Marketing podcast, PreneurCast, is for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
This week, Pete managed to get an interview with David Siteman Garland, host of The Rise to the Top, the popular podcast for mediapreneurs. David and Pete talk about interviewing people, with lots of great tips for finding people to interview.
Pete interviewed David regarding great tips on interviewing people
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Interview with David Siteman Garland
Dom Goucher: Hi, Dom here. And this week, Pete managed to get an interview with David Siteman Garland, host of the popular podcast The Rise To The Top. Now, David’s show is aimed at mediapreneurs, people who create online media to help their businesses.
Now, this obviously, is a topic very close to my own heart. It’s a great discussion, covering lots of topics around interviewing people, including tips on getting interviews. So, get out your notepads and I’ll hand you over to Pete.
[Pete’s interview with David starts]
Pete Williams: David, thanks for joining us today, mate.
David Siteman Garland: Oh, well, thanks for having me. And by the way, if my voice sounds weird to anyone who knows my voice, it’s because I have a little bit of a cold. But that’s not going to stop us, Pete. It’s not going to stop us.
Pete: Well, you’ve been working hard, you might as well touch on that up front. You’ve got a workshop coming up, which is very exciting, mate.
David: Yeah, we wanted to do something that was really different and pretty cool, so we’re doing an event, an online event called [The] Talk to the Top, where basically I’ve reached out to a lot of my good friends in the online marketing space specifically (but not only) to help people grow the audience and monetize online. And yeah, it’s been a lot of sleepless nights. You know how it is.
David: Anytime you take on a big undertaking, it’s going to be a lot of effort.
Pete: So online launch or online event? Is it delivered digitally, or is it delivered live, bums on seat?
David: Yeah, it is. You could sit at home in your underwear and you tune in online via webinars. But it’s all live. So you tune in, it’s a schedule (just like an event would have a schedule), but you tune in live.
But you also get lifetime access to all the recordings. So if you miss it or you can’t attend something, it’s not like you miss out on it. But the presenters are all doing Q&A. So it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Pete: Awesome. So it’s back-to-back over a one day period, is it? Is that the plan?
David: Four days.
Pete: Four days.
David: We’re going October 29th, the 30th, little break for Halloween over here, and then the 1st and the 2nd. So it’s like a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday with about three-ish sessions a day, 50% on growing your audience online and 50% on what’s working now to monetize online. It’s going to be a pretty cool mix.
Pete: Yeah, I love the idea of it being like a live event, but over the Web. This sort of stuff is starting to happen at the moment. This is a different approach, which I’m loving.
David: Yeah, a lot of my audience and people that I work with, and clients and customers and stuff, a lot of the time they’re what I call “mediaprenuers.” And what I mean by mediapreneur, in a nutshell, is an entrepreneur that creates media.
But what it really means is a lot of times that I work directly with the people that are authors, experts, personal brands, coaches; people like that, that are looking to grow their audience and monetize better online. This just seemed like something that could really help out and be different.
As opposed to just doing another product or another blank-blank, it’s, “How can I tap into one of the biggest assets that I have, which is relationships with really cool people, to ask them to come on and do this?” It’s going to be something pretty cool.
Pete: Yeah, I think some really cool stuff is that you’re going to get some great names being able to present without having to worry about logistic crap that so many people have to do when it comes to live events, which is to deal with the logistics of people flying in and being there.
It also just gives you a good angle for the actual product, which is the event itself. That it’s something different, there’s a story in the whole “it’s an online event,” as opposed to a physical “come and sit your bum in a seat for three days” event.
David: Right, exactly. And both have their ups and downs, both types of events. But to me, a busy person who doesn’t want to travel in somewhere and get raped by TSA [Transportation Security Administration] or whatever; just get some create content and also that you can listen to over and over again, or watch over and over again so you can really apply it.
It’s going to be fun. It’s been, like any undertaking, a huge amount of work. That’s one of the delusions that people have about—and I know your audience, Pete, isn’t just online marketers or online business, that people have online and offline businesses. But there’s this illusion, I think, that online business or internet marketing equals very little work.
There’s this illusion that it’s like, “Oh, it’s just those people there. They work like 1.7 hours a week, and they just wander around, and they just deposit money in their bank accounts.” That sounds great, by the way, but that’s not the reality of anything, it’s not the reality and the people who are really successful in this industry put in hours.
Pete: It’s a business.
David: And they put in hours. It’s a business like anything else, and the people that are looking for that sort of magic button thing are usually the people who struggle with it.
Pete: Yeah, couldn’t agree more. That’s something I preach all the time. So, let me ask you one more question about this project that you’re working on and then we’ll get into the meat of what I want to pick your brain about on the show today. And the question is: what’s been the surprise for you out of putting on this online event?
What’s the one thing you didn’t think about that’s taken up more time, that was easier than you thought, has been well-received than you expected? What’s been the one surprise from this for you?
David: Fantastic question, by the way.
Pete: Put you on the spot, too.
David: Yeah. No, I love it. I love questions like that. I’ve got two, so I’m going to cheat. I’m going to cheat. Because one is more of a negative and I don’t like to be a negative person, so I’m going to go on a positive, too. The negative was, because it’s an online event, you can’t use online processors like ClickBank (which I love) that deliver digital goods.
So I had to basically get all my own credit card stuff together for the first time and that was the world’s most pain in the butt of all time. I’m an expert on it now, if you have any questions.
However, making sure that your shopping cart and all that stuff is set up properly, it’s attached to a merchant account, all these things that look so simple to the end-user are a little tricky. So for me, that was more of a time-consumer than I thought it was going to be.
Now I’m glad that it’s done, and now I’m like such a nerd I’ll go to other people’s sites, I’ll be like, “Ooh, nice checkout page. I like that.” On a positive note, is that the response to the event—we’ve had different deadlines where there’s been sort of price increases for tickets.
Pete: Yeah, smart. It’s a great way to encourage response by building scarcity and response and things like that, the urgency.
David: Right. And I had a feeling it would work well, “feeling,” if you will. I was nervous because when you get out of the gate with anything like this, you’re going to promote it up front and you’re going to get a fair amount of sales. Because I have a big community and they’re ready for this, so there’s a fair amount of sales up front.
The problem was that sort of middle ground between the front and the end of the first promotion we did. I was getting a little nervous because we weren’t getting some sales, but it was more ‘trickling in,’ if you will. Then, once we really ramped up promotions and we were like, “by the way, here comes a price increase,” it was like through-the-roof.
Pete: I think the biggest takeaway from that for listeners would be, no matter what business you’re doing in, it’s so important—everyone preaches this, but so many people don’t do it. Build scarcity, build urgency by doing things like takeaway selling. “This price is going up in three days if you don’t act now,” and that sort of stuff. And people can do this in any business.
David: Oh, I agree, and I think it’s one of the most important aspects of marketing. And when I first heard about it way back in the day when I was learning back in the day, I always thought it sounded like a little scammy or a little sketchy, “Oh, scarcity, that sounds weird.”
But then you realize that it is a crucial marketing aspect because people sit on their butt. And I think about it—I’m the same way. I’m the same way. I know things that I bought because I was like, “Oh my God, it’s going away,” or “Oh my God, it’s going to price-increase,” or “Oh my God, there’s only five left,” whatever it is.
And I know stuff that I have not bought that was probably equally as good but there was no compelling reason to buy right now or in a certain period of time. I was like, “I’ll get back to it,” which never happens.
Pete: Yeah, you need that deadline. This is, again, something that I find really intriguing talking to a lot of people, and it’s probably not quite so relevant to what you’ve been doing directly, but a number of my businesses that I own are in the B2B [business-to-business] space.
People start thinking that people in the B2B space are completely different when they’re in the office than when they’re at home watching the infomercials or reading the e-mails about your event. And people still react the same. On our proposals, even in the B2B space, we have deadlines.
“This bonus offer is going away on this date.” And it does get response. We have people e-mailing going, “Oh, look, I can’t get the manager’s approval until Monday. I notice that the actual free headset is going away on Friday. Can you extend that to Monday for me?” It does work, even in the B2B space. So, if you’ve got proposals out there or you’re doing e-mails, make sure you put deadlines on your offers.
David: Let me ask, by the way, how do you handle those when someone says, “Can you extend the deadline?”
Pete: We put them on hold and we go, “Let me put you on hold,” so they put the person on hold. Wait for 30 seconds, maybe ask someone in the office, make sure it’s okay, and then come back and say, “Look, I’ve got approval for that,”
David: Nice, I like it.
Pete: It’s not yes, straightaway. I think Dan Kennedy calls it salesman… oh, I’ve forgotten the word. It’s basically showmanship, for want of a better term. It’s not just saying ‘yes’ right away. Make them feel like they have to earn this, “I had to pull some strings,” “I had to get approval for it,” “Yeah, we can do it for you on Monday.”
It’s not just a simple, “Yes, we can do it.” You’ve got to have that ‘salesman choreography’ [sales choreography] is the term that Dan Kennedy uses, which I love.
David: I agree, I agree.
Pete: Let’s move onto the core of this, because I started that off in a completely random way to what you were expecting. You mentioned you’ve got a big community. Now, to probably set the context right, do you want to explain a bit about The Rise To The Top and how it came to be? What it is, how big the community is, and give a bit of credibility to yourself as well?
David: Yeah. So, The Rise To The Top, in a nutshell, is a community. It’s a resource and it’s a Web show for what I call mediapreneurs. We talked about what that is before, but really, my community is a lot of personal brands and experts and people like that that are looking to really dominate online. That’s what it’s all about. I create Web shows and videos that now have been downloaded, let’s see, six million times.
Pete: That’s awesome.
David: In about 120 countries. I create a lot of content to help people out. That’s the first and foremost thing that I do. We have about 250,000 people or so that come in and download, and consume the content on a monthly basis as part of the The Rise To The Top.
We’ve built up a good community there. Also, what I do is I am, on the other hand, sort of a teacher where I share information with people. I’ll put it together under products and stuff like that, and my main one is where I teach people to do their own interview-based Web show.
Because that was the number one question that came to me for four-plus years. I started The Rise To The Top in 2008. Long convoluted story on how it started, but in a nutshell, I took my Bar Mitzvah money and started a local TV show in St. Lewis, Missouri, focused around entrepreneurship.
Pete: Very cool.
David: Since then, it’s changed and it’s evolved to what it is now. But it’s always been really about bringing on people to share their experience (on one hand) mixed with actionable tips and how-to’s on the other hand. It’s been a fun thing and it’s been something that’s led to a lot of cool stuff like a book deal, and it’s gone from there.
Pete: Awesome, man, awesome. Consulting work with Google, is that right? Or at least a tour of their offices?
David: I did, a couple of years ago. Yeah, it was consulting work. It’s funny, this is why I’m such a big proponent of essentially putting yourself out there online. What happens is if you’re out there doing good stuff and cool stuff, and you’re out there and you really care and you put a lot of time and effort into it, good stuff starts kicking back at you.
That’s what happened to me, actually. I don’t know when it was, like a year and a half ago, something like that. Google called up and they said, “Hey, we’ve got a new program that we’re working on for entrepreneurship, small business. We’d love to fly you out, we’d love to pay you for the day, do a little bit of on-camera work and do some brainstorming session.
It’ll be you, and Chris Brogan and Anita Campbell from Small Business Trends, and a couple of other people. I’m like, ”Uh, yeah. What, do I pay? Do you pay? Who’s paying, here?”
Pete: Yeah, exactly. “How do I get there?”
David: Right, exactly. And so what happens is it took some blood, sweat and tears to get to that point. But we’re definitely in this very interesting age now where anyone can create a media platform online, and that can lead to all kinds of interesting things.
Pete: I think one of the big things that you spoke about there was the expert status that you get. You indirectly spoke about that. And this is, I think, the reason I wanted to get you on the show and chat about this. I’ve got some questions later about how to find guests and how to do the interview, and probably the same sort of questions you have been asked for four years.
But what’s the experience you’ve seen from people you’ve taught or even yourself that not only—fundamentally, it’s the expert status and the positioning you get from being that go-to guy in the space when you’re asking questions and interviewing other key people?
David: Yeah, I call it credibility by association. Let’s just put it this way: when I started on Day One, I didn’t really have any credibility in the space. I was just a guy who was like into it. I wasn’t like, “Oh, here’s all the money I’ve made,” or “Here’s all the stuff I did.”
My credibility was essentially built through interviewing other people. Because what happens is when you associate yourself with these people, even if it’s for a quick interview, even if it’s a 10-minute interview, basically, they’re saying, “Oh look, there’s David and he’s interviewing Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin.
He’s probably not a serial killer.” Something like that. What happens is there’s the old saying, ‘you become more who you’re around,’ but it’s also how you’re perceived.
David: So building credibility, which is one brick at a time, there’s a million ways to go about it. There’s a billion ways to go about it, but for me, my biggest way of doing it was by getting around credible people, learning and applying that to my own businesses. And then that started building stuff over time, and that really was my approach to it.
Pete: The really cool thing about this is, most people when they hear about doing interviews they think, “I’ve got to start a podcast or a Web TV show,” like you’ve done at The Rise To The Top. They sort of think, “Hang on, I’m a real-world business owner.”
Or maybe, “I’m in a niche market doing information marketing. Have a podcast or do an interview show, that’s an extra thing I have to do.” But to give you a grounded example of how one of my clients has started to use interviews to grow his offline business; Michael was in the golf real estate management business.
It was golf estates and those sorts of places. Trump does this. You’ve got the golf course, and on the golf course there’s all this housing estate. He manages all that sort of stuff.
What I advised him to do as a way to build up his credibility in that industry, because in his space, a lot of it is very much built of pictures and tenders; the developer of the golf estate will be looking for someone to come in and do the management of the resort and the real estate once it’s been developed.
So it’s not a transactional type business where you’re selling 50 items a day. It’s one big contract. It’s very much about him positioning himself over time as the expert in that space. So when he goes to do a tender, people are already aware of who he is and he’s been pre-sold, almost, as an expert and a leader.
What he’s been doing is he’s been interviewing managers of golf estates, managers of golf clubs from all around the world and putting them on his website, and then e-mailing certain things of that to potential future clients. He’d go to, I think it’s the Wentworth Golf Club, a really famous golf club in the U.K.
He was able to get in touch with the manager of that golf estate and talk about the history of the golf estate, and the troubles they have, and how they deal with those issues, and how they deal with all of that good stuff as an interview.
Not only did he now be able to get free consulting from a hugely successful business in his space, but he then took that recording, put that on his site, made him look like an expert, and then even e-mailed certain segments of those interviews to prospective developers who he may work with in the future.
“There’s a development going on and it’ll be finished in 18 months time,” and he grabbed the part of the interview that talks about the issues of the actual physical development and how you need to think about certain things during the development.
He sent that to a prospect and said, “Hey Joe, I know you’re a couple of years away from having the development finished. Here’s an interview with a guy from Wentworth Golf Club. There’s a couple of things in there at the seven-minute mark that might be helpful for you.”
It wasn’t like pitching business, he wasn’t trying to get the guy to give him the contract. He’s adding value to him by saying, “Here’s an interview that might help you,” and he’s automatically positioned by association with Wentworth Golf Club management, which is just huge.
David: Yeah, it’s a great example. There’s many reasons to do interviews. And the one that you just hit on, especially for people if they have an offline business; if relationships with key people in your industry are an important part of your business, there’s almost no better excuse than to have an interview-based Web show to reach out to someone. That’s one of the best things, I say, is that a show is an unbelievable excuse and a handshake. So if I reached out, like in the example.
David: Let’s just say he’s trying to meet this guy, and Phil’s some big golf dude that he wants to know. As opposed to reaching out to Phil and just trying to pitch him on something and saying, “Hey Phil, I know you’ve got this new golf course that you’re looking to promote and get the word out about.
I’d love to talk to you about how you designed it, and how you went about it. I’d love to have you on my show to talk about that.” You’re flipping the mentality from someone that could be defensive, that you want something from them. Instead, you’re starting a relationship by offering something. And I think that there’s huge value to doing that, regardless of what type of business you’re in.
Pete: Absolutely right. And this is the really cool thing, and something that I know you teach that you could definitely talk about later on, about how easy it is to technically do these interviews. Because again, people probably think, “Oh my God, an interview, to do a half-hour interview with Phil,” whoever Phil is, “is going to take me like days and days and thousands of dollars to set up.”
But realistically, it’s a couple of e-mails. If you follow a good template and process (which I know you have) and then literally, it’s just jumping on Skype and calling that person.
They don’t have to have Skype even. You can just literally call their phone, their cell phone on Skype, record the Skype conversation, and you’ve pretty much got the interview done and dusted.
David: Yeah. There’s a lot of different ways that you could go. GoToMeeting, there’s easy software out there. And for me, it all depends on what type of business you’re in. I’m a fan of video, not only for interviews, but just in general as well. That’s another skill that I’m such a huge fan of.
But yeah, a lot of people get hung up on the tech stuff. My thing on that is that I have some easy suggestions for people. I’m not really a person who’s a tech geek or anything close to a tech geek at all, and it’s taken trial and error. But it’s really not that bad for doing that. I don’t want that to hold people back, let’s just put it that way.
Pete: Exactly, I couldn’t agree more. Michael just literally called the guy on Skype in the UK, the software recorded the interview, and it was basically done. It was very, very simple. So let’s talk about approaching these people. If you want to approach this Phil gentleman, or you’re even in internet marketing, info space and you potentially want a joint venture with someone down the path.
As you said, going to them early on and just building that relationship by giving value first, i.e., a platform that that person can get their message out on via an interview with you.
How do you go about finding these people and even approaching these people? It’s a two-part question, but what’s your experience with that? I know you’ve done it hundreds and hundreds of times now with all your guests.
David: Yeah. Everything’s a little bit different, but here’s a few things. Number one is when you’re reaching out to someone, timing is everything in life in general, and it’s the same with doing an interview. Anyone’s that’s like a busy person (everyone’s busy, so everyone’s a busy person), what I have noticed is one of the key things is timing it around something big that they have going on.
If they have a book release, a new product, a new service, a new anything; it becomes a perfect time to interview someone, as opposed to just randomly because you want to interview them. And what I’ve noticed is if you look at The Tonight Show or anything like that, the guest comes on, they talk about something random.
They could be talking about dating or they could be talking about God-knows-what. And at the end, they plug the movie. It’s the same as the case for doing interviews online or in person, or wherever you want to do them. You can reach out to someone because they have a new book or something like that, and then talk about a different subject on the interview that ties into it.
It doesn’t have to be a direct subject that’s just like exactly what you want to do. So the first principle is the principle of timing. The second principle is, and this one is very, very important; this might get slightly complicated, but you have to have a strong brand presence online.
What I mean by that is not a huge viewership, but I’m telling you right now that branding makes all the difference when it comes down to people saying ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ especially if you don’t know them. Because what’s the first thing that happens when you ask for an interview, what do you think the first thing someone does?
Pete: They’re going to Google and check you out.
David: Right, right. Or they’re going to go right to your website, directly. Some form or fashion, either Google or they’re going to go right to your website. And if your website looks like crap, and it’s a template and you can’t find anything on there of any interest, it says to me that this is amateur hour.
For me, it’s worth spending a little bit of extra time and a little bit of extra money on developing a strong brand. I teach my students who want to create their shows all strategies to create a strong foundation and get as specific as they possibly can so they’re not out there just throwing darts at the world when you start to interview people.
I get people to say, “These are the exact types of people I want to interview, here’s why, and here’s my brand. This is what we stand for, this is what I want people to look when they come to the site. You can see me on there because people want to associate with a host.”
All these things come to it because one of the biggest mistakes I see is when, before people reach out to guests, they haven’t spent enough time on their foundation of really establishing something that someone wants to say ‘yes’ to. Because I’m telling you right now, if your site looks pretty and looks cool, a guest will say ‘yes’ even if it’s just you, mom and the cat that are watching.
Pete: Yep, exactly right.
David: Third thing real quick, is brevity in reaching out and not being a slimeball. What I mean by that is when reaching out, let’s say it’s e-mail, phone, however you’re going to reach out to people; e-mail is my preferred, also Facebook is a good way, too, but not being the guy who goes in there and writes War and Peace.
Like, “Here’s my life bio” and all that kind of stuff. When that happens, you’re going to get a ‘no’ anyway, because “Oh my God, can you imagine the questions this person is going to ask me if this is the first e-mail he sent me?”
So, keeping it very, very short, simply and to the point in the e-mail is something very critical. I like to butter them up a little bit and say, “Hey, this is why I like you. Basically, I have a show on blank-blank. I’d love to promote your new blank, and I’d love to talk to you about blank. If that sounds great, let me know. We can set it up via Skype.” That’s it.
Pete: So be short, to the point, benefit-driven.
David: Five senses. That’s one of the mistakes. This is the biggest nightmare, not to do as well. I had this happen again the other day; I won’t name names; but making it easy for your guest to say ‘yes,’ and not having a list of criteria or making it complicated. You’re throwing them a party, you’re not giving them work.
Pete: Nice, that’s a very cool saying.
David: Yeah. You’re throwing them a party, you’re not giving them work. Let me give you an example of something that happened the other day. I will not name it because it’s happened to me and it sucks. Someone asked me, first of all, they were very not-specific about what they wanted. They were like, “Oh, can you help us out with something?”
What does that mean? Then they finally asked for an interview. Okay, I’ll come on and do an interview. They then asked me to write my own questions and answers for the interview. Own questions and answers for the interview, and promised to send an e-mail blast out about it and a variety of other promotional things as well. How do you think that made me feel?
Pete: Well, it’s just like, “Am I doing all the work? What’s to go with that?”
David: They gave me a job, not a party. And for me, the simpler you can make it for someone, ”We’re going to go on Skype, that’s it. If you need a little outline beforehand, great. If you don’t, great,” keeping things very simple.
You do the work, you come up with the questions, and you develop that stuff. That’s part of what you do as a host. Not giving it where you’re asking someone to write and answer their own questions, because you just gave them a job. So that’s another piece of advice.
Pete: Let me ask you this, then: if it’s my responsibility as a host, which I agree, it absolutely should be, to come up with the questions and the context of the interview; well, two-part question, firstly, what’s your strategy and process of coming up with the questions?
David: I’ve changed over time, for the better. When I started and as I script a lot of things out, I would almost script out every question. I would write down questions I had thought about, anything that pops in my head, brainstorm. Anything that I wanted to do. And then I realized that that was a bit limiting, and here’s why.
When you do this (and you know this, Pete), when you script out everything beforehand, you end up thinking about your next question and not listening to the guest. Just think about it; “All I’m thinking about right now is how I’m going to ask Pete about his haircut. “
I don’t care what you’re saying, that’s what happens when you script too many things out. So what I like to do is create notes about topics that I want to cover in an interview. And what I’ve noticed is when I’m personally curious about it, that’s going to be the good interview.
And when I’m not personally curious about it, it’s not going to be a great interview. Let me give you an example, I’m still big into product launches, online products, and had my friend Lewis Howes come on the show, talked about doing his like, $500,000 launch.
Pete: We’re working out a time to get Lewis on the show here, actually, to talk about LinkedIn at some point soon, which is very exciting.
David: Great guy, he’ll be great for the show. I said, “Lewis, I’d love to have you come on,” and my questioning for that was everything that I wanted to know about product launches, personally. I wanted to know, how did he come up with it?
How much did he pay beforehand? All these questions that came up, and I really did it for “me,” if you will. What ended up happening was, I think it was one of our Top 10 interviews of all time. Why?
Because people started coming and the response being, “David, you asked exact questions that I had. That’s what I would’ve asked. Oh my God, great questions.” I said to people, “You know, I wasn’t even thinking about you.”
Pete: You were just one of them.
David: I’m laughing about it, but the approach that I take and this is what you have to keep in mind as someone who wants to do an interview; if you’re listening to this and you’re saying, “God, I want to give this a shot.” The more selfish you are with the questions, the better the interview is going to be.
And I know that sounds ridiculous and counterintuitive. “Always think about your community and always think about that stuff,” if you’re leading a community of golf people or whatever they are, they’re going to want to know the same stuff that you do. That’s my number one thing there.
Pete: I cut you off then. I was going to then ask you the question, which was the second part, you were leading onto there perfectly. What do you do (or have you experienced this) where people are trying to shove the questions down your throat?
They not necessarily have a publicist controlling the whole thing or whether at least they’ve maybe done a publicity course and are aware that if they get an interview they should try and pre-script questions to make it easier for the interviewer. What’s your experience with that? Have you had much?
David: I have, and I don’t like it. Any time I’m working with PR people, some of them are very lovely people; but I like to go for an authentic conversation, and you like to go for an authentic conversation. And I feel like anyone who wants to do an interview that is listening to this who wants to give this a shot, you want to go for authentic conversation.
That can get dampered when you have that pre-set script, if you will. I’ve never really had someone say, “Ask me this,” per se. It would be pretty audacious, but I’d appreciate that. I would laugh and then definitely not ask it. I have had people request questions beforehand for sure. I get that and I understand why.
What I do, as opposed to sending very, very specific questions, I’ll just send an outline-ish of things that I want to cover just to give them a scope of what they want to talk about. But I think the bigger the celebrity or the bigger the person is that you’re trying to interview, the more used to they are to the scripted questions.
Pete: Well, they have to be, because I guess they’re so conscious of their brand. But the downside that I see is that they’re used to cookie-cutter interviews. The catch is that if you’re trying to build a long-term audience, you’re better off asking unique, personal, conversational-type questions.
Because it’s going to be a different interview than they would’ve got by listening to that person being interviewed by somebody else. You want to make your content that you create, that you’re involved with, unique. And the only way to do that is ask unique questions.
David: Yeah, and that is a fabulous point. I absolutely agree on that. The way to get cookie-cutter interviews is to ask cookie-cutter questions.
Pete: Exactly. I want to give as a suggestion out there to people, which is left of field but something that I did prepare that I wanted to suggest to people is that if you’re in an industry where you have wholesale or manufacture relationships, this is about getting guests.
It’s a tip about getting guests that I think people don’t really think about and don’t do enough, and that is lean on your wholesalers or your manufacturers. What I mean by that is, let’s say for example, you’re in a retail space or even in an online space. In retail, hypothetically, you have a bike store.
In the online world, I have a number of e-commerce sites through my companies and one of them is in the headset or headphone space. Now, one of our manufacturers of products we do is GN Jabra, which is one of the largest manufacturers of headphones and headsets around the globe, and they sponsor a number of professional athletes.
So I could easily create a podcast interview series for my headset website, pieces of plastic, based on leaning on our suppliers and our manufacturer to get me the guests, to get me access to some of these celebrities that they sponsor. Maybe if we sold Beats headsets, for example, on our site, I could try to push on the manufacturer to get me an interview with Lady Gaga or Dr. Dre.
They already have a relationship in place with those people. I think this is something that businesses don’t do enough, whether you’re in the e-commerce space, in the retail space, in any industry. And that’s just not about leaning on them to get interviews, but just pushing back and getting your wholesalers to be partners (and we talk about that quite a bit in other episodes).
But I think that’s a great way that you can get interviews with some really high-powered people, by looking at who your suppliers, who your manufacturers, who your other key stakeholders are that you deal with, can pull strings for you, rather than going direct. Get them to pull some strings.
David: Yeah, and also the lesson there, too, for people who are in less sexy industries, for lack of a better term. If you sell something, whatever it is, look at who you’re trying to target with these interviews, meaning from an audience perspective. And think about what they want, and whether talking about your product is going to be the wrong play.
Let me give you an example of what I mean, because that was a jargon-full there. So, there’s a company called Reactor Watch, these cool sports watches and they have a lot of professional athletes that endorse them. They’re working on developing some show concepts and I said to them, “Listen, I know what you guys are thinking.
You’re going to do a show about watches.” Because I know, I know them well. “You’re going to do a show about watches, and it’s going to be fine, but no one’s going to care because your community is not the passionate watch lover.”
Pete: No. They buy a watch, and then move on and check it twice a day.
David: Right. What you are going after is the athlete people. People that love sports. People that love action sports. That’s like their niche. So what do you interviews have to be with? Well, they have to be with the action sports people. You guys are sponsoring these athletes, just get them on the show.
Have the skateboarder guy and have the extreme skiing guy, and make it a show that’s about interviews with these cool extreme athletes. Maybe there’s an angle, a different angle. Maybe it’s about their personal lives. However, then you basically sponsor your own show and that’s how you get the business return on it.
That’s the advice that I gave them. So I’m using that example to get the wheels spinning for people that are like, “Who would I interview? What would it be on?” Think about what your customers or clients are into. That’s what you interview on.
Pete: Exactly. It’s not about the boring, technical stuff. It’s about the actual enjoyment, the lifestyle stuff that comes along with using the products and services.
David: Right. Like if they had, let’s say, a watch that was for the watch lover. It was all about people that sleep with their watches under their pillows or something like that.
That would be a whole different type of content than when it’s basically people that are into extreme sports that just happen to wear a watch. And that’s how you have to look at those things into pretty good detail.
Pete: Couldn’t agree more. So I guess your show The Rise To The Top, you’re saying you’ve got some products off the back of that and things like that. I know one of them is a course about interviewing. Do you want to talk a bit about that as well?
David: Yeah, and also I’d love to get some people to check out the free version of it as well, which I know you’ll have a special link for them, Pete. But basically what happened was over four years and 300-plus shows and about 10 zillion hours at the least, to people asking questions and wanting to know, how do I do this?
How do I get these great guests? How do I conduct a non-boring interview? What technology do I need to use that’s not going to make it stressful? How do I market and promote these interviews so that people watch them? All these questions came in and I took about a year, believe it or not, to develop the course.
And I say ‘the course’ because it really is the course on teaching people how to do their own interview-based Web show, whether you want to do audio or video. It’s called Create Awesome Interviews. And Pete, you’re going to have a link, I think, that you’re going to kick to people.
Pete: Yeah, it’ll be in the show notes at PreneurMedia.tv, where all the show notes for all of the episodes of the podcasts are; the transcripts, the downloads. So as always, we’ll put some links there to your website, your blog, and the course as well.
David: Okay. So here’s what people are going to get; I’m going to tell them exactly what they’re going to get when they’re go check this out. If you go to Pete’s link, first and foremost you’re going to get a free course from me. You’re going to get a three-part free course.
We’re going to go through some of the major benefits of doing an online interview show. We’re going to go through some of—and this one, Pete, very, very important—the rookie mistakes that I’ve made, everyone makes, and how to avoid them. Then we’re going to go through the tool and technologies that you need to get this started very, very simple.
David: I have literally hundreds and hundreds of graduates that have their own shows. I think we’ve had something like—I can’t remember the number, but we’re getting close to 1000 new episodes produced from my students.
Pete: Very, very cool.
David: A lot of people have developed shows in all kinds of niches from NASCAR to healthy living. So you’re going to get the free course. Then at the end of it, you can go off and take that information and go rock on with it, or you’re going to have a limited time opportunity to jump in and take the main course.
If you do that, Pete’s going to get a little delicious commission as well so check that out. Again, I try to cater to people who really want to do this. This isn’t like a flash in the pan thing, this isn’t like something that you press a button and Google drops off money or something.
It’s something that’s very cool. It takes a little bit of time and work, but this is something that I would’ve crawled over fire to get my hands on because I had to do it through all kinds of expensive trial and error, and hours and hours and hours of time, so I’m hoping people check it out.
Pete: Very, very cool. So let me ask you one final question that is a question that people get interesting reaction to, so I’ll throw it out to you as well. What’s the one or two questions I haven’t asked you during this conversation that I should’ve?
David: Oh man, that’s hard. What would I have asked me? I would’ve asked whether it is better or if I have a preference on whether you should do audio only or video shows. And by the way, I’m just thinking off the top of your head here. Meaning, your interview was quite good, Pete!
Pete: [Laughs] So what’s the answer to that question?
David: I prefer video. I prefer video. I like them both, but my three quick reasons on video—by the way, and just to give you the context here, video is more of a pain in the butt. No way around it. No way around it, I’ll tell you right now. Video’s more of a pain in the butt. But is the pain in the butt worth it? I would say yes for really three reasons. Number one is you can’t see what I’m doing right now.
I’m sticking [unintelligible] the microphone but you can’t see it. And the reason is because we’re in audio. And audio’s great. It’s great for the imagination, it taps into a lot of senses. But if you want to hit all the senses including body language, sight, feel, everything but smell on the internet, video allows you to do that.
Number two is that if you do create video, you’ll then have audio as well. You just export it. You create an audio file, you’re off to the races. So every version of my show, I have video and audio, and that goes to more places. And that’s always a good thing, spreading the tentacles wide, if you will.
And the third thing is while Pete and I have really good rapport in this conversation just because we get along well, sometimes when you don’t know someone very well or you barely know them, or they’re a little quiet or something like that, being able to see someone changes the dynamic.
Meaning, just being able to see your guest a little bit. Think about a phone call versus seeing someone in person. It’s a little bit different. I prefer it because I can see if someone is glazing over and falling asleep at their desk. I can get that face-to-face rapport that you can’t quite get with audio.
So when people come to me, I’m not anti-audio shows, I’m very pro audio-shows; I’m pro every type of show. But if someone’s like, “Video looks like a little pain in the butt. Should I do it?” I often do say yes.
Pete: Well, let me ask you this, because the first reaction that a lot of people probably get to that thought of doing video is, ”I’ve got to get my hair done right, every day.” But more importantly, does that reduce the amount of potential guests you can have because people don’t feel like they don’t want to be on video or they don’t know themselves, as a guest, how to do video, to get on the other side of the camera?
David: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think it definitely depends on the niche. That’s an absolute great point, Pete, for sure. But here’s my way around it: if you have, let’s say, an industry where audio’s your only option at end of the day, I would do that, and then find another way that I can incorporate videos into the business. Because video is critical, right? We can all agree with that.
Pete: Absolutely. It just comes down to shooting for the moon. And if you miss, you land in the stars. So you shoot for video with these guests. And if they can’t do video, you go, “Alright, let’s just do an audio interview.”
David: Yup, I agree, I agree.
Pete: I think, too if you want to get a bit, I’ll use the word ‘tricky,’ it’s probably not the ideal word because it probably has negative connotations with it; but if you give someone an option of video and that’s your first option and they say no, you can easily counter with an audio interview. But if you go directly with an audio interview and they say no, what can you counter with? A written interview?
David: A text interview. The least likely that anyone is going to say yes to, a text interview, because that’s a job.
Pete: Exactly. From a salesmanship perspective, you ask for what you want. So if they do say no to that, you can still come up with something that is a compromise. And if you frame it right and the context is right when you go back to them, then they’re going to feel more obligated to say yes to that because they said no to the first thing. And people don’t like saying no continually if there’s value there.
David: Right. I agree.
Pete: Awesome, man. That’s the average podcast length that we do here on PreneurCast, mate. Thank you for pushing through the illness and sticking through. The voice held up. Mate, really appreciate your time!
David: Alright, thanks Pete. Pleasure having on. I hope it helped everyone out and I’m going to go drain tea like it’s my business.
Pete: Awesome, man. Talk to you soon.
David: See ya.
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