Ep 13 – Vetting podcast guests

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Episode 13 – Full transcript


  1. Gimlet Academy podcast
  2. The guest appeal tweet
  3. The “How Not to Get Old and Boring” logo
  4. Thanks for comments from

(Automated) Full transcript

Episode 13

so can I make a hit podcast? The idea then is set for what I hope will become the hit show. I’ve been looking at the techniques or the big podcast companies. I’ve defined my ideal guests, the ones I need to make this show work. I’ve reached out to people and I’ve got 14 people who’ve responded, but are any of them going to be any good?

Are any of them going to be able to tell the kind of stories that I need to make this show come alive for the audience that’s what I’ve been trying to work out this week. And that’s what I’m going to report on over the next few minutes.

hello and welcome to Cal. I make a hit podcast last year. I almost quit podcasting for good after several failed attempts, but I decided to give it one more go. I’m trying to find out whether someone with a full time job and a laptop can still make a hit. Podcast which rivals the big production companies.

I’m documenting the journey in this podcast and sharing what I learned in almost real time. Every day on Instagram and Twitter at, at hit podcast, 2020 that’s app hit podcast, 2020

hello. And if you are just joining this series for the first time, then I really recommend listening back to some of the previous episodes. As some of this might leave you going, what’s he talking about here? What does he mean by the checklist? What does he mean by this story arc and all that?

Have a listen back to those episodes and it will get you fully up to speed. You can find those episodes, of course, on all good podcast apps or@canimakeahitpodcast.com? That’s all one word. Can I make a hit podcast.com? So this week, what happened when I tried to get back in touch with these potential guests, I was mentioning how I decided to take more risks with this whole project and see if another way from the way I thought would work, might work.

Instead, what I learned about pitching yourself as a guest and also as a podcast or two guests, in fact, there’s actually quite a lot. And it all happened over the past seven days. So let us get started.

But actually before I do, there is just one thing I do want to mention, and that is I made a series.

Bleep up last week, you know what I was talking about hashtags and about putting out the appeal for guests on Twitter, and one of the hashtags was hashtag PR request. Well, I never quite understood why it reached so few people that particular post and, you know, the way that you normally spell the words request.

So PR requests with a U after the Q. Yeah, I didn’t include the UW. So I sent that tweet out with the wrong hashtag on it. So I’m going to send that out again at some point and see if it reacts any differently this time. Also, I just want to say hi to @ItaloNeyPessoa on Twitter. Hopefully I’ve said that username, right? Thank you very much for your message saying that the listening to the podcast is helping to inspire them as well.

I’m absolutely delighted by that. That’s the whole thing I wanted to do with this podcast. I didn’t want to just make something about it for me. I wanted hopefully to be able to. Share what I’m learning so that other people can do it too, you know, easy actually possible to make a hit podcast. So thank you so much for reaching out to me.

There’s another mention of another person to contact me a little bit later in the show as well, but I will explain a little bit later.

So imagine the scene, I’m looking at Facebook last weekend and there were 14 people who’ve taken the time to message me to say, they’d like to pay it on this first project show that we’re going to do called how not to get old and boring. My gut was telling me two things, as I looked at this list, the first one was I should thank them quickly and book them fast before they changed their mind.

And the second thing was, as I scan through the list was there were a few people in there who got big audiences and I thought, right, they’re the ones that I need. And the problem with that was the gut reaction, but I’ve trusted my gut. Now five times with podcasts and five podcasts have failed and fizzled out.

So I think now is the time particularly with this project to say, okay, to hell with that, listen to the Gimlet Academy that I’ve been following and trust that more and stick with the guests I need, rather than the ones I think I need

but I’ve gotta be honest. I fought with myself for probably 24 hours before I actually started to make a move on this because the urge really was to dive in. I don’t know whether it’s because. Is it a sense of flattery because people are showing interest in taking part in the show that you’re doing.

And then from the point of view of people, who’ve got a big audience. Well, if you look at a lot of these online courses and a lot of these, um, articles that talk about this, they, they say, well, basically you should just get guests who have got a big audience and they should come onto your show to reach your audience .

And in fact, I saw on Facebook the other day, someone was asking a question about how do you approve the guests that appear on your show as a podcast? And someone blatantly said, I pick them if they’ve got a big audience.

Richard: But at the end of the day, if you putting people on who are not right for the show, You’re just making a show that sounds like every other show out there. So this time I’m really going to stick with what Gimlet Academy say, stick with the checklist it’s been spent on being a soldier, I think. And that whole trust your training when you’re under fire.

but here it’s not a problem. If I’m really strict my checklist, is there a danger that I’m actually going to blown out? Everyone that could possibly come on the show?

I could already see looking through Facebook that there were some amazing stories on there, but there were also definitely some similarities too. And I can’t have like five people who took up skydiving or five people who became life coaches, because the stories will be just too similar to make the show work.

I’ve got to have some real diversity in the stories. And if I’ve got the similarities, then I’ve got to pick the story, which is the best one that fits my criteria. So let’s say you’ve got two skydivers. In which case the person who’s been doing it for 20 years is obviously gonna win there.

Richard: So number one, I need to stick TO the criteria and ignore my gut. And secondly, I need the best guest for each story type. And I need a good range of stories.

so having spent a day, in fact, I think it was to stopping myself from replying so that I would actually focus on doing this properly. I needed to actually start replying to these people and I put the checklist up on one computer monitor and I had Facebook on the other and I’m going to leave out the names, but I wanted to run through what I saw in there so, let me just quickly remind you of the checklists before I go through them. If you need it to show, this is, this is what I need. So the person needs to be 40 plus years old had a midlife moment, which changed everything. They decided to do something unusual after that or something that’s normally thought to be something for younger people.

It’s gotta be something. Unusual . Not a cliched activity. Like man takes up golf when he hits middle age, you know, so lots of people, the person’s going to be a good storyteller. They’ve got, I’ve had some challenge drover come with that activity as well. It kind of just been easy. And also the other thing as well is really need some photos that we can share on social media for the marketing too.

If I actually want to clarify one of those points about unusual stories in my journalism days, we used to have this phrase of what is a news story?

Is it dog bites, man, or man bites dog? No one cares about a story about a dog biting a man, because that’s kind of what we expect her a yappy dog biting a man’s heels. But if a man bent down on all fours and bitter dog, that’s unusual. So, for example, if I said someone went shopping today and bought some groceries.

So what we’re all doing all the time, but what if I said someone went shopping today and was talent spotted at the shop and invited to appear in a Hollywood movie? That’s more interesting because it’s unusual. So I’m looking for the unusual as well. I’m looking for the stories that will actually stand out

so let’s have a run through some of the people that approached me and I’m going to leave out the names and I’m also going to blend the stories as well, so that there’s no danger of identifying people here. First I got was a few people that said they contacted me on direct message and sadly, none of them came through, which is a shame.

And I messaged back. Some of them didn’t get a reply. So those ones disappeared straight away. some of the people had also just launched products or had just made a life change. so again, I’m looking for people who have been doing this for a bit longer so again, that’s not quite right.

There are also a few people involved in sort of life coaching and coaching type businesses.

Richard: And again, there’s this huge market out there on the internet and podcasting world for these sorts of stories. And I think they’re a little bit too common now and I think we need something. That’s going to be a little bit unusual again. So. Just like dog bites, man, man bites, dog for this particular thing. it need something a little bit unusual again.

So then I moved on to the ones that fit a little bit better, and one of the ones did have a big audience. And in fact, they reached out to me, not themselves, but through presumably a press officer. And they said a little bit about what this person was about.

I had a look at LinkedIn because I think you need to do your due diligence.

And I could see a lot of potential, but I still had a few questions. So I actually messaged back the person, but I never got a reply sadly.

Another person came up with YouTube videos as well, which again, I started to see a pattern here that this is really effective when people have got YouTube videos. Cause it allows you to see what people are like, and this person did have a pretty amazing story. And I’m going to talk more about that.

In a few moments. Another one had taken up marathon running at the age of 60, I thought, Oh, this is a great story. So I immediately messaged back on that one, but I never got any reply, which is such a shame because that story sounds fantastic. but I was a little bit cautious on this one because I couldn’t find any YouTube.

I couldn’t find any social media or anything. So I didn’t know whether this guest would be a good talker or not. So I reached out in the hope that I would be able to sort of discover a bit more about this person, but it’s the site didn’t get a reply. and the final one had already got a podcast on this actual topic of being over 40 of what you do to enjoy yourself later in life.

When I listened to some of those podcasts, what some of the YouTube videos and it was like, yeah. Okay. That ticks off the criteria pretty well.

So overall using the checklist made it a lot easier than trying to trust my gut. There are a couple of lessons. I think you can still pull from this whole experience.

And the number one is probably this bit about doing due diligence. LinkedIn was actually a really great source of information because you know, like with, um, with Instagram or Facebook, how should we put it? People tend to put the version of themselves that they want to be seen as on there, but on LinkedIn, you’re listing your CV because you’re trying to get a job. So you actually have to be.

More honest, I think linked in is actually a great place to check people out. Also YouTube, fantastic for audition tapes. So to speak. I want to talk more about auditioning in a second, actually, because that’s something that Gimlet media suggests that you do. And also, it was interesting to see the way that people pitch themselves to me as the third lesson here. And let me talk about that in a second as well, but first.

Overall, I’ve now got a couple of potential guests out of this. But how do I know if they’re actually going to be any good? Let’s talk about that additioning point.

One of the things that Gimlet media have talked about. And this was actually in a YouTube video that Alex Blumberg did, was he was talking about when they acquired a show and how they used auditioning of guests before they appear in the show as a way of making sure that they’re `actually going to be good.

Richard: So, I thought, right. Let’s give this a go. So I approached one of the guests and we connected up on zoom and we had a chat. I’ve never done this before. I’ve never pre-interviewed someone before. And we said we would have a 10 minute chat and it lasted half an hour. And I have to say it was so enjoyable. There’s a downside to this. It was so enjoyable. We had a really good chat and I came out of it feeling so inspired by story as well.

The problem was that I didn’t recall any of this because this wasn’t the interview recording. So I found out that the person would be a great guest. That they had a great story, but those moments weren’t recorded. So I can’t use them. So that’s a bit of a missed opportunity, but also the problem with it.

Is that when you get those moments, the first time, they’re almost always impossible to replicate in quite the same powerful way.

I actually put up an update on social media during the week. I was saying that with interviewing, if someone asks you a question, you tend to go into autopilot and give the answer that comes into your head straight away.

Even if you think about a little bit, you tend to go for one that you’ve got almost stocked up, ready to go, and the best answers come from when you break that state. So you, you challenge someone on something or you say yes, but don’t you mean like that? I just mean you actually get them to stop for a moment. You can feel their brain thinking. And then they go into that moment that you’re asking about. And then they start to tell you, as they’re seeing it in their head, and those moments are powerful. And that’s what I got from this person when they suddenly that I sort of twitched.

And wow. It was powerful stuff. There was one final thing actually on this auditioning thing that I wanted to mention, because I put out on Twitter about the fact that I’d never done it before, and then my mixed feelings about doing it afterwards because of the fact I kind of miss this, these moments and the Rob and slim show (@Robandslimshow) .

Thank you very much for commenting said they don’t agree that you should do auditioning. You should prepare for the interview, but don’t audition and they feel that the best conversations happen. Naturally. And I have to say, I agree with them on trader as well. You know, I think it’s great when you can see a YouTube video, for example.

So you can feel a vibe from a guest and know how well they talk, but I’m not sure how much it helps beyond that. Maybe I spent too long talking to the person I’d love to know how Gimlet do it themselves.

But a poem from all these Nicole’s things overall, we’re actually starting to look good. So I got one guest that I had indeed auditioned. I got another couple of guests who were definite potentials. I got another one that it appeared on Facebook, which I will talk about a little bit more in just a second.

So this was all great. But I think there are actually a few other lessons that you can actually pull out of this whole experience. And I think this can help both people as podcasters and as guests. Let me share what I mean with you. when I went through that list on Facebook, there was some people that I was instantly drawn to.

I could feel myself being pulled to that, their story and I was fascinated by this, so I look back at each description, why did some jump out?

And the reason was because those ones had answered the pitch that I’d put. the mine premises, is that someone over 40 had a midlife moment, something changed in their life. They then proceeded that and carried on with it.

They still face challenges, but ultimately it came out well. So anyone that answered me with something that sounded like that was going to jump out more than someone who gave a more general answer. And I think this goes back to. Exactly what I had in my journalism days. When you had a good press officer approaching you as a journalist, they could have a story which wasn’t quite necessarily what you needed.

But they could angle the story and pull out the bits of their pitch, the, you know, what they wanted to get across that fit with the hook that I was trying to deliver. So they could still give me what I needed. And the more you can do that, the more that’s going to jump out the page to you.

but I think it goes the other way too. So this is you as a podcaster. Appealing to podcast guests. And I mean, in terms of your credibility or more correctly, why they should bother to appear on your show, I’ve done guesting.

I’ve been on other people’s podcasts. And when you bring a guest, you want to know that either you’re going to appear on a show, which has got a big audience so that you can market your podcast. Let’s be honest, or you’re going to be asked questions at all. Really interesting. So you know that you actually can have a genuinely interesting discussion about something, so you as a guest, feel like you’re going to have a really interesting time, even if it doesn’t reach that many people. So when I put out my YouTube video, which I attached to my appeal for guests, I made it clear in there that I used to be a former journalist newsreader. Cause I thought it would help to add some of that credibility and sound like I knew what I was doing. Fingers crossed. Have they heard this podcast?

But you don’t have to have been a journalist or newsreader to make someone want to appear on your show.

If you’ve got 10 years of experience of doing a particular thing, then I would be interested in appearing on that podcast with someone with that experience or someone who’s got particular contacts, or what is it about you as a podcaster?

That makes you a little bit unique. That makes you a little bit different because just saying, I want people over 40. I mean, what does it say? It doesn’t say anything.

So there’s quite a few lessons that can be pulled out of that process of going through those people. I will reveal in a moment whether I approached any of these, by the way, to book them, I will get to it. But just quickly I mentioned, there was also another guest that appeared. do you remember that friend’s post, I put out on Facebook trying to appeal to my friends and it didn’t, do very well, got lots of likes, but didn’t get much reaction. Well, I reached out directly to one of my friends who is a real inspiration to me.

He’s, he’s doing so much on Facebook the whole time, and we’re chatting at the moment to see whether it quite fits in with the show criteria. But I think he will be a great guest,

so the question I started in this whole show with then was, have I booked anyone yet? Well,

I think I’ve got three guests. That I am happy to start actually putting a date in the diary to book, but there’s still a couple of problems. The first one is that’s not enough guests yet. I think I need at least six guests. Remember this isn’t going to be a one-on-one interview.

After another interview. After another interview, this is going to be six people, all interweaved into each other with very different stories, all growing through a similar journey. so I need at least six different guests. plus also, as I said, I need different stories too so far. I think I’ve got an athlete. I’ve got someone who became a pilot. I’ve got someone who started a rock band. so for example, I need someone who was having a really boring life and then shattered all in and set up a major business and now has employees and have done all kinds of stuff.

And then I need someone that did the opposite, who had maybe a high paying corporate job and threw it all away and picked up a laptop and went and lived in Thailand on the beach. So that’s a challenge for me next week. And as you know, I’m going to say, I will be documenting every step of it on social media at hit podcast, 2020. It’s at hit podcast, 2020 on Instagram and Twitter. And also of course I’ll be rounding up everything in the podcast next week as well.

Please do reach out to me on Instagram or Twitter.

I would love to hear from you and I will pick up every message on any of my posts. should I do that usual finishing line that I like to end every episode with?

Let’s do it. There’s a lot of advice out there saying you can still make a hit podcast in the 2020s. If that’s right, then you and I could be making one by the end of this year, I will speak to you next week should be a really interesting week ahead. Looking forward to it.

Published by Richard

25 years in the communications business. Former news editor, journalist, political public relations professional, social media content creator, and podcast host of www.ThePublicRelationsPodcast.com

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