There is the obvious conclusion that many businesses can find value doing a podcast, or being a guest on one. And building WooCommerce products, or running an agency fall right into that same line of thought.
Now you may not feel that podcasting is for you. But you may be surprised. We asked Matt Medeiros, veteran podcaster and Director of Podcast Success at Castos sit down with us and talk about starting that podcast. But we don’t end it there. Being on a podcast is great PR for your business or product. He also drops some good tips on how to approach podcasters.
So there you have it. We got you covered either way.
The Conversation with Matt
- Finding a quiet spot [01:35]
- The value of a podcast for product builders or an agency [06:35]
- With a product, just ship it, but with a podcast [10:35]
- Packaging your podcast as part of your agency [18:05]
- Being a guest on podcasts [24:10]
- The pre-podcast interview [30:47]
- Finding guests [32:20]
- The nerve-wracking episode [39:47]
Thanks to Our Pod Friends
You know how important reviews are to your clients sites, or your own Woo shop. Trustpilot integrates with WooCommerce not only to help with getting more reviews and displaying them, but it also gives you the benefit of SEO. All you need to do is head over the the WooCommerce marketplace and get their free extension.
When it comes to building Woo sites for your clients, and everyone has their own strengths. If you need help with your clients conversions and revenue, the team at Mode Effect can be a part of your strategy to help clients avoid the hassle of management and training. Partner up with Mode Effect and let them help you keep your clients running smoothly in the long term.
Bob: Hey, everyone. BobWP here. Episode 156. I'm here with my cohost Brad Williams. Brad, who do we have coming on the show? You want to have him ease on in right now?
Brad: Yeah, why not? We have the man, the myth, the legend, Mr. Matt Medeiros joining us today, Director of Podcast Success at Castos, among other things, Matt Report, WPMinute, maybe South Coast FM. It's hard to keep up with al the things you do, Matt. Welcome to Do the Woo.
Matt: Gentlemen, I am happy to be here doing the Woo.
Bob: All righty. What do you do besides what Brad just listed? I mean, I know you have a few things going on, but give us a little bit more detail. Because I know you don't really do the woo even though you may do the Woo at times.
Matt: I do the Woo. I do a lot of wooing. Lots of wooing around where I'm at. Well, I try to survive. Other than just creating content and podcasts, I have three lovely little boys that I am a father too along with my wife. It's exciting times in my household, having three children under five while trying to create content. But today, I'm lucky enough to be in my office, which is about 20 minutes away from my house. You still might be able to hear my kids from here, but hopefully not. Yeah. I mean, just full-time podcasting, creating content, and doing the Woo with you fine chaps.
Finding a quiet spot [01:35]
Brad: That actually brings up an interesting point that I know for a while, for years even, you would do most of your recordings in your attic, right? You had a converted attic in your house and would do a lot there. But clearly, anyone that has young children knows and especially then when they're home and not at school, if they're too young for school or whatever, it is very hard to get things done when there are young kids in the house. Even if the other spouse is watching them, but still, if they know you're there, it's very hard, especially the younger kids who don't quite understand, right? So I'm curious, is that why you got a office space or is there some other reason? Or was it just-
Matt: That was reason number one. Reason number two is because it's in an attic with very little insulation on the ceiling of the attic because it's quite literally the roof. It gets really hot. While I have an air conditioner, it literally gets to over 100 degrees in the summertime. When it's like 80, 90 degrees outside, it's boiling in that attic and it's hard on the vocal cords to be breathing in hot attic air while trying to record an episode. So yeah, there's the logistics of having children banging around downstairs, screaming, throwing things in the summertime to now... and being also really, really hot in the summertime.
On a more serious note, a dedicated office, I have an office in a coworking space, and it's just a different environment. It's just more of a creative space. It's not that big. It's 10 by 13 feet. It allows me to just have all my equipment up and just more space and I can just leave everything in place because I'm sure, Bob, as you know, just leaving a camera in place, having everything set up or not dismantling it every time you go to record is a huge benefit and a huge time saver and that's what this space allows me to do.
Bob: Yeah. I see a future podcast, Mattic in the Attic. There it is.
Brad: Only when it's over 100. You can only go live when it's over 100 degrees. We just watch Matt peeling off clothes every 10 minutes throughout the show.
Matt: Find me on Twitch.
Brad: Yeah, it's interesting. I wonder, given the year we've had last year where by and large everybody was at home for a long period of time, many people are still working from home and are not quite back at the office. Some people have started to go back. It seems like by and large, most people have not. It makes me wonder if that idea of you're at a coworking space, right? You have an office at a coworking space or a shared space where you can get your office in, but you don't have to rent out a full-blown place for yourself. I wonder if we're going to start seeing more of that where if offices are going full virtual permanently or even a hybrid model, if we're going to see more people that still need to get that professional space outside of their house to actually be firing on all cylinders, if you will, to be fully productive. Or not. Maybe not.
Matt: Well, Brad, you know where I live, it's an hour south of Boston. So it's not a densely populated area, of course, compared to Boston, but these spaces and coworking spaces filled up instantly. As soon as Massachusetts opened up the restrictions a bit with COVID, I mean, these offices were gone in a couple weeks. It was fast and furious to try to get office space. That's what a lot of people that I know coming into this coworking space... and there's another one that's down the street. Yeah. People are now... got that optionality to work from home and coworking space allows them the best of both worlds.
Brad: Yeah, I think that, not to go too far off topic, but the coworking idea, while it felt like it was maybe teetering before the pandemic in terms of whether at the larger scale, WeWork and all the trouble they had. But it felt like maybe it was teetering. I know the local ones are probably always going to do well with those larger rollout of a larger company dedicated to it. There have been a couple that closed up in New York City that I had friends that participated with that weren't able to go anymore, but that was pre-pandemic. I feel like now, it's revitalized in a sense of, yeah, that's a very good option for people if they are not ultimately going to end up back in an office, but they still need that quiet space to actually get work done, right? So I think we might see a resurgence in coworking spots all over.
Bob: Yeah, it'll be interesting because a lot of them, I think, were really kind of suffering during that time and whether they were able to hang on and stuff. Because I know some that are in Seattle. But yeah, that's a interesting point because I think a lot of people will like to have that second option that you can go between your house and your office as needed versus going back to an office full-time. So yeah, makes a lot of sense.
All righty. Let's talk podcasting. We're doing that just because we have Matt on and Matt's life is podcasting. Well, not his entire life, but a good chunk of it.
Matt: 98% of it really.
The value of a podcast for product builders or an agency [06:35]
Bob: 98%. Okay. We'll break down that 2% later. So our audience are builders. People that do products and people that run agencies. Where do you find the value? I mean, anyone thinking, "I'm going to start a podcast," or, "I'm thinking of starting one," they're thinking of resources, time, do I have anything worth talking about. In those two particular areas, just a general idea of where the value really lies for someone building products or someone running an agency and doing a podcast?
Matt: There's a lot that podcasting intersects with when you're building a product or running a service business. There's the obvious things that everyone says, is you have to do content, you need to draw eyeballs to your brand, SEO, et cetera. A lot of really well-known content creators are always talking about how you should be thinking like a media agency with a lot of this stuff. A lot of that is this grand vision, but a lot of it defaults to I'm either going to do YouTube or I'm going to do podcasting or I'll just hit this perfect stride of streaming audio and video at the same time. But then a lot of organizations are looking for community. Like how do we build community around our product? More so on the product side than maybe on the services side. But how do we build this audience or this community for folks that take action, give us feedback about products, and how we're doing and how do we get them hyped up to spread the word and make them become our super fans or our own cheerleaders for our products and services?
These areas, content, community, awareness, podcasting is a great place to set that foundation because audio is generally much easier to create, to produce, and to invest in than maybe video. Video is the holy grail to go after, but there's just a lot of production. It's a different format. It's a different medium. Podcasting, you get a $99 microphone or anywhere around that range and you're pretty good to go with creating decent audio quality. Then drumming up community comes right alongside of that, right? The great thing about podcasting is you're creating this voice, this message, you're probably leading with some kind of opinion, and the audience gravitates towards that.
I always tell podcasters that, or new podcasters, that the challenge isn't... A lot of people come to me. They go, "How am I going to start a podcast? Nobody's going to listen to it." Eventually people listen. Eventually people start tuning in. Brad and I know that really well with one of our throwaway podcasts that we do. Eventually people start to listen.
Really, the challenge is what are you going to do when that audience shows up. So flip that positive reinforcement a little bit there. Don't worry about no one's going to listen, people will listen. What are you going to do when they show up? For brands, product brands especially, getting somebody to take action in a community is usually the first step, right? It's not just create a community and everything... build it and they will come kind of thing. You still have to create cause and action, and a podcast is a great way to do that.
Then all of that residual benefit is you're creating content, you're creating awareness. It's going into a blog post, it's going to somebody's podcast app. You might be republishing it to YouTube. That's checking all the boxes for content creation along the way. So you might lead with any one of these three pillars from the start, strategically creating content or strategically trying to create community or strategically getting your voice and awareness out there. But you'll get these two other benefits along the way, which is really powerful. I think podcasting is a great medium for that.
With a product, just ship it, but with a podcast [10:35]
Brad: It's never been easier to podcast right now. This is the easiest time it's ever been to podcast. You can go to anchor.fm, literally click record, start talking, and click publish and it can just push out to all the different services, right? So very low bar to entry. When you talk about... If you line up podcasts, you look at products, things like that, there's always that, around the product space, the idea of just ship it. Right? Get version one out the door. Version one's the hardest one to release, right? It's the hardest one you can iterate, right? I'm curious on your thoughts. Do you think people need to go in with a really well thought out, highly produced plan on day one or do you recommend just start? Figure out the topic, dive in, and tighten it up as you go, but just release version one. Get it out there and iterate. What is your guidance, especially to new people in the space, as far as that goes?
Matt: First of all, Anchor, let's throw that company right out of the conversation. You can start a free podcast using Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin and host it right on WordPress. Then when you're ready to take it to the next level, you call me at castos.com. You can host your podcast for as little as $19 a month.
So look, yes. A lot of people love the gear in podcasting, right? Bob and I always sort of going back and forth on Twitter about what's the cool microphone, what's a cool audio editing tool. All of these things. A lot of people get caught up in the gear to get started because that's the easy thing. You can fantasize over it. You can read reviews. You can watch YouTube videos. You can set yourself a budget. You can lust after a $700 microphone and be like, "Oh, someday I'm going to buy that thing." But that's not it. For most of us, 100 bucks USB microphone, pick any one of those that would come in that price range on Amazon, and you're good to go. Far better than a headset microphone or something like that.
Yes, you want to get this thing out there because this is a practice, right? You get better over time. You're only going to get better the more you ship. However, as long as you have... What you must have is this passion to get better. So it's one thing to just say, "Yeah, ship it." But you really can't ride that for 50 episodes because you will lose an audience.
For example, there is a bunch of marketers that I follow who I really respect on Twitter. In the middle of the pandemic, these few that I'm thinking of in my head, which I won't say out loud, launched podcasts. They did the whole ship it thing. Let's just get it out there and see what happens. But they're literally recording using their laptop microphone in a room that's 20 foot ceilings and it's echo-y and they're interviewing other people who are doing the same thing. It's fine for the first few episodes if you're trying to get it out there and the conversation's really good so you're invested as a listener, but man, you have to take it a step up. You have to constantly pursue this higher level of quality.
That doesn't mean you spend tens of thousands of dollars. It's that you care a little bit more every episode. You'll hear the echo. You'll listen to your show. You hear it every day. I do that with my podcast and I try to find new ways to get just a little bit better. Because the kiss of death is that you never get better and then competition rolls in and somebody's off listening to a new episode, a new flavor of the month. Right? And you lose your audience.
So you always want to care a little bit more, both in the audio and more importantly, in the content, in the conversation, which always goes under the radar because that's the hardest thing. That's the hardest part about being a creator, is the content and being able to do that, especially in a business setting. That's the challenge.
Brad: I mean, it's fair points. I'm sure we've all listened to a podcast where it's a podcast we know, we like it, and then they bring on a guest and they're talking through two cups on a string. Right? You're like... You try to ride it out for a few minutes and you're like, "Nope. Can't. I'm not going to do this for an hour. Next episode," or whatever. You leave. Right? So honestly, I would put that above maybe even what you're talking about because at some point. It just disconnects you, like you said, so much from it. I's like, yeah, I don't want to listen to a podcast where someone's in a busy restaurant, right? It gives me anxiety thinking about it. So I 100% agree. Invest in it. It's okay to kick the tires.
The first time I ever did a podcast, well, "podcast," it was me and my buddy. I've been podcasting regularly for over a decade now. This was 13, 14 years ago. Me and my buddy in his garage recorded a local little podcast where we just talked about a couple topics. Right? Just picked a couple topics and said, "Let's just record and see what happens." Then we listened back to it. I never released it, but that was the first dabble of doing it, was just do it and see how it comes out. I learned a lot from that. I also learned I actually... this is exciting to me and this is fun and I want to get better and I want to keep doing it. So yeah.I mean, those are great points for anyone starting out.
Matt: Even if you're a business owner and you're listening to this now and you're selling WordPress plugins or add-ons for WooCommerce or whatever, if you say, "Oh, God, I'm never going to start a podcast anyway," well, hopefully you're still listening to this. But if you're going to grow your business, one of the best ways you can grow your business is to hop on a podcast. So invest in a mic. Even if you're not going to host your own podcast, buy the microphone and have it ready because you're going to do an online conference, you're going to do a podcast interview, you're probably going to do a voiceover explainer video of your product. So just invest the 100 bucks. It's well worth it.
BobWP: Hey BobWP here and I’d like to take a moment to thank to of our Pod Friends for their support of Do the Woo.
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And now let's head back to the show.
Packaging your podcast as part of your agency [18:05]
Bob: Yeah. That's a good point. One of the things I wanted to ask you about agency side and if you think this really matters is if an agency is doing a blog.. That's how they're putting content out and they're talking to their potential customers that way, what value does it bring in when they or if they decide to do a podcast? Because to me, I can read a blog post time and time again, and yeah, I kind of get a feel, but if I'm listening to this person at this agency talk week after week or how often they do it, I may grow a little bit of trust because I feel like I'm actually hearing them a little bit more personally and that may inspire me to move towards them or ask them about a potential job versus just learning about their voice through written content.
Matt: So I think a lot about packaging. When you think about Apple or any other great hardware product and you think about the packaging that the materials or the product comes in and the materials you get and just all of that stuff, that presentation, that experience that rolls into packaging, I think about that a lot with podcasting. I think about it certainly a lot with agency life. The way that somebody experiences an agency and the packaging around that. Everything is very, very important if you're in a hyper competitive space and you need to land jobs.
When I started my agency, that is literally how I grew it. It's literally how I met Brad. It's literally how I met you, Bob, was through the podcast. Everyone says that. Everyone who's a podcaster or recommending people start a podcast, they talk about building your network out and thought leadership, et cetera, et cetera. It's very true. I like to think of it as the luck surface area where the more stuff you put out, the more people that you meet. Podcasting can bring you new opportunities. So if you're an agency, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to always get client work from it, although that is a large part of that luck surface area that you're putting out or that you're affording yourself, but you're meeting other people, they're hearing your show, you might get somebody to apply for a job once you start meeting these people. Like you said, Bob, you're building up trust.
When I started my agency, nobody knew me, but I knew in order to compete in the WordPress world where it was so heavily influenced by relationships, especially 15 years ago where people knew each other and business was just going to people that they knew because that's how WordPress worked at the time, WordPress Projects anyway. I said, "How am I going to meet these people? How am I going to bust in the room and get noticed?" That was with the podcast.
After 30 or 40 episodes, I don't remember the exact number, and the iTunes reviews started rolling in, I started to leverage that content as a sales tool so that when customers were starting to find us organically, knocking on the door, and they said, "Hey, I've never heard of you. How do you compete against WebDevStudios for example?" I could say, "Look, we don't have the portfolio that WebDev has of clients, but what I can point you to is this social proof of a podcast, the reviews on iTunes, and all of these episodes that I've done about, let's say, customer experience, how we sell websites, how we support websites and you can literally hear how the sausage is made in this episode. If you don't like it, we probably shouldn't do business. But, by the way, it's the highest rated podcast about WordPress on iTunes. Yours truly, Matt." And then use that as a sales tool.
Look, you have to do something. If you're in the service space and you don't have the portfolio yet or you're just looking for that edge in sales, it's another thing to point to and that's how I see it play out in agency life.
Brad: It definitely speaks to thought leadership too, right? We have a very active blog. We have for years. It's a big part of our marketing strategy, is to have good content. A lot of our content comes direct from our developers and they're writing about maybe a new technology they're using or how they solved a particular challenge. Most likely, that's not speaking to our clients. Most likely that's speaking to the developers in the industry that we're putting some thought out there, we're putting some ways we solve problems out there. But it does position us to be... we're thought leadership within the community, within the industry. We're not just out there talking about look at all these sites we launched.
We're like, "Oh, look at this cool new technology we're using," or, "Oh, this is how we solved this kind of unique and complex problem," that, to your point, Matt, we can use as good content when we're talking to new leads and people come in and say, "Okay, well, why are you better than Matt?" Well, let me tell you. We may not have a podcast, but we have considered that podcast for that very reason too. So I do agree. I know a few agencies that have regular podcasts and they've been doing it for years and it's clearly a good strategy for them or I got to believe that they wouldn't continue to do it for that long.
Bob: Yeah, that's interesting because I have often thought on that side of things that just hearing that voice and getting that little bit closer personal relationship with that person, whether, like you said, Matt and Brad, it's a partner, it's just getting information out to other developers, other agencies, or a potential client, that it's such a huge piece that could really buff things up. So yeah, that's interesting. Actually, just talking through this, that it occurred to me.
Being a guest on podcasts [24:10]
Now, let's go on the flip side of things because, Matt, you know you and I get all these emails from people. I don't think people even know what WooCommerce is and they want to be on the podcast. I'm not going to have you give etiquette to the whole world, but somewhere, you said, "Okay, if you're going to be on a podcast, you should have a good mic. Well, have something. Spend 100 bucks. That's worth the investment." How do you recommend these freelancers, builders, agency people to approach podcasters? Really, what's in your mind as far as what's the best way? You want to be on these podcasts. Where do I start?
Matt: Yeah. So let's cheat a little bit and what I'll do is share the same advice that I would share with somebody starting a podcast on how to create a great narrative for the show. Then we'll repurpose that for the person who wants to be on the show. So when podcasters come to me and they've been running interview shows for a while, they'll say, "Hey, look. My audience isn't growing. How do I get more listeners? How do I just grow this podcast?" Again, a lot of them are thinking from the surface. What's the magic bullet to make my chart go up?
First is evaluate the content. It's always about the content. Nobody wants to hear it. "Hey, I want to lose weight." "Well, how much pizza do you eat a week?" "I eat a pizza every night." "Well, stop eating the pizza." "I love pizza." "Too bad. Put the pizza away." You have to evaluate that content and, again, always press yourself. I'll preface this by saying you don't have to do all of this stuff at once, but you should certainly think about it, improve it over time. Okay.
So great storytelling in a podcast. Even if it's an interview show, what we want to do is we want to uncover the tension of a conversation. The tension doesn't always have to be this negative thing, right? It doesn't have to always be a struggle. But where is the tension in somebody's story, right? You set off to slay this dragon that is stopping you from growing your business, whatever that might be.
Or you have learned a new skillset, you're hiring people, and the business is growing positive direction, but the tension is I have now become a developer who is running a business and I'm becoming a manager and a CEO, and we start to break that story down, identify that tension. Then how did you overcome that tension? Where did you thwart that dragon? How did that happen? What went into that story? The hero's journey. What went into that moment that really allowed you to see the horizon or are we still battling with that tension and we're still trying to figure out how we're going to overcome it? But there's a lesson there for the listener. Right? For the listener that's listening to that particular podcast. Then when you return to the kingdom that you set off to thwart the dragon, what kind of riches did they spoil you with when you came back and they found out that you slayed the dragon? What is the lesson? What's the outcome? What's the takeaway that this audience, listener, can have?
The biggest challenge is people come loaded with too many things. Right? So they're like, "Hey..." Like me. It's human nature where you come in, you're like, "I can talk about podcasting, sales, marketing, content, raising three kids, crypto, NFTs. I can talk about anything." You come in with all this stuff and then the podcast host, the novice podcast host says, "Let's talk about everything." Then they open up the show and they say, "So, Bob, tell us about yourself," and then it's five minutes or 10 minutes of Bob just telling us about everything. As a podcast host, you need to steer that guest into that one mission critical tension or part of the story you want to focus on.
So if you're pitching a podcast host to be a guest, you lead with that one amazing thing that you know can be just super awesome, valuable takeaway for the podcast host to present to their audience. Always know that when you're pitching a podcast host, they should be putting their audience first and foremost. So never lose sight of that. Don't make it about this awesome new product you have or how your product is going to solve your customers' demands. Find the part, thread in that story that's going to be super valuable to the host. That's how you would kill two birds with one stone with that.
Then listen to the podcast host episodes, damn it. Listen to our episodes. At least have the decency to listen to the last episode before you pitch. Do a little quick background check. Check out the about page. Look at their Podchaser reviews. Look at their iTunes reviews. Really, it only takes 10 minutes to do a full investigation of somebody's podcast and who they talk to and where they're going. Spend a little time there.
Third, just, it doesn't have to be forceful. Right? It doesn't have to be this wall of text that you send me. I'll tell you right now, if you open up with, "I'm the virtual assistant for so-and-so who's been on Forbes," delete. Because there's absolutely zero relationship and rapport that I want with this person. I mean, if somebody knocked on the door and it was like, "Hey, I'm," whatever, "I'm the assistant to Kevin Hart and he wants to come on your show," okay. You got my attention. But nine times out of 10, I'm just hitting delete on the virtual assistant that reaches out and especially if it's just this ambiguous throwaway pitch. Not really having it. So think of the story, think of the tension, what awesome thing can we tell in this conversation, do some background research, and don't send me spam.
Bob: My criteria is do they mention WooCommerce in it? If they can at least mention it once... I mean, even fake it. Try to be genuine. Yeah, so I can just send back and say, "Define WooCommerce," and then, of course, they wouldn't know what I'm talking about. But I totally get what you're saying.
The pre-podcast interview [30:47]
Brad: If I could just touch on the interview thing, I think one thing I learned over this, well, I shouldn't say learned, one thing I've definitely noticed in doing podcasts for so many years and doing interviews with Bob and with Matt and doing one-on-one interviews on shows, I mean, having a guest on your show and having a good interview is like an art form. The ones who do it so well make it look so easy. You look at like a Howard Stern or Joe Rogan or even a David Letterman, and forget what you think about them, but they're amazing interviewers, right? The flow of the conversation is the interview and it almost feels completely unforced and they're just generally curious, but they get stuff out of people and they do it in this very non-aggressive way and people just kind of open up.
I've always respected those three in the sense of they're good at interviews, right? I've gone through interviews and it could be a challenge. Like you said, hey, tell us about yourself. Like okay. Then they go on for five minutes. That's not that exciting, right? It's more about let's dig into it a little bit more and really ask pointed questions. But what advice do you have around that? Because anyone that's done it or thinking about doing it will quickly realize that it's much harder than the greats make it look like. You're very good at it too, Matt. You flow. It's more of a conversation versus you holding a piece of paper with Q&A. It's just such an art form that it feel like it can be intimidating and maybe not even as obvious that it is as difficult because so many people are good at it that we're used to hearing.
Finding guests [32:20]
Matt: Yeah. So a few things that I've incorporated since I started my job at Castos, and I'm actually responsible for the success of podcast shows with our customers, so I started thinking about it a little bit more than just, hey, I'm going to start a podcast like I do. Number one is when you're getting guests, I would say, at least for the Matt Report Show and even when I do the Audience Podcast at Castos, 98% of the guests that I book are because I'm genuinely curious of what they're doing. There is no strategy. There is a story arc that I think of. Like I think about resiliency, especially over the last year and a half. I'm really interested in having those conversations. I look at that as the 50,000 foot view. Is there a great story about resiliency and surviving this new world, et cetera, et cetera?
But the people that I get on is I see something happen, literally I see something happening on Twitter or the Slack channel over here, this conversation that's happening, and I say, "Yes, I'm interested to see what the heck they're doing there." I generally pick somebody that I don't have all the answers to what they're doing in that space. I've been interviewing a lot of no-code people lately because I don't spend a lot of time in it. It's very interesting to me. I'm generally curious. That's actually what... My lack of knowledge of that space is what I hope helps me ask better questions and brings things out from the guests.
A strategic thing that you can do is having pre-interviews. So if I don't know the person, one of the things I do now is I set up a pre-interview first where it's a 10, 15 minute call maximum. You're not asking all the questions of an interview, but you're getting to know the person, you're giving them the logistics of what's going to happen in a podcast. Mic check, light check, that kind of thing. Then that's where I try to find the tension. I say, "Hey, look, I really want one, two things maximum that's really great from your background. Can you tell that for me?" Right there, I'm taking notes. I'm actively taking notes during that call. I tell them, "You're going to hear me typing because I'm taking notes." I want to find this tension.
They'll go on and they'll give me the background, et cetera, et cetera. I'll just write about a bunch of stuff. Generally after the show, I'll find the threads, the common threads where I really want the story to be. What that does is it cuts out all the fat from when you first hit record on the actual interview that happens. A week, two weeks later, you're skipping all the niceties. You're skipping all that, oh, let's build that rapport and that cautiousness that lot of people have, like what do I say, how do I approach this person, you've already cracked the egg and you're ready to go.
I also use SavvyCal as another strategy point. I use SavvyCal where I'll do up to three pre-interviews a week, but one interview a week. Basically, when I send somebody the link, obviously they can't book the interview the same week, they can't book a pre-interview and then do the interview the same week, so a little automation stuff there. That really helps with the mental bandwidth.
Then as a host, what I'm always thinking is setting the guideposts. Right? You think of somebody listening to the show. You're trekking up a mountain. You want to see the mile markers. You want to know where you're at. It's this constantly reinforcement to usher the guest along and also let the audience member know as if they were following you walking up this mountain, like looking at you from this third person perspective. Here's where we're at. Now, I'm helping this person get up the mountain. We've set the tension. Okay, now lead me down this other path.
You have to be active and aware of that. So you have to be cutting the guest off politely, moving them, and getting through that story. Because that's what's most important, is that audience member who is watching off to the side, and you're constantly reinforcing where we're at in the story. Okay? Hey, Brad used to work for batteries.com and now we're here with WebDevStudios and we're talking about growing an agency. He crossed his first million in revenue and here's where we're at next. They'll tell me about hiring a COO or something like that and we're just constantly just pushing that through so the audience knows where we're at.
Brad: Back to that point about the pre-interview, if you will. That's a really great idea because it's always obvious when you listen to a podcast when there's friends on it, right? When there's people that know each other beyond just that episode. Like they know each other, whether they're good friends, whether they just know each other off and on, whatever. There's a rapport that you just pick up on. It's a more smooth conversation. It's no different than three of us right now talking, right? Because we know each other. We've known each other for years. Extremely hard to replicate that with someone you just met for the first time five minutes before you go on live.
So I think to your point, Matt, that's a genius idea to break the ice, get through all the niceties, start to build a rapport off air basically, so that way, when you do come back and hit that record button, it feels way more natural, way smoother. Maybe it feels like you've been friends for a year even though you just had a quick conversation with them. I think that's a really smart way to amp up those interviews, especially if you're just getting started with people you're interviewing that you don't know.
Matt: Yeah. You find out a lot. You get to build the question list after you chat with them. Real inside baseball stuff for other podcasters is how do I... You don't want a podcast that sounds scripted. Sometimes you can have a great person, you can have a great pre-interview, but they're not a really good podcast interview because they either... The hardest podcast interviews are the ones that don't give you enough content. You ask a question and they're like, "Yeah, we sold it for $79 when the plugin launched and then we put it on wordpress.org and it was free." And you're like, "Okay," and you're trying to push-
Brad: We've done a couple interview like that, right, Bob?
Matt: You're trying to push this conversation along. There's a benefit to having that pre-interview right there because oftentimes, what I'll do is if I don't have a good flow, you might hear this in some of my own interviews where I'll say, "Okay, in the pre-interview when we chatted, which felt like months ago, you talked about how the marketing of your product... Can you go deeper on that?" You can kind of push these people along. You don't always have to. Sometimes people feel the need to be, I don't know, just like really smooth the edges. You don't. You can say, "I'm looking at my list of questions when we chatted in our pre-interview," and that can be your hard transition into the next thing. It doesn't have to be this sly, kind of slick interview all the time. You can literally pull from that if you have to to make transitions with hard guests. So yeah, the pre-interview does pay off in many different ways.
Brad: Well, the challenge will be when you actually interview more known people. Matt, I know you've interviewed Jason Calacanis. Pretty well-known person in the tech industry. Has been for a long, long time. I would be nervous doing an interview like that. Typically, I would imagine you're not going to get a pre-interview with someone like that, right? You're going to get one shot, one go. But again, someone like that is a professional who's done probably thousands of interviews, so he's a very chatty guy.
The nerve-wracking episode [39:47]
Matt: Yeah. That was a nerve-wracking episode. He tweeted out that he was doing podcast interviews for his book Angel when it came out like four or five years ago, whenever that was. He's like, "DM me if you want me to be on your show." So I DM-ed him. I said, "I want you to be on my show, Matt Report. Blah, blah, blah." Gave him all the stats, told him what space I was in. Then his assistant reached out and she asked me a couple other questions via email and then I waited a couple days. I was like, "Oh, God, they're not going to say yes." She came back. She's like, "Yeah, he'll be on your show. He's going to be in New York. He's going to text you on this cellphone number when he's back in his hotel room from a conference that he's at." Then he texts me. He's like, "Hey, Matt. I'm ready to go," and I send him a link.
That was nerve-wracking because I had no background and he's texting me and I had to send him the text through... I record on my Windows PC. I'm like, "Oh, shit. I got to send it to him on iOS." I had my laptop out. It was pretty nerve-wracking to say the least, but it was a great conversation.
Brad: Yeah. Actually, a little fun fact, Jason Calacanis probably in some weird way is the reason I got into WordPress. So could even say maybe he's the reason I started WebDevStudios and I'm still doing it today. Because I met him and I saw him speak at Search Engine Strategies in Chicago. I think it was like 2006. That is when I learned about WordPress and I learned that I need a blog. Everybody had a blog but me. I was like, "I need a blog." That night, was the first time I ever downloaded WordPress. I set up a blog and the rest is history. So a little fun fact there, that he indirectly steered me into WordPress and I got my career.
Matt: When I started my podcast, I was heavily influenced, literally copied Andrew Warner from Mixergy because that was the podcast that I was listening to at the time. I was like, "Oh, maybe I'll become the Mixergy of WordPress. Blah, blah, blah." I literally started copying how he did intros, how he did this thing. Back then when startups were just everywhere and the money, and it's still crazy money today, but back then, you were just like, "Wow, you can make money starting this technology business," his thing was just asking people about revenue. I was like, "I'm going to do the same thing coming into WordPress." People weren't making any money sizably at the time.
But early on in my podcast career this is the only other time I've been nervous, was when I interviewed Brian Clark of Copyblogger because I think he had tweeted something about doing his first million with the blog and I remember wanting to go into that show asking about a million dollars in revenue. How do you cozy up to somebody you just don't know at the time and be like, "So tell me how you made your million dollars?" It was challenging. That's a lesson in me forcing content that I was really just copying from somebody else. I had this thing. I'm like, "I'm going to do what somebody else is doing because that's never how to get uniqueness."
Bob: Yeah, Brian was one for me too and Pat Flynn was another one, when I had him on.
Matt: Yeah, Pat.
Bob: But anyway, my influence was a guy called Matt Medeiros . He kept badgering me to start a podcast. I did this really crappy one for a year and I don't give Matt credit for our crappy podcast, but I did attempt it for a year and then I finally kind of evolved things. But yeah, this guy just kept bugging me about it and I was like either do that or I got to live with this in my entire life, so I chose podcasting.
Matt: Have you had more podcasts or more podcast cohosts?
Brad: That's a good question.
Bob: Okay, I think the podcasts may out-beat the hosts, not sure. I think I've had about seven or eight or nine of them. So it's running almost neck to neck, so we'll see how that evolves here soon.
Matt: If the podcast fails, do these cohosts just disappear somewhere? Where do they go?
Brad: Yeah, we'll come knocking on your door, Matt. We need cohost. We're itching.
Yeah, I mean, the last thing I'll say is if you're new and getting into it, the great thing about WordPress is it's just a very open and inviting community. I'm assuming if you're listening to this, you probably know the WordPress community in some fashion, so reach out. Everybody's very helpful. Matt, Bob, myself. There's more podcasts now than I think there ever has been around WordPress. I'm not saying you have to write your podcast to be WordPress-related, but there's a lot of people out here that can give you advice.
I always recommend local meetups and stuff. Even though it's not a podcast per se, most meetups are still virtual. So if you have the opportunity to speak, maybe it's a lightning talk, maybe you sit on a small panel, you're doing it virtually. So just imagine the difference between that and recording a podcast. They're not too dissimilar. There's a lot of similarities there and it can start to get the wheels turning, it can start to get you out of your comfort zone, which you need to do. You got to push yourself a little bit like you said, both of you, not myself included.
I remember interviewing Matt Mullenweg one-on-one well early into when I was doing this and I was nervous about it. Sometimes you got to push yourself out of your comfort zone. So that can be baby steps to get to that, is work with your local meetup, your local groups, in a more comfortable environment. Or just learning to speak in public in general. That can be helpful.
So a lot of amazing resources out there, tools. Matt's doing this full-time for a job. He's there to make sure your podcast is successful, so you should reach out. He'll help you. That's his job. He'll get you on Castos.
Matt: Literally. Literally my job.
Bob: All righty. Well, yeah. Matt, so speaking of, where is the best place for people to reach out to you?
Matt: Castos.com. You can find me as the Director of Podcaster Success. If you're looking to start your podcast, you can start your 14-day free trial. Download the Seriously Simple Podcast plugin from WordPress. Start a podcast for free. Don't use the A-word. Start with Castos. Castos.com. You can also find me at craftedbymatt.com. Everything I do is at craftedbymatt.com.
Bob: All righty. Well, appreciate you taking the time, Matt, to join us.
Matt: Thanks for having me, gentlemen.
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