Category Archives: Podcast improvement

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.

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 That The Right Measurement? …

Is that the right measurement?

(photo by bartekwardziak)

Many podcasters and bloggers measure their success by the number of downloads of, or visits to, their material. Unless you are blogging or podcasting simply as a hobby, this is a mistake. Downloads and visits really don’t move the needle for you. They don’t generate revenue or move your product.

You need to figure out what you want your audience to do and how you measure it? What is your call-to-action? Maybe you want them to visit your website. Maybe you want them to buy your product. Maybe you want them to donate to your cause. Determine the call-to-action.

Once you figure out what you want your audience to do, you will then know what to measure. It may be visitors to a specific URL on your website. It could be units sold. You can easily measure the donations to your cause. All three of those events move the needle. Those are the things you should be measuring.

What are you measuring?

— 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.

Find your call-to-action. Is that the right measurement?

Swing For The Fences …

Swing for the fence.

(photo by rpernell)

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

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

Swing for the fence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every now and then, swing for the fence.

Did You Really Hear That? …

Did you really hear that?

(photo by mirselena)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t Ask THAT Question …

Don’t Ask That Question.

(photo by icyimage)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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?

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.

Are You Following The Four Steps? …

Are you following the four steps?

(photo by Rcaucino)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you following the four steps?

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.

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.

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.”

You vs. Me …

You vs. Me

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

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

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

Put Your Audience In The Story …

Put your audience in the story.

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

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

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

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

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.