Episode 97:

Rob Walch was inducted into the Podcasting Hall of Fame in 2016. Rob is the Vice President of Podcaster Relations for Libsyn (LSYN) having joined Libsyn in 2007. Prior to joining Libsyn, he founded podCast411, Inc in 2004. Rob is Co-Author of the book “Tricks of the Podcasting Masters” in 2006, an editors pick as a Top 10 Reference book for 2006 by Amazon.com. Rob was listed as the 5th most influential person in podcasting according to the book “Podcasting for Dummies” Wiley Press 2005. He has consulted on podcasting for Jack Welch, Senator Edwards, Governor Bill Richardson, Noah Shanok (Stitcher), Tim Ferriss, Dr. Mark Hyman, and the Sacramento Kings/Monarchs to name just a few. He is also a monthly columnist for Podertainment: The Podcast Magazine. Rob is a member of the IAB Podcasting Working groups.

Rob started podcasting in 2004, and is the host of the award-winning podCast411 podcast, where he has interviewed such prominent podcasters as Quincy Jones, Walt Mossberg, Colin Ferguson (Eureka), Ronald Moore (Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica), Phil Gordon (World Series of Poker), Larry Kudlow (CNBCs Kudlow and Company), and Leo Laporte (TechTV, G4 TV). Additionally, Rob is host of Today in iOS (iPhone) Podcast, the first and largest podcast about the iPhone and also the KC Startup 411 podcast which covers the Kansas City Startup scene.

Since 2004 Rob has presented at well over 100 events about podcasting.

 

 

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • How Rob moved podcasting from his hobby to his career
  • The biggest and most important trends in podcasting
  • Why you should record a couple podcasts before you release your first one — but not so many that you never release one
  • The importance of having a way for your podcast listeners to contact you
  • Editing: an absolute must when it comes to podcasting
  • How many downloads the average podcast gets and how many downloads you need to make money
  • Different ways to monetize your podcast
  • How often to release an episode
  • Why you should never release an episode if it’s not ready
  • How to find great guests
  • Why you should edit out when a guest goes into full sales mode
  • The things you must do for your guests as a host
  • Why you shouldn’t ask the same questions to every guest
  • The mistake podcasters make when they feel indebted to their guests instead of their audience
  • How to start being a guest on podcasts you like
  • Why your podcast has to be about what you’re interested in regardless of whether that is popular or not
  • Why podcasts are much better than blogs

 

The Golden Nugget:

“You’re indebted to your audience, not your guest. If you have a bad interview, don't air it.” – @podcast411 Click To Tweet

 

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Speaker 1:

If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too? Welcome to Agency Management Institute’s Build a Better Agency podcast presented by HubSpot. We’ll show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you, please welcome your host, Drew McClellan.

Drew McClellan:

Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Build a Better Agency. I am Drew McClellan, your host, and I am excited selfishly and for your sake to talk to our guest today. Let me tell you a little bit about him. So Rob Walch is the vice president of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn. And if you’re not familiar with what Libsyn is, it’s probably the best known, and in my opinion, the most complete podcast hosting and publishing service out there. It’s certainly one of the tools that we use here at Build a Better agency. Rob was actually inducted into the podcasting hall of fame in 2016 and he joined Libsyn in 2007. Prior to that, he founded the podcast podCast411 or he founded the company podCast411 Inc. in ’04.

He’s the co-author of the book Tricks of the Podcasting Masters. He has gotten all kinds of accolades. That book was chosen as a top reference book around podcasting by amazon.com. He was listed as the fifth most influential person in podcasting according to the book, Podcasting For Dummies, and he’s consulted with a few people who you might recognize, people like Jack Welsh and Senator Edwards and Tim Ferris and all kinds of other folks. He’s a monthly columnist, and of course, as you might imagine he puts together a quite a podcast series. So he’s the host of today in IOS, so iPhone podcast. He also does the Kansas City startup podcast kcstartup411.com. And Rob is traveling all over the globe, talking to people about podcasting and how to do it well, and the benefits of podcasting. So Rob, welcome to the podcast.

Rob Walch:

Drew, thanks for having me on the show.

Drew McClellan:

You keep busy, it looks like, based on the introduction. It sounds like there’s not a lot of spare time in your day.

Rob Walch:

No, my spare time is spent podcasting.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. I think that-

Rob Walch:

My job and my hobby.

Drew McClellan:

So what drew you to podcasting to begin with?

Rob Walch:

I was looking for a hobby. I had one of those jobs where you traveled five out of six weeks all around the world, and I just finished my MBA at UConn and I had this free time in the evening when I was traveling and I just needed a hobby. It was really that simple. I was just looking for something else to do.

Drew McClellan:

So this was your version of like the Ham Radio?

Rob Walch:

Yeah, exactly.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

[crosstalk 00:03:05] and it was like, [yeah 00:03:06]. I was one of those annoying people that would call in the radio station every morning to the point where they’d give you the back door number so you could call in and get around all the busy signals. We had a joke. But I had an uncle who owned a radio your station who told me when I was… This is what I did when I was in high school. And he told me, “Whatever you do, don’t get into radio.” So I went and became an engineer instead, but I always liked the radio and I always liked the idea of talking on the air and that. So when podcasting came around, I was like, “Oh, well, I can make this just a hobby and have some fun.” And hobby soon became career.

Drew McClellan:

And boy, what a trajectory podcasting is on. It’s amazing when I look at the stats of how many people are listening to podcasts and how people are using podcasts. What are the trends that you are seeing in terms of the popularity and the usage of podcasts?

Rob Walch:

Well, I think the biggest trend, what we saw over the last few year, was the trend to the smartphone consumption, where a few years, five years ago, it was like 35% consumption on a smartphone, now it’s 86%.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

But ironically, the amount of downloads to computers has not changed over that period of time. It’s just that smartphone consumption has gone up to the point where it’s now 86. So the growth really has all been about the smartphone. I know a lot of people go, “Oh, it’s Serial.” No, it wasn’t Serial. Serial came out at the right time. That was when iOS 8 became native in iOS… the podcast app became native in iOS 8 and Serial came out a couple months later, but podcasting made Serial, Serial didn’t make podcasting. It really was about iOS 8 making that podcast app native. That really was a takeoff point or an inflection point, I guess you would say.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. I think everybody basically carries the device in their pocket that allows them to access it all the time. I hear from listeners all the time who say, “Oh, you’re my morning walk companion, or you’re my treadmill buddy,” or whatever it is. But it seems like the phone has all of a sudden opened up a lot of doors that make podcasting very mainstream now. It’s not really a fringe thing anymore. It’s pretty darn mainstream. In fact, I just read a statistic that about how many podcasts or how many hours of podcasts people consume in a week and it really floored me.

Rob Walch:

Well, it’s the only medium for consuming content audio that’s multitask. So you can multitask. And podcasting makes it easy to find the audio to consume when you want to consume it, not when you have to consume it, like with radio. So I think that’s the bigger differentiation there. And unlike video and blogs where you can’t really watch a video or read a blog when you’re driving your car or when you’re at work. Well, you can, but you’ll get fired if you do it all day long.

Drew McClellan:

Sure. Right.

Rob Walch:

Or you crash your car. What you can do with a podcast is sit there and listen to it all day long. You can listen to it while you’re driving your car, you can listen to it while you’re working out, walking the dog, doing yard work. So it just gives people more opportunity in the day to consume your content, if you’re a content creator by making it available as audio.

Drew McClellan:

So you at Libsyn, you see, and I’m sure, a ton of podcasts. What are some of the best practices or on the flip side, the mistakes that if somebody is thinking about starting a podcast, and we’ll talk about the reasons why someone might do that in a minute, but if somebody wants to go down that road and create a podcast, what are some of the best practices that you are seeing that are growing up with the channel?

Rob Walch:

Well, I think the best practice is get a couple under your belt before you’re at least out to the world. Don’t even release them but just figure out the technology. I think, you can release out the gate to the world one episode, you don’t have to have 10.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

But you need to practice a couple before you release that first one. All too often, people worry about the wrong thing. Like, “Is this mic recording?” And they’re worrying about all the things they shouldn’t be worrying about when they should be worrying about the content. So the best practices that I see are people that have taken the time to really concentrate on the content that they’re presenting and got the tech worked out ahead of time. So when they come out the gate, they have something interesting to say and not like, “Oh, how do I sound? [inaudible 00:07:37] sound good? Let me know.” Assume you sound good and move on.

Drew McClellan:

Well, and the practice will test the technology side as well, but it gets you comfortable initiating and having the… It’s like you wouldn’t open a bakery with your very first pie.

Rob Walch:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

If you’re going to do an interview podcast, interview your friend, interview your cousin, interview your kids, your spouse and throw them away.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

And then, do the real one and get that out. Now, on the flip side, people, we call them free pre-faders. They go too much onto this and they will wait, “Oh, I’m not going to release until I get 10 episodes done.” And they never get 10 episodes done and they never release. So they just spend all this money, they actually get the equipment, they get the hosting, and they never actually launch the show. And I think that’s even a bigger mistake. You need to get those out there and have a calling number. Every podcast should have a calling number, should have an email address, someplace where people can easily get contact and feedback to you, because it is a feedback loop.

You want to get that feedback. You want to hear what people have to say about your show, what they like, what they don’t like, and you don’t have to take every piece of feedback to heart, but you should look at the trend. If everybody’s saying, you really need to lock your door and keep your dog out of there because he’s snoring in the background, get the pug off your lap because he’s snoring, you might want to get the pug off your lap.

Drew McClellan:

Right. What are some other… because as you were talking, I was thinking back to when I launched mine and you’re right there, I left a lot of it on the floor in the beginning. And then was finally like, “Okay, I have a handful of episodes that I think are rock solid. So now it’s time to get out the door and I’ll learn as I go.” But I won’t learn and I won’t stay committed to it if I haven’t made the commitment and hit the publish button.

Rob Walch:

Your best practices, another one would be editing.

Drew McClellan:

Yes.

Rob Walch:

Too people don’t edit. They’ll do an interview with somebody and they leave all the um, uhs, you knows, gaffs, “Hey, let me restart that,” knocks out the door, phone call rings. They’ll leave all that stuff in, very long pregnant pauses. They’ll leave those in where they should have edited them out. And especially if you’re doing an interview podcast, if you edit the person you interview, you make them sound brilliant and let them know that you’re going to edit and make them sound brilliant. They’re a lot more likely to promote that interview than the one they came on, and they’re not used to talking, and you’re the first one interviewing this person. And he says you know 50 times and he goes back, he starts listening to it and he goes, “Oh, I sound like an idiot.” [crosstalk 00:10:18] he thinks he sounds like an idiot, zero chance he will ever promote that.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. That’s a really good point. I guess it never occurred to me… This is my naivete… that people don’t edit them. So it must be the ones that I listen to and I consume quite a few, but they must all do the editing. So, even as the host, I would be horrified if we put an unedited version out and I didn’t sound as crisp and sharp as I wanted to.

Rob Walch:

Well, there’s some people that promote hit record, hit stop, post.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Okay. I’m going to vote no on that.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. There’s people who promote that and I’m like, “Nah, yeah. There’s some people that can do lie, can do that, and get away with that.” They’re really good and they have good hosts that are articulate and used to speaking. But most people aren’t that good live and their guests aren’t either.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. That to me is the equivalent of brushing your hair without looking in the mirror and then just heading out.

Rob Walch:

Well, it’s a churn and turn, whatever you call it, mentality, where they just want to churn out as many as they can in the shortest period of time. And the way to do that is not edit.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

Yes. You do. You turn out a lot of episodes, which all get 12 downloads.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

Hey, no offense to the guy that’s getting 12 downloads, it’s really doing the work. But there are people that could be getting a lot more downloads if they put a little bit of work into it.

Drew McClellan:

I just saw some statistics that you guys had released speaking of downloads. What should someone expect if they produce a podcast? What is the range of cutting off the outliers who are getting millions of downloads? But for the average Joe, who has a podcast around a specific subject or topic, so they’ve got a narrow audience. They’re not talking to everyone in the world. What’s reasonable in terms of downloads and what’s what should be considered air quote, success?

Rob Walch:

Okay. So the median number. So when we look at this median number of downloads, and this is based on, the episodes on an average are 45 days old. So when we look at the median number of downloads across our network, it is about 200. It was like 212, I think the most recent month. So half the episodes release had less than 212 and half had more than 212. So that’s the median. Now, when we start getting into the averages, those numbers go up, because it shows skew things. Now, what I always like to say is, if you hit 500 downloads on an episode, that’s definitely in the area of success because now you’ve broken away from friends, family, and anybody you’ve ever known, and you’ve broken into new audience members. People that had no idea who you were, they’re discovering you because of your podcast, they’re listening to you for the first time.

Most people, that 500 number is what I would consider a success. Now, if we get into the average number, that average number, and I call it an adjusted average, where I take those half percenters, the Joe Rogans, the Marc Marons, the Nerdist Dan Carlins. I throw those folks out, the top half percent and I take anything three or less out. Then the average is around 2500 to 3000.

Drew McClellan:

Okay.

Rob Walch:

So if you get up in those numbers, then you really are successful. And if you get above 5000, you’ve broken into the top 10% of shows. And that’s where you can start looking at monetization. I was recently at social media marketing world, and I was speaking, and I asked the audience, 70, 80 people in the room and I said, “How many people in here are not yet podcasting, but get ready to podcast and they plan to monetize via advertising?” And over half the hands went up, and I was shocked and I was like, “Okay, runaway.”

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

Most people aren’t going to make money through advertising the podcast. Now, if you have a niche, you can monetize through your niche and it’s usually more kind of a sponsorship than a true on advertising, Harry’s razors or Warby Parker. That’s an advertisement. And you might get a sponsorship if you say, have a cigar aficionado podcast. You have a podcast about cigars and and a Humidor manufacturer comes to you. They could do a sponsorship where the sponsor shall pay you more than a quote unquote CPM rate for your audience because 100% of your thousand listeners may stay on that cigar podcast, there’s going to be 100% hit rate for interest in their product.

And you talk about agencies and you look at your clients, don’t look about how big the show gets you. You got to look at if your show is niche or topical based? Does it hit 100% think psychographics? Not demographics.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Right.

Rob Walch:

It’s what I like to say. And podcasting is a really good way to do that. Don’t think of it so much as radio. A lot of people like to think of podcasting like radio. Think of it more as an audio magazine because a lot of them are niche based.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. That’s a good distinction. But when you think about monetizing the podcast, one of the things that I talk to agency owners about, because I think for an agency that has a niche, they serve a certain industry, or they have depth of expertise around a certain audience, whether it’s millennials or a certain ethnic group or whatever it may be, there’s incredible power and value in the podcast and there’s lots of ways to monetize it. So for some of them having their perspective, the people that they would like to have as clients, honest guests is a great way to open the door. My friend, Stephen Woessner, who produces the podcast Onward Nation, when they talk to their clients who by the way in full disclosure is who produces my podcast, but he talks about it as the Trojan horse of selling and that it’s a way to get in the door with prospects who normally wouldn’t take your call but they’re happy to be your guest, and all of a sudden you have an opportunity to create a relationship with them. That’s a great way to monetize your podcast.

Rob Walch:

Oh, absolutely. John Jantsch, Duct Tape Marketing will tell you that.

Drew McClellan:

Yep.

Rob Walch:

He’s talked about it that it opened up so many doors for him and got him in front of all the people that he wanted to have as clients and talk with and… Absolutely, that is a great way to… I would say this, that’s probably the best way to monetize a podcast-

Drew McClellan:

Right. One client is more than a sponsor would ever pay you, right?

Rob Walch:

Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, you talk about not just Duct Tape Marketing, but Manager Tools is another one where they did the same thing and they got clients and they were charging four times their rate a couple years after launching their podcast, their hourly rate than they were charging before, and they were sold out, and they were having to raise the rate because they were sold out even at that point. So yeah, podcasting is a great connection tool.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. And another way to monetize your podcast is, if you have a book that you’re selling, or you sell workshops, or you’ve got an online course, again, creating thought leadership around all of that. So just because you can’t sell ads or you can’t sell a sponsorship because your audience isn’t wide enough or deep enough to make those numbers, well, it doesn’t mean you can’t make money doing your podcast, right?

Rob Walch:

Right. I mean, you could have a 250 listeners to your podcast to make more money than a show with 25,000.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

If you got the right 250.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

There’s a podcast out there, the SwineCast, which is about reaching out to professional pig farmers.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. That one I have not caught yet. I’m going to have to check that out.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. John Blue’s been doing SwineCast, oh, 11 years, I think roughly.

Drew McClellan:

Wow.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. Long time.

Drew McClellan:

But to your point is, for most of the world, probably that’s not a podcast they’re going to down the load, but for the people that care about that topic, there’s probably not a lot of great resources around that topic, so that would make him incredibly valuable.

Rob Walch:

Correct.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. So if people are thinking about doing a podcast, what is the right cadence? So some people have a podcast every day of the week, some people have a podcast once a week, once a month. What do you guys see in terms of… Again, you have access to so much data. What do you see as the most successful model?

Rob Walch:

The most successful podcasts are the ones that release on the cadence that they can maintain So-

Drew McClellan:

Right. If you’re going to a make a promise, keep [a 00:18:50] promise.

Rob Walch:

Well, it is not even that, it’s when you can release good content, that’s the most important. Anyway, releasing consistently good content. After you get away from that, then it’s weekly, then weekly comes into play. But you don’t even have to be on a regular release schedule. Common Sense Dan Carlin and Hardcore History Dan Carlin are released on a whatever schedule, and he gets 5 to 10 million listeners for his Hardcore History podcast, which is once a quarter and close to a million for Common Sense, which is once a month, roughly. And who knows when in the month it’s going to be?

If you have great content, your audience will come back. It’s really that simple. Now, if you’re trying to grow and get up to that point, releasing once a week is an ideal thing, but remember this, don’t release on Monday at 11:30 AM, because the last you always release at 11:30, if you come around to that Monday and your show’s not ready, you are better to delay an episode and release it when it’s right than to release it right now, is a bad episode, because one bad episode will destroy months of work.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

People will be like, “Why am I listening to this? This is horrible.” A good email is, “Hey, when are you releasing the episode? I’m waiting for it.” A bad email is, “Wow. Why did you release that episode?”

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Right. Well, and I’m assuming that best practice is to be a little bit ahead so that if you have a bad episode, you are not having to decide not to release one this week, you just know you need to pick up the pace and get another one because the one that you had scheduled it for three weeks from now was a dog and you can’t release it.

Rob Walch:

Right. If you can do that, absolutely. Some people can, some people can’t. It depends on your show. If your show is Mac OS Ken, or today, an iPhone, you really can’t prerecord episodes because you’re talking about what’s going on, on the latest news.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

So you really are hand to mouth because you’re going off of news. But if you’re doing an interview show absolutely where the topic is evergreen and your content’s evergreen, you absolutely can build up a repertoire or a buffer of content so that when something happens where you get sick, the kids get sick, your host gets sick, your guest gets sick, whatever the issue might be, or your guest is just absolutely horrible, you can actually just, “Oops, sorry. That episode got corrupted. We’ll have to just skip it and move on.” And you’ve got the other one to fill in.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. I want to talk about guests and how to find good guests and how to prep them in a second. But let’s first take a quick break and then we’ll come right back. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, odds are, you’ve heard me mention the AMI peer networks or the Agency Owner network. And what that is really is that’s…. It’s like a Vistage group or an EO group, but only everybody around the table owns an agency in a non-competitive market. So it’s a membership model. They come together twice a year for two days, two days in the spring and two days in the fall, and they work together to share best practices. They show each other their full financials. So there’s a lot of accountability. We bring speakers in and we spend a lot of time problem solving around the issues that agency owners are facing.

If you’d like to learn more about it, go to agencymanagementinstitute.com/network. Okay. Let’s get back to the show. All right. Welcome back everybody. My guest today is Rob Walch, who is the VP of Podcaster Relations at Libsyn. We’ve been chatting about the benefits of podcasting and how that has become a very mainstream medium for lots of folks and the power that it has for agencies in a plethora way, thought leadership, biz dev, all kinds of things. So now what I want to do is I want to shift our focus a little bit and talk about guests. So if I’m hosting a podcast, which I obviously am, how does one vet guests and how does one prep guest, do you think? What’s your best practice recommendations so that they are good guests and tangentially, how do you keep guests from selling from the pulpit?

Rob Walch:

Editing is how you keep them selling from the pulpit. You just edit it out. So editing is going to help you on a lot with guests. Prepping questions ahead of time, doing some research on who the guest is, but initially finding a guest that actually has experience and knowledge in the area that you want them to talk about. If you find a guest that has knowledge in the area you want to talk about, they’re a great guest. If they’re not a great guest, it’s because you as the host, didn’t do your job well. And that again is prep work, figuring out some questions to ask them, and then editing them if they go into full sales mode. And like, if I was sitting here going over and over, “Hey, go to Libsyn and sign up for Libsyn. And [inaudible 00:23:50] go libsyn.com. It’s $5,” dah dah dah, over and over. And I was prepping that, you should edit that crap right out.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

And you’d edit out what I just said and people have no idea and I’d be, “See, that’s fine.” That’s your job, is to keep people from going full on sales mode, and that’s how I always felt when I did interviews. And I would. I have done that. I’ve edited people out that went in full sales mode and they were like, “Why did you take that part out?” I go, “Yeah, it just didn’t flow with the show.”

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Right. Remembering that you have the controls.

Rob Walch:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. It’s not live to air and that’s the beauty of it. So you have control to fix that. It’s like when I tell people, when you go out live to a trade show and you’re going to do an interview, you use one mic, you don’t lap the person up, you don’t give them the mic. One mic and you control it, because if you get a hold of a VP of sales and marketing at, at CES or NAB, you ain’t getting the mic back, right? And they’re going to control that conversation and that’s not what you want. You want to control the conversation. A one mic method, it works great because you can just pull the mic away from them in the middle of the sentence and go, “Let’s talk about this now.”

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

And I’ve done that for my… Today [inaudible 00:25:04] I’ve been there. I’ve pulled the mic away from so while they’re mid talking, because I was just like, “Now, you’re just selling.”

Drew McClellan:

Right. We’re going in a direction I don’t want to go.

Rob Walch:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. You have to remember you’re driving the show. And so it’s okay to take it in a different direction.

Rob Walch:

Now that’s harder in Skype obviously, in Skype interview I know, and that’s where editing comes-

Drew McClellan:

In terms of prepping, I suspect not only are you the host of many podcasts, but that you’ve been on a bazillion of them. What are some things that as a guest, because you’re looking at it with an insider’s view, what are some things as a guest that you really appreciate when the host gives you, or does, or suggests, what is helpful to you in terms of being a great guest?

Rob Walch:

One of the things you did was you said, this will be audio only. I like to know that upfront. There’s been quite a few times someone was, “Hey, let’s do the interview on Skype,” and I assume it’s audio and I get there and they go, “Oh no, we’re going to do video.” I’m like, “I work from home. I haven’t shaved in three days. It’s Wednesday. I haven’t shaved since I went to church on Sunday. I think I need to go shave. So I’ll be back in 10 minutes.” And they’re like, “What?” And I’m like, “You should have warned me.”

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

So that one right there is a big one if you’re going to do video, big, bold letters.

Drew McClellan:

Right. Yeah. That happened to me a couple weeks ago too. I was doing a webinar and I just assumed that I was going to show them my screen and that was it. And all of a sudden in the email was like… and I was on the West Coast. It was like 5:00 AM for me. So I was like, “Oh shoot. I now have to get up earlier and shower, because my hair’s not going to be presentable on a video webinar.” So I hear you on that. What else do you appreciate as a guest or what else do you do for your guests?

Rob Walch:

My guests, I let them know, “Hey, we’re going to talk about your podcast. You don’t have to prep anything, but we’re just going to talk about your podcast and your experience podcasting.” And pretty much I let them know that. And then as a host, I go and listen to at least three of their episodes. So as a host, I go back and I prep for podCast411 where I do most of my real interviews, and I do research, and I get up some custom questions to that. As a guest on shows, I like to know what I’m going to be talking about. So that you sent me over here, so what are we going to talk about? So that was nice. And you just said, “Hey, we’re going to talk about your area of expertise.”

And it let me know what I needed or didn’t need to prep for, for the interview. I don’t like when they send me, “Here’s every question we’re going to talk about. I’ve got 10 questions and these are the 10 questions I’m going to ask you, and here they are.” And I’m like, “Really? Okay. Whatever.” Yeah. And I’ve had one, [inaudible 00:27:49], “You got to tell me your favorite book, which book and the author, and you got to do this and that.” I’m like, “Okay.” And sadly, some of those shows they do the exact same questions, every guest. They don’t do any prep work.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

So they throw all the prep work on the guest and it’s exact same questions, and unfortunately some of those shows they don’t do, what’s this little thing it’s called, follow up. They don’t follow up on anything the person may have said.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

And I think that’s a huge mistake where someone will talk and they’re answering one of the canned questions and they say something in the response, well, you hear the interview and you’re like, “Why don’t you follow up on that-”

Drew McClellan:

I want to know more about that, right?

Rob Walch:

Yeah. He just talked about when he got arrested in high school and you didn’t follow up about why he got arrested or anything else. Let’s find out, was it because he was-

Drew McClellan:

And for all we know he could be talking to him from jail right now.

Rob Walch:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. I agree. I prefer the podcast that the host and the guest pull on the threads that are interesting throughout their conversation.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. I think one of my favorite interviews I ever did was with Quincy Jones. I interviewed Quincy Jones and their people said to me I have to give them the questions ahead of time. So I worked out all the questions I was going to ask. I sent them over. We got to question two and we never got to question three. We just went off on these tangents and we just started talking about whatever it was, and I was feeling bad, and they tell me, “You have 20 minutes with Mr. Jones and that’s it, not a minute more,” dah dah dah. And we’re like 35, 40 minutes in and I’m like, “Oh, I feel bad. [inaudible 00:29:23] 20 minutes.” He goes, “I’m the boss. Don’t listen to what they said.” He goes, “They work for me.” He goes, “Don’t worry about anything they told you.”

And we just went on. We had a great time and he was talking about all kinds of fun stuff and some stuff I had to edit that I couldn’t put on the air because he really went off color on some stuff. But it was a fun interview because we didn’t stay to the questions. We went off on these wild tangents and he just talked about his life and it was great, and I had fun doing the interview. And-

Drew McClellan:

You had the conversation with him that everybody listening wanted to have. And so, in my mind, as I chat with folks like you, I’m mindful of, “Okay, AI still own my own agency. So I can be my audience because I am my audience.” So when you say something interesting, I want to pull on that thread, not only for my audience, but for myself, and I think what that does then is it allows the conversation to flow in a natural way and people feel satisfied like they got their questions answered even though they came into the podcast not knowing what questions they have. In terms of vetting guests, so anybody who has expertise has the potential to be a guest, and I love your point that if they’re not a good guest, it’s more on the host than it is the guest. Are there certain types of people or certain people with certain experiences as authors or whatever it may be, that you find make better guests, or can anyone be a good podcast guest if they are across the mic from a good podcast host?

Rob Walch:

I think anyone has the potential to be a good guest. Now, true, there have been occasions where you can really get a really bad guest. I mean, I had one. There was no saving it. I mean like I said, I work out questions ahead of time. It’s usually about 20 questions. and typically on podCast411, when I did that show, it would take me minimum 30 minutes to get through the questions sometimes as long as 45 minutes, sometimes an hour. I had one guest, got through the questions in eight minutes and-

Drew McClellan:

Wow. Was it one word answers?

Rob Walch:

It was. He was basically yes or [no-ing 00:31:31] multi-choice answers. You ask him a multi-choice question, he gave me a yes or a no. It was that bad and there was nothing I could do and the interview never went up. It was so bad. But for the most part, I think every other interview I’ve done where it didn’t go well, I think I could point back to where I made a mistake, where I should have done this, I should have done that. And I tried to learn from that. And prep work, I think that’s the biggest one is, is the prep work, is getting that and having some knowledge in that area. Some of my best interviews have been ones where I’ve had people that come on and we start talking and we had interest in the same thing. We both knew similar topics and it was a podcast maybe about Star Trek, and we could talk about Star Trek, or it was a podcast about some tech podcasts where we were talking about old BBS and we could reminisce and connect on a level where I had some expertise in there.

It’s harder to do that obviously when you’re interviewing somebody on a subject matter you don’t really know much about, and that’s really where the prep work comes in, to do a little research on that. But I think as far as vetting guests, I think you have to watch out for people that are full on spammy sales mode, and you’re going to get those. If you’re good, you’re going to vet most of them out. Probably a couple will slip through, and you have to watch out how heavily they promote themselves to you. Did they come to you? I’m a coach. I’m a life coach, and this coach, or that coach. I was worried about people that came to me with the word coach in their title, because that usually told me they were going to be full on sales mode.

Drew McClellan:

Right. They’re looking for clients not looking to be a great guest.

Rob Walch:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

I just pissed off a bunch of coaches, but hey, it is what it is and there are people, I call them hyper marketers, full on hyper market [inaudible 00:33:22], and 20 years ago we would’ve said Amway, right?

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

And you got to watch out for some of those folks and yeah, it’s your job as the host to vet that, and if one gets through, oops, recording got corrupted, and it just doesn’t go out.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

I think one of the biggest mistakes people will make is feeling like they owe it to the guest to put the interview out. It’s your audience. You owe it too.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Great point.

Rob Walch:

You know what? You’re better off one guest off than a thousand audience members.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. That’s a really good point. You’re right, because somebody’s given up their time, and they’ve shared at least some level of their expertise, and it feels like an implied promise that the episode will go live.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. I mean, if you sent me an email after this and said, “Hey Rob. Sorry. It got corrupted.” I’d understand. And then move on. I wouldn’t complain, I wouldn’t go to social media and throw a tantrum. I would hope that your listeners got value out of this, and if you feel they’re not going to get value out of this interview, then don’t put it up, and it’s that simple. And I think that’s advice I give to any podcaster, is you have to protect your audience at all costs.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Right. They are the precious commodity.

Rob Walch:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the ways that people might be able to… I have a lot of agency owners who podcasting is frightening to them because of the time commitment, because of, I don’t know what guests I would get, I don’t know the technology. They have lots of reasons why it’s a barrier. So one of the things I often suggest to them is, if you don’t think you’re ready to podcast yet, maybe you’re ready to be a podcast guest. And I think that’s a nice way to wet your feet, different experience obviously, and you come at it with different sort of expectations and responsibilities. But nonetheless, it gets you a little more comfortable in front of the mic and you get a feel for what that looks like. Are there some best practices in terms of seeking podcast appearances and how to go about doing that in an appropriate way?

Rob Walch:

First off, the email should not start out with hi or hello, comma. Hi comma, hello comma. You ain’t getting on the show. It better be, hello Rob.

Drew McClellan:

Right. It might be a little personalized, perhaps that would be nice, yeah.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. It starts with hi comma, hello comma, it’s delete comma, right? That’s gone. Podcast hosts have an ego. I have an ego. I admit it. You say you love my show, that’s great. If you say, “I love your blog,” you’re dead to me because I’m not a blogger, I’m a podcaster, right? I always joke, Walch’s first law of podcasting, ego equals download squared. The bigger the show the bigger the ego exponentially. Understand that. If you want to get on that show, you better have listened to a couple of episodes and send an email saying, “Hey, on this episode, when you were talking to such and such, and you said this, you know what? I thought that was a great answer,” or, “I would love to come on and talk about that because I disagree with that point of view, and I think I’d be a good guest on your show.”

Wow. You listened to my show. Okay. You’ve done a little work. You’ve gotten past my [bigger 00:36:39] first hurdle. I am now going to definitely consider you as a guest. You’ve shown you’ve taken the time. It wasn’t a canned response.

Drew McClellan:

And beyond that. So A, do your homework, B, listen to a couple episodes, C, if you’re going to reach out by email, which is how most people are going to do that, do that in a way that demonstrates that you’ve done your homework. Anything else in terms of… Is it better for me to prescribe a topic or point of view? Is it better just to share my expertise and let the host decide where they would like to take the interview? What do you recommend around that?

Rob Walch:

Have a link to it an about page about you so that the person can quickly go see that. People want to put everything about them in the email.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

One or two bullet points, too long… was it TLDR, right? Too long, did not read.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

If your email is TLDR, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. They’re not going to read it. I don’t read emails that are Warren piece. Keep it concise, keep it short. If you’ve got a lot of information that you want to put out there, put a link to your about page about you. Say, “Hey. I’m an author. I release this,” and boom, and that’s it. “If you want to learn more about me, here’s my about page. And I think I’d be a good guest on your show”, and why. And it might be because I’ve been covering the topic that you’re talking about for 20 years. It could be something like that or it could be, “Hey. I was best friends with the guy that was on the show and I think I’d be a good guest too. If you liked having him as a guest, I think you’d like having me as a guest.” We have to put some sort of personal connection in there about how you fit to that show.

Drew McClellan:

Does it make sense or is it just too much if you’ve already been a guest on other podcasts to include links to a couple of those so they can hear what you’re like or our most podcasters not going to bother to listen?

Rob Walch:

No, I think that’s fine.

Drew McClellan:

Okay.

Rob Walch:

I think, yeah, I would put one or two. I wouldn’t put every show on [crosstalk 00:38:44] because I mean, as a matter of fact, if you say, “I’ve been a guest on 55 different other podcasts.”

Drew McClellan:

Right. Well, maybe everybody’s already heard then.

Rob Walch:

I mean, I can give you a really off color example of how that would sound right, about the girl coming up to you in the bar [crosstalk 00:38:56] 55 other guys in this bar.

Drew McClellan:

Right. Would you like to be number 56? RighT.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. And that doesn’t sound good either.

Drew McClellan:

Right. One of the things that I’ve noticed as my podcast has grown in terms of downloads and all that is I get a ton of solicitations from PR firms and companies that place people on podcasts. If I want to be a guest on a podcast, what’s your perception of how podcasters react to those sort of third party endorsements or communications? “Our client, Bob Smith, wrote a book. He’d be a great guest on your podcast.” Is that as good as having Bob Smith send me the email or that’s just the way that works and it’s fine?

Rob Walch:

It depends on who it is. There are some people that specialize in the podcast area. Jessica Rhodes is one. She’s really good. She knows the space really well. There’s others that they’re dipping… they come across for the first time, is a podcast, or into the podcast field and they’re reaching out to a podcast for the first time. You can tell that. So yeah, you don’t want to be too corporate in your approach. I think that you want to be more personal in your approach. You don’t want to approach a podcast the same way you may approach NBC to get on a dateline. It’s going to be a different sell.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Right. Well, that gets partially back to the ego thing, right?

Rob Walch:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. And I think the best advice again, is customize it to who you’re reaching out to. And one customized it’s like… I guess, the best way to explain it would World War II, they would just drop a lot of bombs, right? A ton of them. They’d take a whole bunch of bombers and they’d fly over a city and they’d just all drop them, and they’d hope they’d hit, and they’d use those Northern sites and they’d hope they’d get close, and maybe one bomb would get lucky. Today, you drop one bomb. It’s laser guided, it hits the target, boom, done. You see the video on CNN. One bomb does today what a whole squadrant of bombers did in World War II, right?

It takes a little bit more money to build that one bomb, but at the end of the day, it saved them, the government time, money, and human lives do that. And I think you got to forget carpet bombing and you have to go with precision guided emails and just, “I’m going to look at five people today instead of 5000.”

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

And you know what? And you’re going to get those five if you do it right.

Drew McClellan:

Well, and for most of us, we probably are not a great guest for 5000 podcast, but we would be a great guest for five, or 10, or whatever the number is. So it’s also better for us. The outcomes are better on both sides.

Rob Walch:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Because I know you live and breathe podcasting both as a hobby, but your work and now at Libsyn, what’s coming next for podcasting? What are the trends that you see on the horizon that you’re paying attention to that if somebody either has a podcast or is thinking about podcasting they need to be watching as well?

Rob Walch:

Well, I mean forget what the content topic is. I mean, you want a podcast about what you are passionate about, so don’t try to go, “Oh look, true-crime podcasts are popular right now. I’m going to go ahead and do a true-crime podcast.”

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

Do a podcast about what you want to do a podcast about. Forget if that topic is hot or trending or not. Now, technology trends are what’s coming up. Again, mobile’s one. It’s over, it’s done.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

Don’t get enamored about, you’re going to hear people talking about the connected car. Connected car is nothing more than glorified Bluetooth speaker for your smartphone. It’s really all it is. It’s the smartphone, that’s won the day. Now, technology trends going forward, I see the next area. Now, it’s going to be huge growth mark for podcasting. It’s not going to drive, it’s not going to be an inflection point like iOS 8 and the podcast app Native was, but connected home, the Alexa, Google Home, eventually when Apple has their version of whatever that’s going to be, the compete come out in this fall where people can just walk around the house and say, “Hey Alexa play Hardcore History with Dan Carlin.”Because here’s the irony now of the home. When you leave your home, your smartphone probably will not be more than six feet away from you the rest of the day.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

When you’re at home, your smartphone is farther away from you than any other point in the day. You are more likely to be away from your smartphone when you’re home than you are away.

Drew McClellan:

Sure, because it’s charging or whatever.

Rob Walch:

Right. You’re up on the bed stand and you’re downstairs in the kitchen, or it’s in your office and you’re in the kitchen, or it’s in the kitchen and you’re in your office, whatever. That’s when you’re away from it. So how are people going to be consuming more and more at home is the connected device. “Okay. I’m in the kitchen. Hey, Alexa, play the latest episode of Hardcore History.” And you’re going to hear it that way. So those devices are going to pick up some market share. It’s not going to be huge, maybe 5%, maybe even get up to 10% of the market share. But you know what that’s going to come close to where computer consumption is at today, which is 15%. So I think we’re going to see you a little bit of growth there. Not hyper growth, not an inflection point, but it’s something to look at, and as a podcaster, you want to make sure you have a strategy for that, going forward.

Drew McClellan:

Awesome. As we wrap up, anything that… assuming that everybody listening to us now is like, “Oh my God, I should have been podcasting years ago, but I’m on it now.” Any last thoughts or parting wisdom that you want to make sure that they have before we wrap up?

Rob Walch:

Well, if they’re not pushed off where they think they should be podcasting, just think of those numbers 2000 to 1, that’s the ratio of bloggers to podcasters. So if you are blogging and not podcasting, well, you should be.

Drew McClellan:

Pretty crowded field versus not so much.

Rob Walch:

Right.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah.

Rob Walch:

It’s a way to stand out. It’s a way to differentiate yourself. It’s a way for people to find you in places they’re not going to find blogs. There are zero blogs you’re going to find in the iTune store, but a billion people are on that iTune store. So it’s a place to find your content where they’re not find it otherwise.

Drew McClellan:

Well, and I loved your point about the fact that it’s really the only channel that allows you to multitask. And if there is one thing that is true about Agency Owners and CMOs or their prospects, it is that we are multitaskers and we’re trying to cram so much into the day. And so writing a blog post is great. And I think that in terms of the SEO of that and all of that, it’s still important to do, but in terms of actually having your content consumed, and valued, and having people watch for it and wait for it and look forward to enjoying it, the odds are, if they could do it while they’re walking their dog or driving to work makes that much more likely to happen.

Rob Walch:

Yeah. And there’s things you can do with words when you’re speaking, the inflection points, the emotion that you can generate, that you can’t do in the written word, or it can’t do easily in the written word.

Drew McClellan:

Right.

Rob Walch:

The joke was I married my first wife. She said, “I do,” and I said, “I do.” You can make those little points. You can get those little jokes out there with spoken word, if you really learn how to articulate and… Oh, and then one other piece of advice especially for agencies, if you’re going to script do not script for proper grammar. Proper grammar does not sound well when you speak it.

Drew McClellan:

Amen to that. You need to write the way you talk and-

Rob Walch:

Exactly.

Drew McClellan:

Yeah. Absolutely. This has been awesome. Thank you so much. I know that this is a hot topic for lots of agency owners and there’s really probably no one on the planet. I know that you are the fifth most influential, but I suspect that was an old book and you probably have risen in the ranks. But there can’t be very many people on the planet who know more about podcasting than you. So I’m really grateful that you took the time to be on the show. Thank you.

Rob Walch:

Well, Drew, thank you for having me on the show and if your guests want to reach me, it’s very easy, rob, [email protected], L-I-B-S-Y-N.com.

Drew McClellan:

And if they want to learn more about the podcast that you do and they want to see you in action, is there a spot where they can go to have access to all of that?

Rob Walch:

podcast411.com is my personal site. And there’s links with my about that shows all the different podcasts I’m involved with. And so podcast411.com. And my work is Libsyn, L-I-B-S-Y-N.com.

Drew McClellan:

Awesome. We’ll have all of that in the show notes for everybody. So if you didn’t get a chance to jot that down, or you are walking the dog, or on the treadmill, no need to fall off or trip over the dog, we’ll get that taken care for you in the show notes. So Rob, thanks again. I really appreciate it.

Rob Walch:

Drew, thanks again for having me on the show.

Drew McClellan:

You bet. All right. That wraps up another episode of Build a Better Agency. Can’t tell you how much I love spending this time with you. Thanks so much for listening. Hey, speaking of thanks, another way we want to give thanks is we’ve built a new tool that I would love you to check out. We’re calling it the Agency Health Assessment, and basically you’re going to answer a series of questions, and based on those answers, the tool is going to tell you in which aspect of your business maybe you need to spend a little extra time and attention to take your agency to the next level.

We’ve identified five key areas that really indicate an agency’s health and we’re going to help you figure out where you need to spend a little more time. To get that free assessment, all you have to do is text the word assessment to 38470. Again, text the word assessment to 38470, and we will send you a link so you can do that at your leisure, and hopefully that will give you some new insights and some direction in terms of your time and attention in the agency. In the meantime, as always, I’m around if I can be helpful [email protected] and I will be back next week with another great guest and more things for you to ponder. Talk to you soon.

Speaker 1:

That’s all for this episode of AMI’s Build a Better Agency, brought to you by HubSpot. Be sure to visit agencymanagementinstitute.com to learn more about our workshops, online courses, and other ways we serve small to midsize agencies. Don’t miss an episode as we help you build the agency you’ve always dreamed of owning.