1 Use force multipliers
2 Tell them what to do
3 Repeat the message
4 Tell the story visually
5 Professional audio
6 Value the back catalog
7 Steal SEO technique: links
8 Keep in touch
9 Hook the listener
January 17, 2022
Episode #1000 dropped on January 17, 2022. In the last fifteen years, some interviews have become wildly popular, and some did not. What was the magic formula? I left no stone unturned to see why.
I looked at every aspect of podcasting:
- Some interviews were recorded in a $25 million studio, some on a digital recorder from the office of a U.S. Congressman, and some from the floor of a trade show in Utah, some on Zoom.
- 40,000 Tweets were sent to promote podcasts. A PhD. in mathematics did a regression analysis on a selected chunk of Twitter data.
- Episode titles and meta descriptions were varied and included in the evaluation.
- Test ads were done on Spotify, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
- Episodes were placed on YouTube and YouTube Shorts
- A variety of hooks and openers were evaluated
- Within the show notes page itself, transcripts, design, and pull quotes were assessed. Stock images, publicity photos, and professional photographers were put under a microscope.
Here is what works:
1. Force Multiplier
To reach a new audience and grow, the audience you own is not enough. However, your guest can multiply your efforts by promoting to their social media followers.
Just for the sake of argument, let’s say you have five hundred followers and so does your guest. When your guest mentions the interview to five hundred of their followers who, mostly, are all new to your podcast. Voila, you are increasing reach and improving brand awareness.
To put some structure to this, you may want to consider starting an engagement pod. This is an informal group of people who comment on each other’s posts. This works best when people are in slightly different areas. For example, in technology, a podcast about identity management can promote a podcast about data security.
2. Tell them what to do
The call to action should produce a result that is helpful, relevant, and free.
A call to action will direct the listener to a case study, video, webinar, or other digital asset that will benefit the listener. It is free exchange. The listener sends an email in exchange for a valuable piece of content.
“Go to elastic.com and download Leveraging observability to build better applications at scale”
A call to action will help the listener derive more benefit from the episode.
A call to action that is an event is especially popular. A listener may have a question about a concept that a guest explained. The listener can attend the event and approach the speaker and ask the question in a more detailed manner.
3. Repeat the message, repeat the message
Marketing 101 demands that you repeat your message. This concept is amplified with podcasts.
After all, listeners could be running, walking, driving, or sitting in an airport waiting for a plane.
That is the reason you repeat the message several times.
OK, we have a verbal call to action, now it is time to give a text-based call to action. This goes on your show notes page. “Go to ronco.com/case study and download the case study.” You can also say, in case you missed it, the link will be in the show notes.
Some may find your show notes page and not listen but download the case study. Some will argue that email growth is more important than your downloads increasing.
Tell the story visually as well as verbally
You should structure your show notes page as the potential target for that search by including keywords, having good structure, and loading faster than three seconds. Once they get there, you don’t want to bore them to tears with text.
Humans are programmed to look at images. The best podcasts are face-to-face with a professional photographer taking shots during the interview.
Give a textural description of the podcast and a photo of the guest in front of a microphone. That is what you put on the show notes page.
5. You suck at editing audio
Take a lesson from Hollywood: do not be a cheapskate with the audio. Blockbuster movies spend millions of dollars on audio. Producers know the value of high-quality audio.
Please use a professional audio engineer. It will be worth every penny. Podcasting has reached a stage where they expect professional audio. No choice here, you must have each podcast professionally edited.
6. The value of your back catalogue
Radio is a fleeting lover, podcasts last forever.
In podcasting world, a back catalogue consists of your previous episodes.
There is one podcast that got thirty-four downloads in the first episode. The moderator was wallowing in despair. Five years later, he learned that 1,956 had downloaded that first episode. If you are any good, people will binge-listen to your podcast.
During each episode, you should offer a “prescription.” This means that, during show prep, you consider previous episodes that would have value to the audience.
For example, if you are interviewing a company that 3D prints rockets, you can say something like, “If this concept provokes interest, you may want to listen to Episode #53 with Chris Blackerby from Astroscale discussing space debris.”
7. Steal SEO technique: links
Show notes page. Google likes links. If someone is searching for your topic, a link in the show notes page will give it more domain authority, giving the algorithm a better reason to direct searchers to your show notes page.
As we mentioned above to say, during the podcast, the show notes page will contain the link to the prescribed podcast that will help the listener deepen their knowledge about the topic.
Please include links to other podcast episodes as well. This is like the “Amazon” approach of “products related to this.” It makes sense. If you are interested in security in satellite communications, you want to listen to all the shows on secure communications on the ground. A wise podcaster will have content clusters around popular topics.
Set aside time to go to past episodes and link to new ones. Let’s say you do a show explaining the La Grange point for a cislunar orbit. You can go back to the show notes page from an episode two years ago where you discussed secure comms for cislunar orbits. You can update the old show notes page and link to the new interview.
8. Keep in Touch
Make yourself unforgettable through email or LinkedIn.
One week after the interview, reach out to the guest to get feedback. You will be surprised at what you can learn.
In the long term, get their email and make a connection on LinkedIn. Many of the hundreds of CEOs I have interviewed have changed jobs.
The email may be dead, but the connection stays the same on LinkedIn.
You may want to ask a previous guest to suggest experts on a specific topic, vet a guest, or if the episode was done on Zoom, request a face-to-face meeting at a related conference.
9. Hit first, ask questions later
Bond movies hook you in the first few minutes. You do not have a few minutes; you have a few seconds. Podcast guru Eric Nuzum recently stated that one has seventeen seconds to hook the listener.
Identify yourself, identify the guest, ask a question, or make a provocative statement. You may want to make a promise, “In the next 30 minutes, you will learn the five best spots for surfing in Hawaii.” Queue the liner and start the podcast.
Novice podcasters may have listened to radio personalities that have to fill four hours in the morning. Of course, the show is full of drivel. They have hours to fill. Not true with a podcast.
To quote the famous philosopher, Eminem, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”
Humans will give you one chance, then never return.
Leverage your guest’s audience. Navy Seals work in teams you should too. Take advantage of engagement pods and the ability of a guest to promote. Don’t be a tightwad, give the audio production to a pro.
Give the audience something to do. Repeat the message, your listeners are constantly stopped while listening and return to finish the episode. Get photos of guests in front of the microphone. Your back catalog is full of gold
Steal SEO techniques to the show notes page: keywords, titles, and backlinks. Steal engagement techniques from Amazon: “people also ordered.” Link out verbally during the episode, and link out textually on the show notes page. Return to old show note pages and include links to new interviews.
8.5 billion searches are done in a day on Google. Give them something to find by including a transcript in the show notes page.
Your email list is your lifeline to listeners. Engage and ask what topics they want to cover.
Grab attention, then deliver outstanding content.
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to read “Should You Start a Podcast for your Company?”
Has been behind a microphone since 1991. He can help you structure, launch, and promote your company podcast. email@example.com