Like most people at the end of a year, I sat down in late December of 2020 and began to write my new year’s resolutions, which always include professional goals. One of them, seemingly innocuous at the time, was to appear as a guest on at least ten podcasts in 2021. I was already a pseudo thought leader in the B Corp ecosystem, but I was confident this would help me continue to build my personal brand, so I included it on the list.
As luck would have it, I saw a picture of my old friend Mike Morris in my LinkedIn feed. He had appeared on a podcast called Chat With Leaders and I quickly clicked and listened to it. “I don’t know who this host is, but he is great and I want on this podcast.” Mike quickly connected us and there was an instant connection. After the recording session concluded, Jeff Bond, the podcast host, asked me if there were more leaders like me in the B Corp space.
As I started sending connection emails and lining up guests, Jeff finally asked me the question, “Why don’t you host this podcast?” I had never thought about it, but he was right–I have personal relationships with all of these people and my own unique way of folksy, aw shucks likeability. One year and some 20+ podcasts later, I thought it made sense to share the things I’ve learned with individuals and companies thinking about launching a podcast.
Like any strategic decision, you need to figure out your why. Why am I launching a podcast? What are the goals? How will this help me grow my brand or my business or both? From there, you can reverse engineer your strategy to get you to those goals.
Before we started formally working together, Jeff sent me a text about a great book he had read. When book recommendations come from people I respect, I read them. I have discovered a lot of great books (and life lessons) this way. And James Carbary’s Content Based Marketing is at the top of this list. In it, Carbary lays out the importance (and value) of using your podcast as a relationship building tool that drives brand recognition and bottom line results.
As I took over and found my voice as a host, I began employing the book’s strategies for B The Change Georgia podcast. Instead of booking only friends and long-time connections, I began reaching out to acquaintances and people I admired doing work in, or around, the B Corp ecosystem. Those guests have connected me to their connections, expanded my network, grown the B Corp community, and even led to clients for my consulting business, Profitable Purpose Consulting.
Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish and build your strategy around that.
Shine The Spotlight
There is a great scene in the movie Good Will Hunting where Sean Maguire, played by the late Robin Williams, is arguing with Professor Lambeau about the progress of Matt Damon’s character, Will Hunting. Maguire screams at Lambeau, “It’s not about you, it’s about the boy!”
Well, the same is true when you’re hosting your podcast. Yes, you can jump in. Yes, you can ask follow up questions. But the spotlight should never stray from your guest. Your podcast exists to give them the stage, to amplify their voice, to give them incredible content to share.
If people want to hear my opinion, they can–I hit my 2021 goal and ended up appearing on almost 20 podcasts. But I book my guests because they have a story to share, wisdom to bestow, and a gift to give my audience.
Remember one of Robin Williams’ greatest characters–it’s not about you.
Get Better as a Podcast Host
Anyone who has played sports knows the importance of watching game tape to see what they did right, what they did wrong, and how they can improve their performance. You should be doing the same as a podcast host (or guest).
When I first appeared on Jeff’s podcast, I was blown away by his radio voice, his cadence, his ability to raise and lower his inflection points to drive home an important point. I quickly realized this wasn’t some great gift he was born with (well, maybe the radio voice was), but rather it was the culmination of a lot of hard work and a commitment to continuous improvement.
I listen to every single podcast I host or appear on. What filler words did I use? Um, I kind of like didn’t sound that polished, you know? Reviewing my game tape has allowed me to get rid of filler words, avoid rambling, and better articulate my points and communicate my questions. If you’re getting into podcasting, go all in and strive to become the best you can be.
Hire a Podcast Production Company
B The Change Georgia wasn’t my first go at hosting a podcast. In fact, I had attempted to start a transatlantic podcast, Impact vs. Profit, with a colleague in France. We featured guests from around the world, meeting some incredible changemakers, and recording some wonderful conversations. What we quickly realized was that neither of us had the time or the skillset to put out a polished, professional podcast. Unfortunately, we never did anything with those episodes.
Hiring a podcast production company was the best decision I ever made. Working with Chat with Leaders Media is simple and turnkey–my only task is the agreement to appear. After that, Jeff and his team schedule planning and recording calls, while also prepping questions for both sessions. All I have to do is show up with my spotlight to shine on my guest. On the backend, they handle all of the editing, content creation, and promotional materials (and even the communication with the guest).
If you’re serious about launching a quality, strategy-driven podcast, you need to find a good podcast production company to do the heavy lifting. Trust me, you will thank yourself.