Being a podcaster myself and being a member of many podcasting circles and communities, I listen to a lot of podcasts. Some I listen to over and over because I want to. Others I’ll listen to once as part of a review exchange, or I just want to check someone out and I never listen again. Of the ones I listen to once, I rarely listen to the entire thing. And by rarely, I mean never.
I realize that this is a blog called MusicPreneur: Making Money Making Music but please understand that I can only relate from my own experience and expertise. My experience and expertise as an entrepreneur happens to be more of a podcaster than a performing musician. I apologize if you don’t think this post is relevant to you, but I think if you listen you can see some commonalities with whatever you consider to be your area of expertise.
What makes a great podcast interview, or a musical performance?
It’s all in how you FRAME it.
What is the one thing that you want your audience to take away from the interview? Focus on that. How long will it take to focus on that one thing? If it’s 5 minutes, it’s 5 minutes. This isn’t the evening news; you don’t need to cover the hot dog eating contest just to fill time. If your guest is on your show to promote a book or an album, that’s fine, but you didn’t start your podcast to promote someone else’s book. You have your own goals for the show. If you simply hit the “record” button and hope for the best, I guarantee you won’t get it. If you’re just starting out, more often than not you’re guessing what your audience needs to hear. That’s okay. The more you do it, and the more you’re able to connect with your audience, the better you’ll be able to find the pain point, the objective on which to focus.
James Altucher is probably the best at this, in my opinion. Anytime he interviews someone for his podcast, he’s read their book(s). He has read and listened to other interviews with them. Because of this, he’s able to avoid using precious minutes of the episode while the guest tells back story and just cut to the chase. You don’t need to know everything about the person and sometimes it’s fun to discover things about your guest right alongside the listeners. But the truth is the more you know about them the better the experience you’ll be able to provide your listeners. And you’ll be able to better identify the one thing one which to focus.
You don’t need to know every single member of your audience in order to speak directly to your audience. You do need to have that one listener in mind while you conduct the interview and imagine yourself talking to that person. The avatar for the MusicPreneur podcast is named Lenny. Lenny is a bassist with a master’s degree in jazz studies from Indiana University. He considered pursuing a doctorate but realized he didn’t really want to spend any more time in academia. He just wants to play and make a little money. Lenny recently moved to Nashville so he could get in on the action there but he doesn’t know the first thing about utilizing the tools available on the internet to make a go of it. He spends a lot of time in his car driving from gig to gig, and from his studio to his home. He needs a resource to learn these tools as well as the mindset needed to succeed as an entrepreneur. Where does he go? Why the MusicPreneur podcast and blog, of course!
The key for me is to keep Lenny in the back of my mind as I engage with my guests. Seth Godin said you just have to find the people that are your brand of weird. (That’s paraphrased, but you get the idea.) As long as I keep the needs of Lenny in mind, I have a much better chance of reaching the real people who listen rather than shooting from the hip and hoping I hit something.
People who tune in to your show have approximately 5 million podcasts to choose from and 10 kajillion songs and youtube videos to choose from. That in and of itself should motivate you to produce the best possible podcast. But they’re choosing to listen to you because they want to see if you can meet a need in their life. It could be that they want to hear stories from great trumpet players, as is the case with the Trumpet Dynamics podcast, or they could be considering doing their own thing as a musician so they check out the MusicPreneur podcast. The bottom line is they’re not listening to hear some cute stories. They want content that will inspire, educate and motivate them to take action on that pain point. A good podcast always has several calls to action (CTA’s) throughout the episode. It can be a promotion, a free product to generate email leads, or just a photo on the show notes. The point is to get them to move their index finger that precious 3 millimeters on their phone to click on your website, or an affiliate’s website. And they’ll do it if you 1) provide legitimate value (not some BS pdf called “5 ways to click play on YouTube) and 2) you mention it enough times.
“A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” -Mary Poppins
“You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” -Unknown (and quite frankly if someone wants to catch flies, I really don’t want to know them anyways.)
The thing about doing a podcast is that if you’re not having fun doing it, you’re not doing it right. I recently interviewed John Lee Dumas – someone who knows a thing or two about successful interviews – and he told me the reason he asks each guest, “Are you prepared to ignite?!” at the beginning of each interview is to simply set a lighthearted mood from the outset; to give the guest permission to be a little silly and really be themselves. Humor to a podcast (or any social situation) is like yeast to bread. You don’t think you need it until you forget to add it.
Learn a joke or two.
Here’s a joke: “Did you hear about the Siamese twins who moved to England so the other one could drive?”
Or two: “A grasshopper walks into a bar and the bartender says, ‘Hey! We have a drink named after you!’ to which the grasshopper replies, ‘You named a drink Bob?'”
If that’s not your brand of humor, that’s no problem. I don’t tell those jokes during interviews, but I do look for opportunities to inject a little humor every now and then. A fun little tangent can be a nice segue before changing topics. It gives you, your guest and your audience a bit of a breather before charging ahead into the next topic.
So, if you didn’t get all that, get this…
I’m speaking to myself more than anyone with this post. I just thought since I’m writing it down, I may as well make it available to others. Perhaps you’ll find some value in it – or perhaps you have some suggestions or other input you’d like to add.
Either way, I appreciate you reading it!