them questions that help them make those points. If your guest tells you their spouse really had a huge impact on their success, ask them about their biggest influences in their success. Make it easy for them.

Lastly, get out of the way. You don’t need to show your guest or your audience how much you know about their topic. It is their topic. So many hosts ask long, elaborate questions proving just how smart they are and how much they know about the subject. If the host knows it all, there is really no reason to have a guest. (see “One Of You Isn’t Necessary“.) Ask great questions because you know so much. That ability will make you look much better than actually knowing.

Using our previous example of spousal influence, you do not want to say, “Your wife played a huge role in your success with her support. That must have been a real help to you.” You just stole his thunder. You’ve only left him the option to say, “Yes” and make some menial points.

Instead ask, “Who was the one person other than yourself most responsible for your success?” You’ve created some anticipation for your audience. You’ve also just thrown him a softball that he can knock out of the park with a fantastic answer about his wife. He looks great for having such a stellar answer. You also look great for asking such a brilliant question. Everybody wins.

Help your guest succeed. Allow them to answer great questions. Most of all, make ’em look good.

Sorry, One Of You Isn’t Necessary …

Sorry, one of you isn’t necessary.

(photo by Angie68)

When you have two hosts with the same opinion, one isn’t necessary.

Many shows have two hosts. It seems like one person grabbed their friend with similar interests and decided to create a show. Unfortunately, similar interests mean similar points of view. If both hosts have the same point of view, the second host isn’t adding anything new. The second host is usually just restating the same position as the host.

When both hosts have the same point of view, you’re just wasting the time of the listener while you are trying to get each personality mic time. It would be very similar to debating yourself.

The Mike and Mike Show” demonstrates solid, differing points of view when discussing sports. On “The Howard Stern Show”, Howard Stern and Robin Quivers usually have opposing thoughts. In both shows, the different opinions add to the discussion rather than simply stating the same positions again.

There must be contrasting points of view between the personalities to justify the existence of each on the show. When you have two hosts with the same opinion on a podcast, sorry, one of you isn’t necessary.

Natural Is Better …

Natural is better.

(photo by Dmccale)

When recording your podcast, use the voice of the individual asking the question whenever possible. Natural sound is always better than a story recreated by the host.

The additional voices will give your podcast an element of show biz. It will add depth to the sound of the show. Your podcast will also sound much more engaging.

There are various ways to include others in your show. You can field questions from your audience in many ways. You could answer e-mail like Justin Lukasavige does on “Coach Radio”. Listeners could leave you voicemail to include in your show similar to “The Art of Podcasting”. You could take live phone calls similar to Dave Ramsey on “The Dave Ramsey Show”. Guests could also join your show live in the studio as happens on “The Adam Carolla Show”. Each version is a little stronger than the previous.

The second voice makes the show much more personable. It allows the listener to feel that they are part of the conversation. The additional voice also adds credibility to the question. Your listener will hear the authenticity in the question or comment.

Other voices bring a depth to the show. This is the reason radio stations use callers on the air.  It may not always be possible to include that audio. However, if you can swing it, your show will definitely gain that showbiz quality when using multiple voices.

Use the voice of the individual asking the question whenever possible. Natural is better.

Let’s Help Each Other …

Let’s help each other.

(Photo by Grafvision)

I would love to answer any question you might have about your podcast. I have been in broadcasting for well over 20 years. Coaching on-air radio talent has been part of my day-to-day role since 1995. Studying and developing marketing and promotional campaigns for our radio stations and clients is also something I do on a regular basis.

If you could use some help in any of these areas, please shoot me an e-mail at

Your questions will help me refine my blog. You will help me select topics. It will also make the blog much more enjoyable for you. I would love to hear your questions.

If you could take a minute to shoot me an e-mail, or even comment on any of my posts that may have helped you, I would truly appreciate it. Making this blog better is always my goal.

Let me know how I can help you. In turn, let’s help each other.

Prepare For Your Show …

Prepare for your show.

(Photo by June-plum)

Before you begin to record your show, you should spend just as much time preparing for the show. It is very similar to mapping out a trip. You not only need to know where you are going, you need to know how to get there.

Many hosts will have an idea of which topics they hope to address on the show. They may have a few e-mail questions to answer or a current event to discuss. That is where most quit. They think, “Well, I have our ideas. Let’s do this.” They then begin recording.

This is a big mistake. You must plan what you hope to do with each topic. How do you hope to answer the questions? What will your opinion be on the current event? Most importantly, how will you present it to your listener?

If you plan to answer an e-mail question only because you think it is a good question, but you do not plan out your answer, you will wade through the answer. It will take you much more time to answer the question than is necessary. Your show will therefore lack momentum. Your listener will become easily bored. When you stumble your way through your answer unprepared, your listener will wonder if you actually know where you are going.

Before you open the mic, plan out your show. Jot down some notes. Write down the few important points you need to mention as you’re answering the question. Then, make sure you stick to your plan.

Dan Miller does a wonderful job of this in his podcast “48 Days to The Work You Love”. He knows exactly which questions he wants to answer in his show. He knows exactly how he wants to answer them. He also has a few solid examples for each answer.

Dan tends to over-promise at the beginning of the show with the questions he hopes to answer. He should either stick to a time limit for each answer, or promise fewer with the potential of a few “bonus” answers at the end if time permits.  Either way, he still has a plan.

Give your show more momentum and energy. It will happen when you prepare for your show.

Develop A Goal …

Develop a goal for your show.

(photo by Epixx)

As you develop your podcast, you need to determine what you hope to accomplish with the show. What will the show be about? What do you hope to make your audience feel? Is there some call to action you wish to make your listener take?

After you have developed the goal for your show, stick to it. All content on your show should support your goal.

If your goal is to help consumers get out of debt, don’t spend a lot of time discussing your favorite, new CD. Your listener has come to your show expecting you to deliver on your promise. If you tell her you help people get out of debt, deliver that content to her. When you start discussing anything other than that, your brand promise is tarnished. She will be headed elsewhere.

In Correy Webb’s “My Disney Podcast”, Correy discusses all things Disney. He discusses cruise adventures, visits to the parks and other traveling tips. If Correy suddenly began discussing the poker game he had with his buddies last weekend, you would be disappointed. Poker isn’t the reason you’re listening. His Disney promise would be broken.  You are now unsure what you will receive next time you listen.

A great brand is built slowly with strong consistency. Deliver on your brand’s promise. However, before you can deliver, you need to develop a goal for your show.

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.

Make Them Forget …

Make them forget.

When your audience is listening to your podcast, make them forget they are listening to a recording. Take them to another place. Make your storytelling so strong that their imaginations put your listener in another time and place. That’s what great storytelling is all about. That’s what great relationships are all about.

People seek entertainment to escape from reality. They want entertainment like movies, concerts, television, radio and podcasts to make them forget about all of their problems. Entertainment that succeeds will take the audience member to some other place and time.

When you record your podcast, you need to create that wonderful theater of the mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading fiction or talking about gardening, put your audience in the moment. Take them away. Make your listener forget they are listening to a recording.

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.

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Review Your Show …

Review your show on a regular basis. Actually listen like a listener. That is the only way to improve.

Many hosts finish recording a show and think, “That was pretty good. What’s next?” They might recreate parts of the show in their head to determine what might make the show better next time. Usually, there isn’t much time spent actually reviewing a show. There are so many other duties to handle. It’s on to the next thing, which is probably editing, posting, and promoting the show.

In order to make your podcast better, you need to spend quality time listening to the show. Play it back. Grab a pad of paper and write down the parts that jump out at you. Jot down the “oh wow” moments. Take note of the sections that didn’t work exactly as you planned.

You will only find these moments when you listen like a listener. The show will sound much different to you when you listen back than it did as you were recording it. You will hear things you didn’t notice as you were focused on creating the content. Words that you overuse will suddenly become noticeable to you.

Once you have created the lists of good and not-so-good, create two more lists. First, determine how can you create more of the “oh wow” moments on the show. How might you incorporate into the show more of the great content that worked? Second, make a list of ways you can eliminate the parts that weren’t polished enough.

Get on the road to show improvement. Review your show on a regular basis.

Don’t Settle For The First Idea …

Don’t settle for the first idea. Work and mold your topic.

It is easy to do an interview exactly like you do every other interview. Just like you’ve heard everyone do every other interview. Unfortunately, it will sound like every other interview.

Do something different. Stand out. Make your interview different. Find new questions. Find ways to ask questions differently. Gain attention by being unique.

On her television show, Ellen DeGeneres asks fun, off-the-wall questions of her guests. She will get them talking about crazy topics you don’t hear on other shows. DeGeneres may even compete with the guest in football throwing or put them in a dunk tank. Whatever it is, her content is always different from her competition. Her interviews always contain a ton of laughs. She will always eventually get to the topic the guest is there to promote, like a movie or book. Before she does, DeGeneres will always have a lot of fun in a unique way.

If you are discussing an article, do something different. If most hosts would simply read the article and comment, zig when they are zagging. Grab the phone and call the subject of the article. Interview the author. Act it out. Create a parody of it that is so over-the-top that it becomes memorable. Find that unique way to rise above the rest.

If you continue to settle for the first idea when presenting an idea, you’ll keep delivering typical content. We want to make you memorable. We want you to stand out and get noticed. When your content is vanilla and just like everyone else, you become wallpaper that nobody notices. You also become easy to replace.

Push yourself. Brainstorm until you find something that is great. Then, run with it and make it engaging and memorable. Don’t settle for the first idea.

Create Your Own Style …

Create everything you do in your own style. You can only stand out among all other shows when you create your own unique style. You must then make sure everything you do is consistent with that style.

Many new broadcasters try to emulate the style of their hero or mentor. They attempt to imitate the styles they hear from other broadcasters. Unfortunately, copying doesn’t create a unique style. Copying typically creates a watered-down version of some other style. When creating your content, be yourself and find your own style.

Some of the greatest broadcasters didn’t start the ascension to the top until they abandoned the attempts to broadcast in the style they thought others desired and began being true to themselves.

Oprah Winfrey quit trying to be a traditional news anchor. She also quit doing the typical tabloid, daytime talk show. When she began to create the show she always desired, she went to the top of the game.

Howard Stern began as a radio DJ sounding like every other radio DJ. He was playing the records and spouting the lines written by management while going nowhere. When Stern decided he was going to do radio his way, he began to make a name for himself. He also went to the top.

Rush Limbaugh followed a very similar path. He had a cheesy radio name. He followed the format designed by somebody else. Limbaugh made every attempt to fulfill the typical radio DJ stereotype. He also got fired again and again. When he decided to broadcast in his style and true to his beliefs, he began his rise to the top.

Adam Corolla made his climb when he took full control over his style and show. He was climbing the DJ ladder in Los Angeles. Corolla had some decent television work. He then decided to create his own show in his own style via podcast. That began his rise as one of the biggest podcasters in the world.

All of these broadcasters made the decision to stop copying others. They all created shows that were true to their style.

They each also stay true to their style in everything they do. You will never hear Rush sound like Howard. You’ll never mistake something Oprah says as something Adam might say. Being true to their style isn’t something that takes a conscious effort. It comes easy to each of them, because it is true to who they are as people.

Be true to yourself. It will make it easy to create everything you do in your style.

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.

Trust Can Be Monetized

Trust can be monetized.

Structure is necessary for your podcast in order to build consistency and trust with your fans. The audience expects specific elements each time they listen to your show. They expect your style to be consistent. Your audience expects the host to be the same for each show. You must deliver to that expectation to build trust with your fans. This trust is where podcast monetization begins.

Think of McDonald’s. When you order a Big Mac at McDonald’s, you expect it to taste exactly like the last Big Mac you purchased and ate. That is true whether you purchased your last Big Mac at the same restaurant, across town, in another state or around the world. You expect it to be consistent. If the Big Mac you purchased today suddenly has mustard and sauerkraut on it, you would be a little hesitant to purchase another next time. You know what you want and want what you know. You want consistency.

Your audience desires the same consistency from your podcast. The consistency gained from the show structure helps the audience feel at ease and comfortable with the program. If your listener is new, she is brought up to speed quickly when you tell her what to expect. If the listener is a returning participant, your introduction causes him to say to himself, “Oh, yeah. Exactly how I remember it. This is the right show.”

If you are watching the news and suddenly there are two new anchors along with different people doing the weather and sports, you will wonder if you’ve somehow stumbled upon the wrong channel. It will feel uncomfortable. It isn’t what you expected.

Consistency helps your audience feel at home. Work to achieve it every time. Consistent structure builds trust. Trust can be monetized.

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.

Make Your Listener The Star

Make your listener the star.  It is your show.  You know the plot.  When listeners are involved in your show, it is always your job to lead your guest and make them the star.

There are many ways to incorporate your listeners into your show.  Live interviews, live calls, recorded voicemail messages, and e-mail are a free of the possibilities.  Incorporating listeners into your podcast gives  your entire audience a vested interest in the show.

With guests, you must remember you always know more about your show than they know.  You know the goals of your show.  You know the plot and strategy.  You are always on the show.  They are new.  Lead your guest.

Phrases like “great question”, “I’m glad you mentioned that” and “I didn’t realize that” make your guest feel they are adding to the show … as long as you are authentic and sincere in your comments.  It also make you look unselfish.

Financial guru and radio host Dave Ramsey is great at guiding his listeners.  When a caller begins to ramble on, Dave will always step in with, “How can I best help you today?”  That is a great way to say, “Get to the point.”  You need to remember that your callers are not professional broadcasters.  They are not sure how to adequately edit their question while still providing all of the necessary details.

Edit your content to make your listener look good.  Just as you do not need to answer every e-mail you receive on your show, you do not need to read the entire e-mail either.  When you are using voicemail and e-mail questions, edit them before you use them.  Keep the essence of the question while eliminating the unnecessary details.  Nobody will fault you for editing a 4-minute voicemail message to a great 30 seconds.  In fact, they will probably thank you.  The edited call is still the call as long as you aren’t changing their words and intentions.  Your show is entertainment.  Edit is as such.

When interviewing a well-known guest, make it easy for them.  Open with great questions for which you already know the answer.  Talk hosts like Jay Leno and David Letterman have producers that do a pre-interview with their guests.  They will ask their guest, “If (host) asks you about ____, what will you say?”  The producer then puts the great questions on the blue cards for the host.  The host may not know the answers, but the guest is prepared for the question.

If  you know your guest has done some amazing things, ask them about it.  Then, let them answer.  I hear so many hosts interview guests as if they are trying to show the guest how much they actually know.  In turn, they answer the question as they are asking it.  “You just released a book detailing ways to reduce your work week by half by outsourcing many of your tasks to companies like X, Y and Z.  It has already sold 100,000 copies.  That’s great.  Tell us about it.”

This poses 3 problems.  First, the guest now has very little to say.  The question was already answered.  Second, the host looks like a know-it-all.  Finally, what’s the point of having the guest on the show if you already have all of the answers?

Let your guest shine.  Lob them softballs that they can hit out of the park.  You will look brilliant for asking such fantastic questions.  Your guest will love being part of your show, because you make them look so good.

You and your show become great when you make your guests and listeners the star.

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.

Lead With An Intriguing Introduction

Lead with an intriguing introduction.

This is true for your podcast in general as well as each individual topic. Your intriguing introduction should hook your audience, let them know exactly what to expect, and allow them to enjoy the story.

What do you hope your audience will take away from this particular discussion? Your introduction should spell it out. It should set up what is to come.

If your goal is to make your listener laugh at your misfortune over the weekend, lead with it. “This weekend was so disastrous, I wouldn’t have had time for anything else to go wrong even if I tried.” The audience will now have time to enjoy the vivid details of your horrible weekend rather than trying to figure out what point you are trying to make.

When you begin your story with the details, your listener spends energy trying to determine the point you are trying to make. They are trying to figure out what the story is about.

Have you ever been stuck listening to someone tell a story while you’re thinking, “Will he ever get to the point?” That is what we are trying to avoid.

Here is an example of a story you might hear. “This weekend we went to the mall. It was just the two of us. We were looking for a gift for my dad.” Are we telling a story about finding gifts? Is this story just recapping the weekend? Maybe it is about my dad. You don’t know. I haven’t told you. There is no lead to this story.

To hook your audience and allow them to truly enjoy the story, lead with an intriguing introduction.