Ep 18 – Getting Guest interviews right

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Episode 18 – Full transcript


  1. Gimlet Academy podcast
  2. Calendly
  3. Ari Meisel – The Art of Less Doing
  4. Wise Crackin With Winter
  5. Murmur Murders
  6. Anyway Whatever Podcast
  7. Zoom
  8. Zencastr

(Automated) Full transcript

Automated transcript. Edited transcript coming.

Last week. I tried to use time management techniques to book guests faster for the show, how not to get old and boring. Remember, this is the project podcast that I’m working on in the show and got some mixed results. I certainly discovered a lot of new techniques to compete with the big podcast companies, but not perhaps the ones I expected to find.

One of those things was to get on with interviewing the guests that are already agreed to appear as they might have got ideas to have other guests. And I could also use these guests to create some momentum, I had four guests to interview this week. So did it work? And what tips did I find in my constant quest for knowledge, just good guests, but landmark guests that get people talking.

You’re listening to, can I make a hip hop the real time story of an attempt to make a hip hop podcast documented by me, Richard Mitson a former news editor and journalist disillusioned podcast. You say I’ve tried five different shows and all of them have fizzled out. Yeah. The internet claims anyone can make a hit show.

So can someone with no budget time and a full time job really still compete with the big production companies. I’ve decided to give this one last, try to find out and I’m documenting the whole thing on Twitter and Instagram with username hit podcast 2020 that’s hip podcast ready 20. And in this very podcast that you’re listening to right now on your favorite podcast app.

So is it still possible to make a hit show?

Welcome welcome. I actually got an on air light this week. I don’t know whether you’ve ever worked in media or if you’ve seen them in movies or in shots of studios and you get these huge, great on our lights, which show people when the mic is live or Mike live, it could say something like that.

And it basically means keep quiet when the microphone is working. Well, I know Mike winter, who I was talking to the other week on, um, Wisecracking cracking with winter, had one made in the style of his logo for his show. And I thought, okay, I’m not going to get that done, but I’d love to get not an on air light because every so often when I’m recording my shows or recording audio, someone will walk past in the house and it will make a noise.

I thought, okay, I’ll get one of these. So I ordered this on air light and it looks in the pictures probably about a foot long. So it looked reasonable size and it turned up and I did a little social media update on it earlier this week. And it’s probably only about six inches long. So it’s pretty small.

It’s about the size of my hand. It is absolutely tiny. So it wasn’t much use, to be honest, you should see the video. So, um, if you’re trying to get an on air light, make sure you check the exact, I mentioned that the thing, rather than just in the way it looked in the pitch also want to comment and thanks also to mine the winter, I hope that amused him this week, but also want to comment on a couple of other people who made comments on Twitter in particular and, um, One was, it was from anyway, whatever podcast you can find it, AWP underscore podcast.

And, one of the things I was talking about in previous weeks was about when you’re an independent podcast or having the guts to actually approach big organizations. Cause you might feel like you are really small and insignificant and they replied back and they said, you know, they need to think about this as well at times.

But it was really interesting because they had actually already built up an audience on Facebook. And they said that that helped to give them the credibility when they got started, although they weren’t joking as well as to how much credibility that gave them.

But clearly if you are starting out for the first time, you are starting from scratch and that’s the reality of it. It’s not a reason not to do it, but it is a reason to realize that it’s going to take a bit of time to build up. But as I was saying, I reached out with this new show with very little audience.

To a major UK organization and they replied and offered me a guess. So don’t be afraid to reach out finally, murmur murders podcast. You can find out M U R M U R murders. All one word. And they actually asked a question this week about saying, what type of genre of podcasts would you do if you weren’t doing a current topic?

And I replied that in fact, I just told my partner that I would love to make a podcast where I try to live an Instagram lifestyle. So beautiful places, you know, endless travel, never working. So the image that is portrayed, run the reality to try and do that and see what happens. And they said that that would be a `good idea.

and they totally listened to it. I love, I love the whole concept of it. I mean, it would make a good comedy podcast, but I think one of the interesting things here is that this sort of journalistic approach of podcasts and finding something that you are excited about and you want to explore and then document that.

He’s a really good approach to making a podcast idea. So anyway, thank you very much to everyone who commented on Twitter this week. And I engage with and feel free to comment as well. Hit podcast 2020 to hit podcast 2020 on both Twitter and on Instagram.

so much to share with you this week in a show.

I’m going to talk about what happened with the interviews that I did this week, but then I’m going to round up the show with a bit of a revelation, because at the end of this week, I actually read something last night, which I think is going to change the direction of things.

Again. And I think this could really help me and other independence in trying to punch way above our weight. I will in a moment, but let me first and through the events of this week and what I learned doing these interviews.

So that the whole point of this week was that I got four interviews booked. I did them really quickly then last week after realizing I just needed to get on with them. So, but then it started to hit me. In four hours this week. So four interviews and average, I have to get stories to put in a podcast that when the audience hear it, they end up telling their friends about the show.

I mean, there’s got to be that good. And if I don’t do that, then all the effort I’ve put in so far will be completely wasted. So, as I was saying before, what I need to get from these interviews, it’s not just someone repeating the same sort of autopilot story that perhaps I said before, I need to get them to tell it in a different way. I need to get them to tell it through there eyes. I need us as listeners to be able to go inside their head and feel the emotions and, and see things as they saw them.

And I thought, well, how can I actually make sure this happens? most people tend to just talk in more of the third person rather than that first person through your eyes.

when I was a radio news reader, I would ask deliberately sidebar questions because it kind of broke the mental pattern in the mind of your guests, particularly when you’re trying to do a sort of three, four minute interview, and this wasn’t designed to trick people, it was designed to just sort of, create a sort of.

Mental hurdle in the mind that got them thinking rather than just pulling it up from that sort of subconscious memory. I remember interviewing a British cabinet minister. So from the British government or a former British cabinet minister, and I wanted to know what it was like the first time they walked into 10 Downing street, which is where the prime minister and the key cabinet meet in UK politics when they running the government and she looked at me first, And I said, you know, what did it feel like in inside yourself?

So not as a politician, but as a person, and she looked at me, first of all, looked suspiciously, like what I was trying to catch her out. And she realized I was being honest and it was incredibly powerful as she described the way she was walked in and she described what the room looked like and the sense of history and the sense of responsibility.

And it was a great bit of audio. So it’s exactly that, that I need to try and get. Through these interviews.

It’s when we break our state, even, even in ourselves as podcasters. And we start to become absolutely authentic because it’s the real us coming through. So I’ve got to get to that. So then I thought, okay, well, what can I do to actually develop this frame?

And I thought, well, the first thing I can do is send them a message. So I actually wrote this. Thanks so much for agreeing to appear on the podcast. Again, I thought I’d share a few notes before our chat. The show of course you will know is called how not to get old and boring. I’ll be taking a series of clips out of the conversation, blah, blah, blah.

A bit of technical stuff there only ask you more questions about how you felt then what happened. The reason for this is to take listeners on the very same journey you went on through your eyes and through your emotions, by doing this, we’ll be able to connect with them on a much deeper level and leave them inspired and learning from your experience.

So I might ask about the same experience a couple of times, that was the gist of it. So that was the set, the frame, so that when I actually start the interview and I say it again, it’ll be more familiar to them and we’ll be able to get straight into the interview.

So the next part was making sure that my questions were going to draw this out from those guests. Now I’ve talked about this before in the past, in short it, I went back to the Gimlet Academy podcasts that I’ve mentioned many times before, looked at the structure of my show, follow through their stamps and that the basic principles that you’re translating the point and the structure of your show into questions that will deliver what you need to appear.

So I quite literally have a list of questions of the things I must get. In fact, I think there were 22 things I must get the reality is it blended down at about four questions, but I had to get those elements in order to deliver my show.

Richard: so got to Tuesday, so I got my base structure, but now I needed to personalize each set of questions to each individual guests. And that obviously means doing a bit of research. And just like with journalism, this is about repairing. it just means sitting down and researching these people, Googling them, LinkedIn. It’s amazing. The kind of websites, videos, and stuff like that, that you can find

so I was ready to go. We’d shattered it for 6:00 PM and at 5:50 PM, I sent the links on Facebook for zoom and for Zencaster. I wanted to use themes that I can see them. I mentioned this before in a previous episode as well. so I use zoom and Zencaster to get a high quality recording, sent the links and wondered are they actually going to be there?

Yeah, pardon me? In a funny way, you know, when you’ve built up a podcast and I think this is half the problem with podcasting is just getting started. Part of me kind of wished that they weren’t going to be there, but after a few minutes, I saw that they had got my links and then shortly before 6:00 PM, I saw.

A message to submit my guest to zoom and I clicked admit and connected. And there was my guests. So we started, I ran through my questions and I was just finding that at the beginning, it was kind of not getting into that through their icing.

And let me give you an example of the kind of question I asked. So you can ask closed and open questions. A closed question would be something like, was it hard when you were young and the answer to that could be yes or no, but you could say, tell me about what it was like in a situation when you were a child, you know, do you remember a particular time?

That really summed up what your childhood was like. Can you describe that to me? That’s a really open question. And it, instead of getting that sort of short answer, like a ten second answer, that then starts to open up a whole load of stories and it is amazing the stuff that people come out with, like this particular guest came out with some really powerful stuff.

So it is down to you down to me. To ask the right questions to draw this out of people. The other thing I was aware of that I got one hour to do this. I kept looking at the clock and making sure that I was getting through the points as quickly as I needed to, to make sure we hit time.

And if actually the whole thing was one hour and three minutes, it was perfect.

There’s always a slightly nerve wracking thing at the end, which is, has it recorded. I stopped all the systems and it had recorded perfectly. And then something else happened. And that was, do you remember? I mentioned the fact that I was kind of hoping would this lead to other things? Well, then my guest have me another guest who sadly wasn’t quite right for what I needed, but here it was already the whole logic about getting momentum going. And I was getting other guests offered to me already.

So let’s sum up that first interview. To be honest, it went brilliantly in a Zencaster word, zoom word, or Udacity word. I had spent so much time to prepare my questions. I got all my questions covered. I was aware of the time the guest was great by changing the way I asked the questions. I got some fantastic answers as well.

So all in on Monday was a huge success.

Which is then really weird because then on Wednesday, when I was about to do my next one interview, I actually woke up feeling really flat and worried about the interview because the problem was, is you’re saying to yourself, well, was it any good? And I think this is pretty common as well for podcasters.

So the next guest connected and she got absolutely lovely smile. The moment I saw her and it was like, I knew, I knew this was going to go well, now this was actually a guest that I hadn’t seen any YouTube or any videos or anything. And I was a little bit nervous about, would she be able to talk? And the moment she smiled and started talking, it was like, yes, she’s going to be an absolutely wonderful guest.

And she was really inspiring it. One great thing about the approach I’m taking to this and being a series rather than a series of long interviews, is that I’m able to cut these people up so I can take the best bits of those interviews. So if someone does go on in some way about something that I don’t think connects with the show, it doesn’t matter because I can still focus in on the stuff which we really need for this show.

So two down, and that was great. Come Friday, two more interviews. And at the time I’m recording this, this is actually Friday afternoon. So I did one this morning and the only thing I would say with that, it was another great interview. Fantastic story. But, Is not always sticking with the kit that you’re using.

So I tried to get zoom to work and Zencaster again with this guest and it didn’t work. We just couldn’t seem to get the audit to work. We spent 15 minutes doing this. And I think, you know, if you are Gimlet, if you are a big production company, you can spend that time going out to people and sticking a microphone in from their face.

But you just can’t do it as an independent. We haven’t got time or the technology to be able to do this. So in this particular case, we don’t know why it didn’t really work, but we start with just zoom and the quality wasn’t quite as good as using Zencaster, but we had to get on with it. I think you also need to be a little bit of a, so almost support assistance. I was actually screen sharing my screen to show where the different options were and zoom to help get this all set up.

And I think you just have to be prepared for that to assume that a guest is just going to suddenly turn up. And it just immediately work. I think he’s a bit too hopeful.

So I think you have to be prepared to adapt and accept the fact that sometimes you’re not going to get that full quality. So I’ve got one more interview left to do today, as a say, after I’ve recorded this. but the real question is I had four. We used to do this week for hours to get stuff, which is going to get people talking when these stories are played out in the show, how not to get old and boring.

And was that a success, as I say, it is really hard to know you get so close to this so that it is really hard to get an honest feeling. I know I’ve been ticking off the boxes. I know I’ve got the content I think one of the key things I learnt this week is the need to prepare. I used to do this in radio, but it’s actually even more important in podcasting because in radio news, as a say, you already know what the story is.

You can just ask questions around it. But in this, you are framing a whole thing that you have created as concept yourself. So you’ve got to ask the questions that are going to elicit. The response is from your guest that he’s going to deliver on that promise that you’re going to be making to your listeners.

If you don’t answer those questions, if you don’t prepare and have those, you aren’t going into this blind and a generic interview is going to end up with generic answers, which is not going to get. Anyone talking,

I think in a funny way, though, a good metaphor is it’s a bit like flying a plane.

when you take off in a plane, you can’t fix stuff when you’re in the sky. So all the work, all the preparation, all the checks have to be done beforehand, so that when you’re in the plane, do you have to do is move the stick around a little bit to make sure it goes in the right direction. And I think it’s just the same way here.

Pre-framing I think it was good. sending that note to them. And then at the beginning of each interview, actually reminding them again of the kind of interview that I’m looking for. That certainly word, one of the other things that Gimlet Academy said is you should break the ice with people at the beginning, but if you’re not in the room with them, even if you can see them, it’s okay.

It’s quite hard to do that. But so what I did was I kind of explained why I was making this show, . I think that. Clarity. I could be wrong. You’d have to ask them. But I think that clarity of knowing what the show is about and what I need gives them confidence that you are going to handle this in a different way from many other podcasters.

So this week I think has been tremendously successful. I’ve got one more interview to do today. I’ve got the other interview to do with his Knight in shining armor this 85 year old tap dancer that used to do horse jousting amazing chap, but there is one last thing I really want to talk about this week.

Which I think really is a powerful tool. The technique for us, independent podcasters to help us compete with the big production companies. And I’m sure some of you will know this stuff already, but for me it was pretty new. My project is to say the first project I’m working on to test Gimlet Academy’s approach to podcasting, to make a hit show is called how not to get old and boring, but this podcast called can I make a hip hop cast is also teaching me an awful lot, which by the way, I’m actually documenting in a manual that I’m building for myself and something struck me last night. I was reading something about Seth Gordon. I’m not sure if I’ve said his name, right.

And a book called tribes. And I had a look for it. It was only about 155 pages. So I bought it and skimmed it through, on an ebook reader. And I’d heard of the book before, but never quite got it. I kind of assumed that it was just marketing, speak this whole idea of getting people to follow your brand or brought out in some fantastical belief that people would suddenly love you.

You know, you can just imagine some washing machine manufacturer thinking that you’re going to get legions of 20 year olds who are going to love their washing machine or something like that. So I was really cynical about this, but as I actually started to speed read the book, , something came out of it. In a Gimlet Academy talking about the power of story. Right. And I focus a lot on this and the fact that it is biologically addictive to us as listeners, we, we get hooked on a podcast because we hear a story and we want to know what happened next and how not to get old and boring.

We’ll do just that. But I think there is something else as a say, which I’ve missed.

One of the things we like about stories is that we want to want to what we were doing, that situation B, but we also want to learn something. So a story is much more powerful if it gives you the tools to achieve something so for example, true crime is great because it not only allows us to be judgmental about the facts and feel that we know of what’s going on, but so it talks about how someone found the answers.

So if you asked people who love the genre they will say, I learned a lot about detective work on a lot, learned about investigations doing it. And there’s that sense of like, I could do that. Now I used to work in public affairs and I remember watching a movie called miss Sloane with them, or just Jessica Jaslyn.

I’ve got that name right about a public affairs person. And why did that connect with me? Probably more than anyone else? Because one there’s no way I’d ever do quite what she does. And that one, I picked up a mindset from it that I can win and that I can out-think my opponents. So I learned something from it ,

now again, this might sound obvious, but let me complete this bet because my focus of can I make a hit podcast. I focused on building number one, story and structure into the show, but also helping people. Learn what I’m learning, but here’s the problem. What I’ve been reporting and could probably have been read or discovered almost anywhere else or the stuff I focus on could almost be, could probably be discovered.

and what I said to myself, when I set out on this task was that my goal was to find a way to make a hit podcast as an independent, that was as good as, or could compete with the big production companies. And I wanted to find out whether that was possible. And it’s that stuff, which I think makes his show a little bit more unique. It’s that whole, how can I compete with the big production companies as an independent? So, yes, I want to carry on developing story and learning, but I also need to deliver on my promise of sharing the tips that I learned, which will allow people like you to compete with the world’s best podcast companies, but as an independent with no money.

So, how does this relate to Seth Godin and this whole aspect of tribes? Well, what he says is that you need to create a movement, which is about a campaign or a cause my calls, if I think about it was always to help me and others make a hip hop. I’ve like a big production company, but I never saw it as a cause in the way that Seth talks about it.

by thinking about it as a, cause it actually helps to focus your mind, and helps you to think, what is it?

I actually need to be delivering in this podcast and it is it’s about these tips and tricks, and I’m learning to help us compete with a bit with the big companies but also by having a cause, it also provokes a conversation as he says. And what’s the value of that? Well, the value is, is the, actually the reality is I’m not the only podcast. Rather who’s trying to compete big companies. There’s lots of us. And we could be supporting each other in a far more effective way if we’re working together and sharing those tips.

And I’m not talking about the people, who’ve got a thousand episodes I’m talking about people that really seriously focused on actually building a show that will stand out rather than these sort of just production line shows that you keep hearing about all the time.

And the ammonia makes is that by having a cause in quotes, you create a focus that people can come together around, have a discussion.

And if you’ve got that conversation, then you are going to be building an audience as well. So you’re giving value, but you’re also building an audience and you’re getting people talking about your show and acting as a bit of a magnet around that topic for people to come and listen to you and begin that conversation as well.

And you can obviously use social media to help that discussion. Look at all these people who are doing like Facebook groups. And this is exactly what they’ve done, whether it’s consciously or not.

And then you start to develop this sense of community, rather that just being people, listening to you, there’s actually a community developing around these ideas

that you’re discussing. I thought about some of the podcasts I listened to, like the membership guys podcast is one I quite like. And there’s a sense of community around that there’s political ones where they share a sense of a similar point of view to you. And also I thought about ones where it hasn’t quite word.

I mentioned before Gary Vaynerchuk, and I know he’s really popular. I used to really like it. Cause I thought there was this sort of community of people who shared very similar. Aims to me, but the problem was I started to lose interest in now because I didn’t feel I was learning anything anymore.

So there was a community. But there was nothing that I was getting from it. I saw only positive thinking, nothing wrong with that. And I loved this sort of daily story where he documents, what he actually does day by day, but there was less and less than I was actually learning from it. So again, going back to this whole point of what is the podcast about what are the two things that are going to really ground people?

It is going to be telling a story. It is going to be giving information and that information has got to be focused around it. Cause that you are doing, which can then lead to a sense of community and therefore a loyal audience and engagement, which helps everyone bit of a long way of describing this.

But that was a real revelation for me, reading that book. If you want to read it as well, Seth Godin and it’s called tribes,

there has been so much in this episode. Once again, I hope you have found it useful. I’m going to be gearing up. Future shows to be more around that whole point of how can you and I compete with big podcasters I’m going to carry on the same journey.

I’m going to be sharing those tips with you and more on social media as well, rather than just documenting what I’m doing. And I hope you will find a lot of in quotes value from that stuff that helps you, but also gives you a story that you can follow along with as well.

Don’t forget. Describe if you haven’t already on social media, it’s hit podcast 2020. That’s hit podcast 2020 on both Twitter and on Instagram, I’m doing updates almost every single day on those different platforms, also on Facebook as well.

And, um, I’m going to end on that phrase. The one that I always like to end on, and it is this, and there is 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 be making one by the end of the year, 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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