Almost the day you want to start a podcast you get stuck with an important strategic decision.
Should you do an interview-based podcast or should you create your own content? Most aspiring podcasters don’t think about this decision too much. They instinctively know the interview podcast is a more expedient choice. It’s hard enough to turn out 500 words on a blog, let alone trying to fill in about 20-60 minutes of a podcast.
So they opt for the interview podcast option, but there are times when you’re well down the road and you’ll wonder: Did I make the right decision? Well, here’s your answer.
The three kaboom reasons why interview podcasts are a great idea
Reason 1: Contacts
Reason 2: Content
Reason 3: Continuity
Reason 1: Contacts
You know my “I was a cartoonist” story, right? Well, there were all these folks who were already big names, and some giants in the field. But you know what? Everyone can do with some good publicity. Even if you have a teensy list of 100 people, those are 100 people who can talk to 100 people. And if you’re in business, you realise the importance of reaching out to an audience.
Which is why even though the Internet is awash with interviews, there’s still a very good chance of getting to a big name. And this is someone who’d normally not have much time for you. Yet, the moment you talk about interviewing her or him, you have that person’s attention.
I spoke to Jack Trout, author of super-bestselling book, “Positioning”.
I got to speak to Emmy award winner, Jerry Day. Gina Bianchini (who was the CEO of Ning). That interview with Gina took ages, and Ning was huge, almost like an early Facebook. I also spoke to Lynda Weinman, from Lynda.com.
And in the midst of all this name dropping, I also met with a few people who then went to become very successful but were at the fringe, just like me. Remember I was still mostly wearing my cartoonist hat to work, even though I was desperately trying to be a marketer.
These contacts didn’t stop at the phone level
Once I’d made contact with them, I went on to meet several of these people over dinner or lunch on my travels. We’ve kept in touch, we’re Facebook friends—imagine that. And it all started with a tiny little interview. You may not consider an interview to be a big deal, but it’s a big doorway to a splendid network.
And friendship, may I add
You become friends if you really are interested in the other person. After the call, I’ll express my thanks. I’ll send a postcard. I’ll send chocolate. I genuinely want to keep in touch. The interviewee has spent so much time with me. Time they’ll never get back. I want to express my intense gratitude. What’s more is that when you’re kind and courteous and not just thinking about yourself, you become what humans aspire for.
Let me rant a bit here for a while
I’ve been on many interviews over the years, and I’ve been at the receiving end of two types of interviewers. The first is the professional. They do their homework. They are the best kind and it’s not hard to remember them because they work hard at it. They may not always be polished, but you can feel that enthusiasm and research.
Then there are those who are those who join some podcast membership site, pay hundreds of dollars, but hey, you can’t buy hard work and class, can you? If you seek to be professional, do your homework and make the effort to say thanks and keep in touch, your network will expand exponentially! It’s hard to think of a way to spend a solid hour with a hero, or even a peer, get their undivided attention and still create a network. That alone should be enough to do an interview. But wait, there’s more.
Reason 2: Content
You know how most of us wish we could speed-read? Being with an author on a call is like speed-listening. Or rather, speed-understanding. No matter how many times you’ve read a book, or listened to the content, it’s almost always a completely different experience when you hear it being explained by the creator of the information. If you really listen and follow the thread you’ll find that you’re being given a first class education in an hour or less.
Not all interviewers listen and it’s not all because of pomposity
There are those interviewers that keep interrupting, keep telling their own stories and they never really listen. However, even if you’re a beginner, and you’re super-nervous, all you really have to do is prepare,(see the last post on preparation) ask the questions, and then listen.
Of course the bigger reason for the interview type of podcast is that you don’t have to create your own content. Creating content can be a pretty full-on project. The Three Month Vacation podcast that I present every week is just 20 minutes long, but takes approximately 8 hours to produce. About an hour to outline, three hours to script, an hour to two hours to record and edit.
And then about a hour or two for the music and any additional bits that have to be added on
I’m a crazy guy, so this extra work suits me just fine. Even so, it’s a fair bit of pressure to keep turning out content based podcasts. I thought I was putting in a ton of work until I realised that some content-based podcasts take months of research, travel and production to put a single episode together.
An interview-based podcast can still involve a ton of work, but nowhere as much as a content-based podcast. There’s a clear upside when you can create content without having to dream it up all by yourself.
Reason 3: Continuity
If you’re going to put in all the energy to start a podcast, you may as well keep it going. I made that mistake of starting and stopping and it was a mistake. How do I know it was a mistake? A few months after we re-started the podcast, we started seeing an uptick in sales. The membership site at 5000bc saw a regular flow of new members. Instead of having to send out sales letters and any kind of promotions, all we needed to do was talk about 5000bc on the podcast. And lo and behold, the membership went up steadily.
But what has all of this got to do with podcasting?
It’s hard work to keep getting new content all the time for your podcast, and if you want continuity, you may as well do interview-based podcasts. If it’s a weekly show you can record a month’s worth of sessions in a single day. Add another few days of your time and you have three months of content ready to go.
This leaves us with only one problem: How do you find the guests for your podcast? Let’s cover it in the next episode.
P.S. To start at the very beginning and work your way through the Podcasting 101 Series click here: How To Start A Podcast