One of the most overlooked and underrated benefits of creating a podcast is that it gives you the ability to get “access to influence” —fast.
…Especially when you realize that a hidden metric in iTunes actually gives you a secret advantage over any other type of media, but we’ll talk about that in just a bit.
If you know how to turn access into opportunity, it means you can get an almost immediate return on investment by starting a podcast now, since starting a podcast is extremely cheap, most of the investment is your time.
I started my podcast, Bacon Wrapped Business with Brad Costanzo: Sizzling Hot Business Advice Guaranteed To Make You Fat…Profits!, in June of 2014—but if I knew how powerful it would be, I would have started it much sooner.
Today, I’ll be sharing…
- How to use the currency of access to buy opportunity…
- 4 ways to book influential guests on your podcast…
- How to format your interview for best opportunity…
- A business-to-business case study on how to get high-profile B2B prospect meetings with c-suite execs
I’ve found that one of the biggest reasons people don’t start a podcast is because they feel it will take a long time to build any type of real audience that will make it worth their time.
Let’s start by debunking that myth…
You Don’t Need a Big Audience to Have a Highly Successful Podcast
But how do you book influential guests unless you have a successful show?
Remember the hidden metric in iTunes I mentioned earlier?
It’ll be your new best friend as you launch your podcast.
Visit someone’s YouTube channel, Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, or LinkedIn profile and you’ll instantly see how many subscribers, views, fans, and followers they have. It’s right out there for the world to see.
Visit someone’s podcast on iTunes, and you’ll see it’s currently not possible for anyone besides the host to see how many downloads or subscribers you have. (Not even the host knows how many actual “subscribers” they have.)
This drives potential sponsors crazy, and it might seem like a flaw in iTunes, but it’s actually something that can help you, especially when you’re first starting out.
Because as long as you have a reasonable number of quality episodes available (which you can load all at once), a handful of reviews, and good branding, your podcast will give the appearance of prominence to potential guests.
The only publicly available statistics are the number of episodes you have published and the number of reviews your show has.
Launch your podcast correctly—by generating buzz and getting your audience excited, and you’ll be ready for success right out the gate.
IMPORTANT: At no point should you lie about your success or downloads. You’re simply baiting the hook to catch the big fish.
As you continue to book A-List guests, your podcast will grow in both subscribers and downloads giving your guests the exposure they deserve.
This simple iTunes advantage is the number one reason you shouldn’t wait to launch your podcast.
When I started my podcast, I immediately had some of the most influential names in business and digital marketing as guests on Bacon Wrapped Business With Brad Costanzo.
As a host, I’ve never once been asked how big my audience is by a prospective guest, even when I was just starting out.
Currently, each show receives thousands of downloads, but it took a while to get it to this point and I got access to big guests BEFORE I had a successful podcast.
How to Use the Currency of Access to Buy the Potential for Opportunity
Whether you’re a business owner or sales professional, access to the right people at the right time can…
- save your business
- scale your business
- help you conquer your quota
Other entrepreneurs have made gaining access to influence their core business model and have made a fortune at it.
For instance, my friend, Joe Polish runs a $25,000 mastermind called Genius Network. He’s known as one of the most connected entrepreneurs you’ll ever meet. And Joe has three podcasts:
How about Jordan Harbinger, host of The Art of Charm podcast who also teaches people how to build social capital.
Do you think that having his show has opened doors he could never get on his own?
When you establish a platform (like a podcast) where your core activity is asking people questions about their life or business, you will uncover all types of opportunity to add value to them.
When you add value to them, even if it’s simple exposure on your show, you build a positive relationship that can last a lifetime, or help you connect the dots to closing a lucrative business deal.
4 Ways to Book Influential Guests on Your Podcast
So…how you do get the big fish on your show?
Sorry, were you expecting some neuro-persuasive tactics here?
A podcast has an advantage over a blog. It’s hosted on iTunes and carries the weight of the Apple brand. Even though it’s as easy to publish a podcast on iTunes as it is a book on Amazon, it has a degree of prestige and search engine prominence (more on this in a minute).
That’s one advantage—here’s another one: Have you ever been asked to be interviewed? Has anyone requested you share your advice, insight, or story with them and their audience?
If so, you know it feels good. It’s automatic validation and it’s typically an honor. It feels this way to everyone (unless they’re so famous they’re sick of it and don’t need the publicity).
These days, personal branding is paramount for most business people and creating a positive reputation is critical whether you’re an entrepreneur, executive, or even a job seeker. Thus, the prestige of a listing in iTunes that ranks high in Google when people search your name is a real benefit.
That’s advantage number two.
Thirdly, many guests may have something to share or promote and can use some free publicity. Since potential guests don’t know how influential you are, they can either accept your request, ignore it at the peril of lost publicity, or risk offending you by asking how many listeners you have before accepting.
The trick, of course, is in how you approach them.
There are four basic methods you can use.
1. Directly Reaching Out Via Email or Social Media
Here’s another example of just how easy it can be to get very high-profile guests to accept your requests.
I had just finished reading an amazing book by Jesse Itzler called Living with A Seal. Jesse is a high-profile serial entrepreneur who co-founded Marquis Jets and sold it to NetJets, co-founded Zico Coconut Water and sold it to Coke, married the founder of Spanx, Sara Blakely, and is now co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks NBA team.
Finishing the book in one sitting, I immediately knew I wanted to speak to him. Fortunately, I saw the following post from my friend and fellow podcaster, Ed O’Keefe, the same day.
Here’s how difficult it was to get an hour with a guest like Jesse:
Ed’s original post is below…In this case, using the power of social media and a super simple request where I didn’t even mention the name of the podcast, it got me an instant “yes.”
My show was already a big hit at this time, but Jesse didn’t know that and he was gracious enough to accept. You can listen to my interview with Jesse here.
I was a little lucky in this situation, but it shows you how easy it can be to access influence.
Here’s a more typical example of how I reach out to high-profile guests:
I recently read a bestselling book called Rocket Fuel by Mark C. Winters and Gino Wickman. I wanted to interview the author and I didn’t have an immediate connection to him.
I found him on LinkedIn, sent a connection request, and sent him the following message:
As you can see, it was immediately and effortlessly accepted. Mark and I had a wonderful interview and remain in contact to this day.
2. Asking for or Receiving Referrals
You’ll be surprised at how many referrals you’ll get from friends and even current or past guests when you ask them who might be willing to share their story or insights with you.
This works especially well when you ask your interviewee who they know who might be able to provide some great insight or value to your show.
Often, I’ll ask my guests who their business mentors are or for people they know and really respect who might like to share their story with me.
3. Interview Connection Services
One method you can use to get guests is by working with a service that connects podcasts and guests for you.
Whether you need to be on someone else’s show or you need to get a high-profile guest on yours, sometimes these services can be a great shortcut for a small investment.
Two former guests of my own podcast have such a service. Esther Kiss is a highly sought after connector who’s worked with very high-profile stars. There’s also Tom Schwab who created Interview Valet. While these aren’t the only high-quality services out there, both Esther and Tom have created excellent results for their clients.
4. Accepting Guest Requests
Once you establish your podcast and yourself as a host with great guests, you’ll start to receive emails and requests from people looking for exposure or from services, such as Esther’s and Tom’s, mentioned above.
Now the ball is in your court to accept or reject potential guests.
It’s a great problem to have.
How to Conduct Great Interviews That Open Up Opportunity
An entire post could (and should) be written about this topic, but the best advice I can give is for you to interview people you have an authentic curiosity about, so you’ll be engaged and conversational. Rapport will happen naturally from there.
My basic format for conducting guest interviews is the following:
- A brief introduction of the guest and why you invited them on the show.
- Some small talk to get things started.
- An overview of the guest’s backstory.
- What they’re working on now.
- What advice they would have for your listeners.
- A few follow-up questions.
- Ask how you can help them. This adds real value to the process. Questions I like to ask include:
- What’s a nut you’re trying to crack right now?
- Who’s someone you want to meet?
- What’s a skill you want to acquire?
- What’s a problem you’re trying to solve?
- What can I or my listeners help you with?
- A brief wrap-up.
For me, #7 is my favorite part. I call it the “nut-cracking question” because this is where I get to find out what problems they’re trying to find solutions for, so I can potentially add value to them after we close the interview.
This particular question has created some very lucrative opportunities for me to either help them directly or has led to a valuable introduction.
So, at this point, you’re probably sold on the idea of the podcast, but…
What if you don’t sell something to the masses? What if you sell a very high-service or software to a very specific type of businessperson or executive? What if you only need 5-10 clients (or fewer) per year to make your quota?
Will this still work for you?
B2B Case Study: How to Get High-Profile Business-to-Business Prospect Meetings With C-Suite Execs
One of my personal clients is an executive leadership consultant in a very technical industry and her clients are all C-suite executives who run billion-dollar companies.
We have employed this strategy to help her open doors with these hard-to-reach prospects by creating an “industry insights” type of podcast that focuses solely on people in her field.
The goal is to identify the people who would make terrific clients and instead of prospecting for their business, she will prospect them as a guest on her new show, thus getting to ask many of the same discovery questions she would typically ask during a sales appointment.
Using this method gives her a side-door into high-value relationships.
The strategy was first to create the show and load 15 starter episodes with her talking about the state of the industry and establishing herself as the expert. Then, she invited former clients and colleagues to be interviewed and create content that will represent what she wants to talk about when she invited her first high-value guests.
It’s working very well if you measure success by the number of ideal prospects she’s having deep and probing conversations with that may turn into clients.
She has interviewed over a dozen executives that may turn into clients with the type of follow-up she is now doing with them. This entire process took about one month to set up and she’s never had such an easy (or fun) time getting in front of her prospects.
She is becoming a recognized industry leader—and in a very short time.
(I’m withholding the name of her show to ensure that it does not lose any effectiveness in a Google search).
Instead of always scrambling to make connections and prove your worth, your podcast can open doors that were once closed—giving you instant access to the thought leaders that can dramatically change the trajectory of your business and success.