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Episode 17 – Full transcript


  1. Gimlet Academy podcast
  2. Calendly
  3. Ari Meisel – The Art of Less Doing

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Episode 17

[00:00:00] I have time set in my diary for four interviews next week

Four guests who I think went interviewed for my first podcast project will capture the imagination of the audience and get the listeners, telling their friends about the show. But did time management techniques turn the process of guest booking, which was proving to be time consuming and pretty frustrating, to be honest, into an efficient technique for getting landmark guests in a fraction of the time. 

Well, let me tell you in this episode, 

You are listening to, can I make a hit podcast, the real time story? I’m gonna attempt to make a hit podcast documented by me, Richard. Mitson a former news editor and journalist and disillusioned podcaster. You see, I’ve tried five different podcast shows and all of them have fizzled out yet. The internet claims anyone can make a hit show. 

So can someone with no budget, little time on the full time job, really still do it. I’ve decided to give this one last, try to find out, and I’m documenting the whole thing on Twitter and Instagram with the username hit podcast 2020 that’s hit podcast 2020. [00:01:00] And in this very podcast you’re listening to right now on your favorite podcast app. So is it possible to still make a hit show? 

Well, let’s find out. 

Welcome then too. Can I make a hit podcast right now? Then I am in the phase of guests booking as we head towards the first podcast project in his show. And if you’d like to learn more about the idea and the concept of what I chose for this particular project, then have listened back to the previous episodes. But the show is called “How not to get old and boring”.

 It’s something that personally I’m interested in, but also it seemed to be something that would be really exciting and helped to inspire people as well. 

But most recently, then I’ve been learning about what makes a great guest, how I needed to define them. And then of course, how to get them.  So the last two weeks have really been about working out how to get guests more efficiently so that I didn’t spend so much time doing it.

Now, getting any guest is pretty easy, getting great guests as we found in the past, episodes is harder, but getting landmark guests is [00:02:00] even harder. So I’ve been trying to use the time management techniques. I was experimenting with a couple of episodes ago. 

To speed up that process, but did they work? That’s what I’m covering this week?

I would like to give a shout out actually to Ari Meisel who is the author of The Art of Less Doing book, which is the one that I’ve been basing all my time management experiments on. Um, Hey or bad, perhaps his team reached out on Instagram with a quick message. After my episodes focused on this book with a simple message saying that they hoped that I was finding it useful. So thank you for that little comment. 

Oh, and before I also start as well this week, I was also interviewed for an article this week about podcasting. And I don’t quite know exactly what the final form of that will be yet. But one of the things I was asked about was about pod fade, not surprisingly because it’s such a big issue. And I mentioned,  there’s one hour roll again. Now my technique is I set myself a maximum of one hour per day to work in podcasting. And by doing that, I never overwhelmed myself and want to get to the end of it. I’m still really hungry to [00:03:00] do more on it. I actually spoke to a colleague this week, who she spends two days a week, really focused on getting her pockets now. And then the rest of the week is clear. So clearly it does. 

You know, it’s whatever works best for you, but for me, this one, our role. Really does keep winning through. 

 So what happened then with time management and booking guests? When it all started two weeks ago, because remember last week we had that special episode, we might winter. 

And I will explain more about that in a second. But the first thing I’d say is that being a podcaster is rather like being a journalist. And if you’ve never been a journalist, I was actually a journalist in a former career. But if you’ve never done it, think of the films or the TV shows where you see some character trying to track people down, it’s quite exciting to watch. And it’s actually quite exciting to be doing it. One of the things that the time management technique did  was, I started to get that buzz back again, and seriously, you want to feel it? It feels fantastic. and this was great because my early attempts at trying to get guests a few weeks ago, we’re really [00:04:00] ending up going nowhere. Do you remember? I was talking about skydiving, grandmas and granddads, and that simply wasn’t what I needed, but I spent an awful lot of time looking at it. 

so now I was trying to apply Ari’s idea. So on Tuesday, two weeks ago, I sent myself 30 minutes. And my goal was going to be to reach out to three people or organizations to try and find landmark guest for them.   And as I started this 30 minutes, I didn’t really know where to start once again, but one thing I love about Ari’s time limit. Approach is that it forces you to find a way, whatever the goal is that you’re trying to achieve. It forces you to start thinking, well, what do I actually need to do to make that happen? And again, I had tons of notes and ideas about who I could approach and how I could do it, but there was really no time to go through those notes. I just needed to get started. 

Let me remind you of something that I mentioned before, which is this whole idea of six degrees of separation. And there’s a journalist you have news is the whole point is that  the best possible guest on earth is within six degrees of you right now, because theoretically, the theory [00:05:00] goes, we’re all connected to everyone on earth, through six degrees of separation. So one contact would lead to another would lead to another. 

 So then I thought to myself, okay, the guest I need is someone who’s over 40. Who’s had some kind of life changing moment and there’s then change their whole life and gone on to do something, which is a little bit unusual. And I thought, okay, well, let’s start first of all, by looking for someone who set up a business later in life, after living this sort of corporate life for a long time, and then. 

Decided to throw that all in and set up their own thing. 

So where do these people hang out . In the old days, I would then just jump on the phone and I’d reach out to press officers, um, and organizations that were involved in this.  So I Googled the search term business later in life. And I got this organization called AgeUK, which is a charity in the United Kingdom that focuses on people as they’re getting older.  And in this particular case on the website, it was about setting up a business later in life. 

So I thought, okay, well, let’s look for their media office since I guess, as a podcast, I’m still [00:06:00] media. And I emailed them and I sent him a little message. I said the fact that I was a form of radio news editor,  I said that I’m already talking to a couple of examples, I use the example of the person who’s doing the marathon running in their sixties. Also the martial arts champion as well. And I said that I was looking for any great storytellers that they might know. So I sent that email. Great. That was the first one then I thought, okay, well what about Facebook groups for people over 50? So I did a bit of searching for Facebook groups and I saw one called 50 connects and I found they got a website called 50 connect.co.uk is really active website that talk about all sorts of things like lifestyle and business. So I found the email address on that and I emailed them with a very similar message. 

 And then I thought, okay, well, where do these people hang out again, perhaps on LinkedIn? So I searched for groups on LinkedIn and there was nothing really, right. But with time running out in my 30 minutes, I then Googled for LinkedIn and older entrepreneurs. So I use Google to search LinkedIn and it came up with a profile of [00:07:00] someone else who I thought sounded absolutely amazing. This person sounded really savvy, really press friendly. Uh, she’d been in front of Congress. You talked about business for older people and I thought brilliant. So I sent a message to her. So three messages in 30 minutes. 

Might be wondering why I approached three people for the same stories. So someone that set up a business later in life.  Well, chances are, it’s probably pretty obvious as is it most people probably weren’t going to reply. You know, in the old days in radio, we would take the first one who replied because he needed to get someone on there now. 

Which in fact, he’s actually also a tip. If you want to be a media guest. So on traditional broadcast in particular, be the first one to say yes, because even if your story isn’t so great, the fact that you said yes is going to give you a much better chance of appearing. Don’t be totally surprised if you get what’s called “biffed”. So if a much better guest comes along later, you may well get dropped. But being the first one to say yes, gives you a big headstart, particularly if you are just setting [00:08:00] out. 

One other thing I did notice that day was I do need to focus on one particular story each time. So like getting someone that set up a business later in life. 

I’ll overrule what that first day taught me, was it, time management techniques really do help you focus, setting a time limit of 30 minutes in that particular case really does get you moving. You can’t just sit there and procrastinate as we all do. Right. You have to get on with it. 

Ari talks about doing stuff in spurts and like 25 minutes and then having a five minute off. And I covered all that in the previous episode as well. 

So that was all great. So then I prepared for the next day. And the problem was, I just couldn’t get started. I’d done that parents are my winter show wise cracking with winter. I loved it, but I was exhausted. I was really knackered and also where it was proven to be a little bit tough too. 

 and I was absolutely fried. And remember, this is one of the things that I want to cover in this show. The reality of making a podcast. it’s not about saying. This could [00:09:00] be too hard. It’s about saying, okay, there are serious roadblocks here and let’s not care that says podcasting. Isn’t just something you just go. 

I know it’s done. There are serious roadblocks, but we need to find, and we Mo we can find I’m convinced of that weighs around all these so that we can be hit podcasters, rather mediocre podcasters. the problem was there. There was me sitting there and I found myself watching YouTube. 

And just sort of sitting and staring. I was fried. I played computer games and I wasn’t touching podcasting at all. but we’re still was, I was checking my email as well, and there was nothing for no three people I contacted the day before. And statistically there’s every chance you weren’t going to apply, but it was, it was all just a bit demoralizing. 

Can’t think of this. How hard can it be? The other problem is I knew I had to focus on doing these tasks to make this happen. But time management isn’t natural. It literally takes focus to focus. 

It’s actually easier to do the wrong thing for several hours and [00:10:00] is to do half an hour of something that will actually work. I also realized again, that I was putting in too much time. I was breaking this one, our role again. 

If you listen to the very first episode of this series, you’ll hear me talking about pod fade. So I took a few days off. I stopped my social media.  And another thing I did as well was I did a little bit of daydream because I think this really does help and thinking about what I wanted from this podcast. Again, can I make a hit podcast? I don’t mean writing it down and sing like a list of bullet points. I mean, actually thinking what would it be like when it’s finished?  For me, for me, if I’m brutally honest about this, I would love to stand on a stage and pass on what I’ve learnt, the hard way to other people so that they don’t have to go through that. And I had that vision and it helps to inspire me. So I’m sure you have a vision of what you would like to achieve from a podcast as well. 

 So, what did I learn over that week? Period? Remember, have still got far more success to talk about coming up in the same, but over that week, period, I learned the time management does require focus and quite intense energy.  But you’ll find that over the next couple of days, as I described them, [00:11:00] you, you actually start to get more into rhythm. So just keep going gently take days off and start building up to those sort of spurts. Cause I think it does work. 

But the key thing is if you’re burning out. Just give yourself a break. If you lose some listeners than so beer, if you stop completely, you will lose all your listeners. 

So this week, things all started to change.  So Monday, first thing I did was open up the email inbox just to see whether there was any John’s any of these people had replied to me and there was nothing. 

And then I thought, okay, well, I’ll check the spam folder.  And I actually recorded this moment. On social media, because I was going to illustrate the fact of what happens when you don’t get anything. I am in the inbox and I found several messages. This was in the spam one from a person offering to write articles for my website. Delete that one spam and an email from age UK saying, sorry, we can’t help,  but then just a little bit below. That was a second [00:12:00] replacing. Yes, they could. And they could connect me with an 85 year old tap dancer. 

Now that sounded good, but what really struck me also was that he had done more than just tap dancing. He had set up the international horse jousting association as in like Knights in shining armor with Lance’s at the age of 51. So here was someone who was clearly not just a tap dancer, but also a horse Chester. So someone who was clearly refusing to get old and boring. So I love this. The point is that the three people I reached out to one of these did reply and potentially a great guess. Someone said to me the other day that they felt that they were very small in the grand scheme of things when it came to podcasting. And would anyone take them seriously?  when I was quite surprised by this, because I wasn’t expecting a media office to get back to me. 

I so when age UK got back to me, I was really, really delighted. You know, I think  even as a small podcast, or you can reach out to these major organizations, he’s nationwide [00:13:00] organizations, never spam anyone, give them a good reason why. 

You want someone to appear on a podcast and there’s every chance then clearly, as you saw here that they might actually get back. 

So once again, feels a bit like being a journalist and I felt for a moment.  and you’ll see the excitement in the video on social media, that it felt like my past career was coming back to you. And I can tell you that journalism doesn’t pay well, but journalism.  is so much fun. This is such a tremendous buzz. When you start to connect with people that you wouldn’t normally be talking to. 

So that was great. I’ve got one guest out of this process, but I still wanted to try and get a few more. Remember I’ve got some already that I think it would be great, but I still wanted to get a few more landmark guess. On Tuesday was the day when I really learned something crucial about time management. And this is something I really want to share with you because I think it makes a big difference. 

 the first thing I noticed with the AGK got back to me with a chap’s phone number.  but they also asked me to credit their website and age UK. If we did the interview.  And to be honest, that doesn’t sound unfair at all because I can easily do [00:14:00] that in the show notes and in the general, thanks at the end of the episode as well. So that seems like a pretty fair trade. 

 but the whole goal of this past two weeks was to use time management to get a series of landmark guests, not just one quickly. So I thought, okay, I’ve got to approach this again and look at it again. What was going wrong? So I looked at Ari’s 10 things. I wrote the objective this time in 20 minutes, I will have approached a landmark guest. 

But it needed also to remind us of what was a landmark guest. So landmark guests to me,  at people who did something unusual or compelling, their stories unique. They tell it through their eyes. You know, they’re not a circuit person. They haven’t been paid on every other podcast in the show. 

They’ve got something truly unusual and compelling to say these are people who that when your audience listen to them, tell their story,  the audience then tell their friends about your show because it is so unique, so unusual and so compelling. So I sent myself 20 minutes to approach a landmark guest. 

So I quickly started and I thought about this other [00:15:00] time management technique from Aries, but which is the 80 20 role. And I try to think what would be the 20% of tasks I could do over these 20 minutes that would get me the result that I needed. But again, I wasn’t sure. 

You know, in journalism has to say I’d pick up my content book or look at who’d spoken in the news that day on the topic. And I would know who to go and approach or, or how to try and start reaching through my six degrees of separation to get to them. But in this particular case, I don’t have that option there because no one has spoken in the news today about this issue, or at least not. I found on Google. 

So I don’t actually know who are the people to speak to already. So I started thinking, okay, well maybe search for books on Amazon to see if I could reach out to authors. I had a look, but most of these authors looked like they would have done the circuit. So they’d have appeared on everything already. 

So then I thought again, okay, well, where can I find my 20% of the tasks that will get my results?  And the problem was I realized I just don’t have a clear vision of the person I’m trying to get. Now I mentioned this before, who actually am I trying to [00:16:00] reach? Because if I don’t know who that target person is. 

I can’t start the link in the chain for the six degrees of separation. And now these people are so near, but if I don’t even know where to start, how do I begin that search? If I give the example of Gimlet media, I’ve talked about their amazing podcast Academy series before, and then their show called mogul. You know, they knew who the key players were. All they had to do was look back at the history of the hip hop industry and they could see who the people were that they needed to reach. 

But the problem for me was that. I got this sort of vague idea of the over forties person. But it could mean so many people it’s still too vague. 

And then even if I had identified that, where would I start this link to the chain? I don’t have any direct contacts in. That particular area, you know, I could join over 50s groups.  and then start posting messages, but I kind of tried that approach already and it didn’t work and you ultimately spamming them. So I’m basically coming to this whole topic cold. I’m passionate [00:17:00] about the topic, but I don’t actually have anywhere to start. 

No, there’s nothing wrong with that. But the reality is that just building these initial contacts is gonna take forever. So that left me with another big problem, particularly since I’ve got 20 minutes, so we can lean and fast. How the heck do I start the links in the chain to reach other people? How can I speed up this process? 

But then it struck me. Actually, I do have a way of beginning these links in the chain. Can I use my existing guests are the ones I’ve already reached out to who’ve shown that they wanted a pair. Can I. Book them and asked for their help and also see if I can use their stories to help inspire other people to come to me rather than me trying to reach out to others. 

 And this seemed like a really logical thing to do my 20 minutes, by the way, we’re now seriously running out. sing to myself. Am I setting myself? Uh, two big goal here, but I thought, okay, I’ve got to try and actually reach us 20 minutes. So could I perhaps [00:18:00] bend the landmark guest waterbed? Could I change the definition? I thought, can I look for people not in this niche? So yes, they may be doing the circuits, but for example, if they talk about travel normally on the podcast circuit, but I’m talking about age. 

Perhaps, this is one of heard of them before. I started to try and look for shortcuts, but it was too late. My 20 minutes were up. 

 So my 20 minutes that particular day had failed sort of, because I actually learned a huge amount from it. 

Number one  was prepared better. My guests niche. It’s still way too vague. So if you’re trying to get people on, know who you want to approach. So do you want a digital nomad, a sports person? Do you want someone to set up a business, learn to go flying, set up horse jousting association or something like that. You need to list these before you get going, because otherwise it’s just too vague. The second one start interviewing the guests as they come in. 

Because I should be able to use these to help reach other guests. And the other big learning that I got from this is it [00:19:00] clearly time management really works. It helps to focus you in,  but you could say any goal for that 20 minutes. I could say in 20 minutes time, I’m going to have a million pounds. 

But he’s not going to work pretty unlikely. So saying that I’m going to have a landmark guests in 20 minutes. It was also pretty unlikely. And what I learned from that is that you’ve got to set an objective within your 20 minute time management spurt that you know is realistically possible to achieve. 

So push yourself, but just a bit beyond what you’ve achieved before in the past.  So there were three great learnings out of that day. 

So is the same. I’ve still got four guests booked at this point, as I’m speaking now. So, let me tell you what happened and how that all ended up. So the first thing I thought then come Wednesday was I’ve got to get these guests that I’ve already talked to booked,  

but there was another problem as always. I’ve got one of them in Melbourne, Australia, one in the United Kingdom and to in America. So how do we line this all up? It’s not live at [00:20:00] least, but Melbourne is way off my time zone by 12 hours. So I picked a time using UTC time. This is universal time code, which you probably heard of it’s what pilots used. So it’s a, it’s a time of day. So you would say like, Oh, 900. That is the same right around the world. And people then adjust that to their area. 

And then I wrote a message to speak to the four people that I contacted so far. But then I realized that actually this is really hard. Cause then. UTC often gets muddled up. I’ve then got to try and adapt that to the time that I can dare. So then I started looking for tool and I got all distracted and I found this tool called Calendly. It’s um, let me spell it for you. It’s C a L E N D L Y I’ll link to in the show notes as well. And it took a bit of playing around, but it means that people can pick a slot themselves next time without any hassles does all the times on adjustments for you and it’s free. So I will use it next time, but it was too late by now. Cause I’d already sent out my messages. 

So [00:21:00] did any of those people reply? Well, it got to Thursday. And how was actually a little bit nervous when I opened up the messenger on Facebook, which is where I’d reached out to all these people. At least this time, I wouldn’t have to worry about them going in the spam folder, but I had left it nearly a month since first reaching out to these guests. 

 A few friends had actually said to me over the past couple of weeks. That you’ve left it too long. These people probably have lost interest by now. So when I logged into Facebook, my first thought. Was, has anyone actually replied. Unless I logged in, there were four messages, every single one of them still wanted to pair on the show, which was fantastic. So I started looking at messages as I feared. 

It was times zones immediately. The issue I started replying and trying to match it up with my calendar and their time zones. And it was a right pain. And to be honest, I spent 40 minutes on this but I think I got it and they’re all in the candidate now for next week. But as I say, there has to be an easier way and I will be using Calendly. Um, [00:22:00] next time, because it’s just going to be so much easier. 

So is this way closed? There was one that niggling feeling. It feels like frankly, I failed in my task for this week. I feel like I set out to see how time management. Could book landmark gas, but much, much quicker. And the reality was that I just couldn’t find a landmark guest quickly. It was, I think, an unrealistic goal considering the setup that I’ve given myself, it was just too far beyond. 

And I realized that you’ve got to set a goal, which is just slightly beyond what you’ve done before. But the other thing that the time management.  Technique does, is it really gets you focused. And that made a huge difference for me when I was actually applying it, I was achieving so much more in half an hour than I was in a couple of nights previously. 

So it may not have got me. Any more guests, but it’s certainly approved my efficiency. 

 It also taught me to use Calendly for guest booking next time as well, because that was a [00:23:00] major time consuming waste of time. 

So how did the past weeks go? Did it brought me landmark guests or maybe the time management techniques directly accounted maybe for one of these guests, but time management certainly helped me to focus more on what’s needed with guest booking in podcasting. 

And to be honest, it’s actually helped me in other areas in my life as well, helping me to focus more on other tasks too. So, where am I now? Well, I’m still sorting out the final details, but as I say, I’ve got four interviews next week, and I need to line up that one more, who I’m going to call straight after I’ve recorded this podcast 

so will I be able to get the stories that I need from them to really set this podcast? Alight, what questions will I actually be asking them? How will it all go? Well, You’ll be the first to hear on my social media accounts during the week. Hit podcast, 2020 that’s at hip hop. 2020. And of course all the extra details, all the learnings and all the extra stuff that I can’t put, no social media updates. 

In my podcast episode next week as well.

Don’t forget to [00:24:00] subscribe. You can subscribe on any podcast app. If you haven’t already. And you just found this one episode, or you can go to, can I make a hit podcast.com that’s can I make a hit podcast.com and click the subscribe link there as well? I want to finish with that line that I’ve used a lot in this series. 

And it’s this. There was a lot of advice out there saying you can still make a hit podcast in the 2020s. If it’s right, then you and I could still be making one by the end of this year, I speak to you next week.  

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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