In this episode of Talk Marketing Made Easy, we talk with Alex Sanfilippo the founder of PodPros and PodMatch. He shares tips on how to be a great interview guest. He also explains how PodMatch can help you find guest opportunities.
John McDougall: Welcome. This is John McDougall with Talk Marketing Made Easy, and I’m here today with Alex Sanfilippo of PodPros and PodMatch. And he’s the founder. Welcome, Alex.
Alex Sanfilippo: John, thank you again for having me. I really appreciate it. Thoroughly enjoyed our last conversation, so excited to jump back into it.
John: Yeah, absolutely. We have another episode on Podcast Interview Tips with Alex, so check that out. And today, we’re going to be talking about how to be a guest on podcasts. So tell us a little bit about your podcasting books and why you wrote those.
Alex: Yeah, sure. Definitely. Last time we interviewed, I got into it a lot, so I encourage everybody, go back and listen to that. Because these episodes go really well together. But to give the overview, I’m one of 30 authors that was involved in it. It was presented to me from the PodMatch community specifically, and they said, “Hey, we love this product. Can we write a book about it and you be involved?”
And long story short, I end up writing the acknowledgements page and the introduction, and then, reviewing all the content and things like that. And loved it. Learned a lot myself. Grew from it, as a podcast guest and host. And real quick, if you didn’t catch the last interview, PodMatch is a service that works literally just like a dating app, but instead of connecting people for dates, it connects people for podcast interviews.
So if you are someone who has a skillset and you’re saying, “I want to talk about this on a podcast as a guest,” it’ll automatically match you with a host, who says, “that’s the guest I’m looking for.” And vice versa. And that’s exactly how it works. And these books are just to support either side of the mic. So how to become a better podcast guest and how to become a better podcast host. And like I said, in that last episode, we talked about the hosting side. I know John that we’re getting into being a podcast guest, so I’m looking forward to diving into that.
What Is a Good Guest for a Podcast?
John: What makes a good guest to be on a show?
Alex: So straight out, I think that the first thing that I look for is somebody that has a true authority on a topic, and they understand how to keep it on that topic. What I mean by that, to explain that a little bit further, is, let’s imagine I like surfing. I like working out. I like podcasting. I like entrepreneurship. I like software, and I love movies.
If I jump on a podcast and I talk about all of those things, I’m probably not going to be a good guest, because that’s a random rambling of a conversation. A good guest says, “Hey, I like all these things, and I can tie two or three of them together in a way that really adds value to this specific audience. And I can do that in a pointed way, where they’re going to have tangible takeaways.” A guest that can do that tactfully is a guest that I want on my show every single time.
Pepper in Personal Details for Spice
John: To keep it mostly focused on that expert level information, but spicing it up, as opposed to getting sidetracked.
Alex: Exactly. I once interviewed an executive at Amazon. He was their C-Suite level. No offense, and I actually told him this, because he is very open to feedback, he was extremely boring. Because the only thing I knew about him was that he had nothing to talk about other than being an executive at Amazon.
And at first, we’re like, “Ooh, wow, an Amazon executive, that’s huge.” It’s super boring. It’s big corporate. So there’s not a lot of fun and excitement that comes in. He didn’t have any stories. He didn’t talk about how his hobby kept him going. There was nothing like that. It was straight in the business. “Here are five business tips I’ve learned from the boring job at Amazon.” And so, again, really great experience but if he could have just tied in how, ‘Hey, I make people laugh every Friday by coming in dressed like funky,” or something like that.
Bringing something in tasteful that shows the personality, goes a really long way. So I’m with you. Pepper in the little thing that you enjoy on the side. So for me, I actually really enjoy fitness. I enjoy working out. So I always have funny and stupid stories about that, that I’ll work into interviews when people are asking about my life journey, but I’ll keep it focused on podcasting. Because that is all I talk about.
John: You should have maybe some huge microphones that you have designed to look like weights or something.
Alex: See, there is an idea right there. You know you talk about marketing made easier…
John: Microphone on either side, like on the barbell, you could easily have that Photoshopped, man. That’s a good YouTube short.
Alex: I love that idea.
Make Sure Your Tech Is Working
John: So what about stories? Like we, one time, we were doing a webinar, and the power spiked or something, the laptop went down, chaos, literally 40 seconds before the webinar started. We had to reboot. We managed to let people know in an email and then, get back up. It was crazy. Have you had guest experiences or any horror shows?
Alex: Real quick. The thing I’m most scared of on either side of the mic is the technology. I have a great mic here. Tomorrow, this thing could say, “I’m not working, I’m not doing it,” and I have no control over that. So the tech is what scares me the most, because you never know. Or this was a couple months ago, me and another industry expert, he was a ticketed event, and I was the keynote for it.
He brought me in, and while I was there, three minutes in, everything just went out, which never happens where I’m at. That’s the first time in years. But it was so bad that it wasn’t just my internet and everything. My cell phone didn’t even work. Nothing. It was a full blackout on my grid. I’m in Jacksonville, Florida. I’m not in some small town. There was no storm.
And so, he’s over here trying to call me and text me, figure out where I’m at. My phone isn’t even working. And I walked outside. Everybody, all the businesses, everything was a full blackout. And it’s funny how much we rely on the internet, because I’m like, “Wow, literally, everything I do is on the internet.” But that was one of those things.
There was nothing I could do about that. And so, four hours later, when everything came back on, I was like, “I am so sorry.” He’s like, “what the heck happened? People paid to hear you.” And I was like, “everything shut down. If you don’t believe me, here’s some news articles about how the entire city just went black.” And anyway, so for what that’s worth, that stuff freaks me out. Because again, you legitimately have no control of it and you just never know when your computer’s like, “not today, Alex.”
Stay Focused on the Topic
John: I think actually the interview this morning, you got to check your settings every time, because sometimes your other mic or your laptop mic takes over and you can hear yourself. But do you hear yourself present enough, step closer to the mic or whatever? So little workflows, right? What are some other sort of mistakes that guests make?
Alex: So first off, I think the most important thing I’m podcasting on either side of the mic is delivering on the promise it’s made specifically by the podcast and the title and description of the episode. And that sounds like a lot. But the title of this show is Talk Marketing Made Easy.
And I’m not exactly sure what you’ll make the title, because we’re recording it right now. But if it’s about being a guest on a podcast and I go on a story tangent talking about something in my childhood that doesn’t reinforce, again, that does not directly reinforce the point that we’re trying to make, then I’m not delivering on the promise. So it’s very important, and this is probably a guest tip as well, so hopefully, you went back and listened to the last one, but making sure that the expectation is set up front.
And John, I got to say, you do such a good job with this, not just with me. You gave me a rough outline of where we’d probably go, so that I know the expectation of, “okay, I know exactly where I’m going with this conversation, what’s going to add value to the audience.” But also, just to give you a shout out, I listened this morning to episode 12 of your show, 012 with Rock from SquadCast, with some podcast tips and tricks. I can tell that both of you knew the intent of that episode. It shined through the whole thing. So again, as the guest, if the host does that, don’t be like, “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, sure, I know what I’m going to talk about.” Because a lot of guests do that, and they just start ranting. It’s like, “well, that’s definitely not the direction the host was trying to go in.”
Being a good guest means being in tune with what the host wants. Even if the host doesn’t do a good job, try to figure it out. But as the guest saying, “okay, I know the promise that we’re supposed to deliver to the listener, let’s make sure we deliver it with excellence. So when they leave, they feel inspired, they feel equipped and further along than they were before.”
Even if it’s just to make them laugh, if it’s a comedy podcast or something sports related, deliver on the promise that’s being made. It’s not always just straight up education. It could be something more simple than that, but make sure that you know what it is and that you do your part, which is a large part of it. Because if it’s a good podcast host, they’re going to talk about 10% of the time, and the rest of the 90% is you, the guest. So make sure that you’re fulfilling the promise that the host wants you to make.
Listen to Previous Episodes Before Your Interview
John: Yeah, and I’m just mirroring back that shout out to you. You look at how you prepared to say, “Hey, episode 12, it was X, Y, Z,” and how you brought that back to the topic of this particular episode. So that’s, I think, tying it back professionally as opposed to going way off on tangents.
Alex: Real quick, that’s another little side tip there. I try to do that with every podcast I’m on, if I really like it. I feel bad for saying this, but if you listen to a podcast and I don’t shout out a previous episode, maybe I didn’t care for it. I’m not why. Integrity is very important.
But I legitimately listened to multiple episodes of your show before I was on it. Because I wanted to, again, be prepared, be ready, understand the promise we’re delivering on. And so, I just made notes along the way. I learned stuff. So I’m like, “You know what? I learned stuff from episode 12. Rock is a great speaker. SquadCast is an incredible program to actually podcast through.”
And I was like, “I’m going to mention it. If it comes up, I’m going to mention it.” And I think that’s a gift that a podcast host can give. I can tell you I only had two out of hundreds of episodes I’ve done, I’ve only had two guests ever do that for me. And I don’t just like it. Some of my listeners, “it was so cool that so-and-so shouted out a previous episode of your show.” It goes a long way and adds a little… It shows the host and reminds them, “Hey, you’re doing a good job. And people were hearing it.”
Using Podcasts to Promote Your Book
John: I immediately thought that was brilliant. So I’m going to follow suit and do more of that. So good on you for giving me a good one that I’m definitely going to use. What about promoting a book? You have two new books.
I’ve got a book called Talk Marketing just coming out, my third book. But I would like to hear a little bit about someone like Jack Canfield, who I met years ago, that wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul and started that whole series, and he sold a half a billion books and largely said it was from radio interviews. How could PodMatch help people with a book to promote it?
Alex: I do have to give a disclaimer. I don’t know if it’s going to help you with half a billion. I’m just not that big.
John: That’s not guaranteed. Oh my God, I’m taking my affiliate link down.
Use the Interview to Develop Like and Trust From the Audience
Alex: Those are not typical results. Let’s put it that way. Yeah, it’s going to help, because it provides a platform for you to share your expertise from the book. So what that means is, a lot of people who don’t know you won’t necessarily buy your book, but if they hear you and that you develop that know, like, and trust with them, and that’s what podcasting does, they might say, “you know what? This John guy, this is my people. I’m grabbing John’s book, because I know that me and John are so similar. Talk Marketing sounds great. I know I just need to grab it.”
Because you develop that relationship with them. Something that a lot of people miss on podcasting is that it’s not like social media. Nothing against social media. That’s fine. But it’s like talking to people that are sitting in seats. If you’re in a room full of 50 people and you’re on stage and they all want to be there and they want to hear you, that is powerful.
And so, imagine if you only have 50 listeners total, that’s still a powerful situation for an author to be in, because you get that opportunity to develop that know, like, and trust. And I think that alone right there, that is the power of it. And if someone like Matthew McConaughey, who jumped on, I think, 150 shows, a few years back, I don’t know exactly the year that it was, if he saw the power on that with getting his book out there, then that proves to me that the rest of us should probably be doing the same thing.
And I see a lot of people do very well as authors, because they use podcasting as a way to promote the book. And I say promote the book, they’re on there doing a hard pitch, they’re just sharing stories from it. They’re sharing little tidbits from it. And it’s enough to make someone who’s listening in the audience saying, “you know what? I like this person. I’m going to grab a copy of that book, because I can tell it’s going to benefit me positively.”
John: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, when I first was considering signing up for PodMatch, I looked at the reviews, and there was somebody that mentioned that they did 50 interviews about their book already and surpassed their book marketing goal, because of PodMatch. And I love that. That’s awesome. Right there, I was like, “that’s a really relevant…” There are a lot of other things to talk about in reviews of what you do well and all that, but I thought that one, that really clenched it for me.
Give a Very Singular Call to Action
Alex: I love that. If I could dive into that point a little bit further, I do see something that a lot of authors and new authors especially get wrong. And John, I’d love to hear your perspective, once I’m done answering this question, because you’re on your third book. So you’ve done this before. But something I noticed is a lot of people, talking about their book, they have a wrong call to action. So at the end, a very common thing is a host will say, “Hey, where can the listeners find your book or find out more about you?” And the author will say, “well, my website’s here. You can also follow me on social media and grab the book on Amazon.” I don’t think that that’s the most effective way to really drive sales. If there’s one thing I know about podcasting, it’s that people are listening. They’re not watching.
They’re usually driving, cleaning, doing something. And if you tell anybody who’s listening more than one thing, they typically can’t remember. And that’s not against them. It’s just, “Hey, they’ve got other things going on.” But if you give them one really powerful singular call to action, they can usually remember it and follow it. And even at that moment, take a note, but it shouldn’t be, “go to Amazon.” My suggestion is, have a catchy website title that gives them something, saying, “Hey, you know what? If you really enjoyed this interview and you want to find out more about the book, I actually want to give you the first chapter. I don’t even want your email address. You can download it, just by going to mybook.com/free.” Now, if I’m the listener and I’m like, “you know what? I like this person,” I’m going to jump straight there and go to it.
Once I’m downloading that, give them a link to get a discount on the book or to sign up for an email, where you’ll send them a direct link to it, whatever it might be, figure out the flow, if you will. But having that singular call to action, I find to be what separates someone from getting book sales and just finding people, who randomly on LinkedIn, are like, “Hey, I really enjoyed your conversation. Where’s the book at?” It’s having that singular call to action, I think, is a very powerful thing. And that goes beyond just authors. That’s for anything. I find that when you have that one place to send people, that’s what does the best. And John, I know I just rambled there a little bit, but I’m passionate about…
John: No, that was perfect. Yeah, no, and I really can’t follow that up any better, because I agree with you literally a hundred percent.
Alex: I love hearing that. That just made my day. Thank you.
John: I’m on that same thought. In the media, they do often say, media trainers will say, “just say, “you can get my book anywhere books are sold.”” And you hear that constantly on the media, but I think, in our world, in digital marketing land, it makes sense to give your site, from an SEO perspective, because that’s the primary thing we do in podcasting and videos through that.
But I like to get people back to our site. And I know Facebook doesn’t love that and YouTube doesn’t love that. So you have got to be a little cautious about sending people from social to your site.
But if they’re on, say, Apple Podcasts or whatever, I really like having a short URL for that reason. That’s why I paid good money for TalkMarketing.com and authoritymarketing.com, because they’re pretty quick. You can just throw it out there. So if you’re writing a funny book or… There was a guy that wrote How to Beat Speeding Tickets, and he got on every radio show and he has this whole series of How to Get on Radio Shows. But yeah, he’s got a website that he can easily just spit out and a cheap book that people can buy for short money. So I’m with you on that.
Alex: I love that. The only person I’ve heard that had a better answer than this, and I don’t think anybody listening, and nothing against any of us, because it’s tough. I had Seth Godin on my podcast at one point, and I was like, “Hey, Seth, where can listeners find out about you?” He goes, “just Google Seth.” And afterwards, I was like…
John: Nobody can beat that.
Alex: “I just Googled Seth and you’re the first two results.” I’m like, “how?” And he is like, “I’ve just been on the internet a long time.” I’m like, “my goodness.” So first name basis with Google, that’s the goal.
John: I’ve never heard that one before. Yeah, I don’t think that… Could you imagine? I’m like, “Hey, just search Google for John.” Oh, screw him. That’s awesome.
Alex: Seth from the Bible was the third result. And someone’s like the fifth person to ever be alive on Earth is lower in search results than Seth Godin. That’s pretty impressive.
John: I heard him speak at HubSpot INBOUND Conference one time. It was pretty cool.
Alex: Oh, he’s a legend. Love that guy.
Check Out PodMatch to Find Guest Spots
John: I’ve read The Dip and some other Seth books. What about the last question or little segment here would be on, more tactically, how do people book themselves as guests and find places to be interviewed on with your tool with PodMatch?
Alex: Yeah, so first off, I explained what PodMatch was, so I’ll give you the URL to that. I’m going to give you John’s link specifically, because it is always going to be the best deal you can get on PodMatch. If you go to PodMatch.com, you can find it, but I can’t always promise that would be the best deal.
But I can promise you, if you go to joinPodMatch.com/TalkMarketing, joinPodMatch.com/TalkMarketing, that will always be the best deal you can ever get. So I encourage you to go there, if you want to be a guest, host, or both. You have all those options, and this will definitely help. But you still have to do the outreach. Let me put it that way. The culture of podcasting has shifted in the last few years. During 2020, a lot of people started deciding, “Hey, I’m going to be a guest on podcasts.
That’s a good thing to do.” So the culture has shifted to less hosts that do outreach now. They kind of hit a certain point where they have so many guests coming to them, they get to pick who they want. So you have to be the guest that stands out among the rest. And I don’t mean you need to be doing anything crazy. You don’t need to set yourself on fire and show them how willing you are to burn for them. You don’t need to do anything like that. But what you can do is have a really good pitch. And so, on PodMatch, that’s the opening message. And John, if it’s okay, I’d love to quickly share just a few steps I always do.
Craft Meaningful Pitches That Lead With Value
Alex: So step one is to lead with value. Leading with value doesn’t mean talking about yourself. Leading value means talking about the host. And so, again, I mentioned I listen to a podcast before I go on it. I listen and I leave a five star rating and review on Apple, before I’m ever even pitching the podcast. So that way, when I reach out, I can say, “Hey John, want to let you know I listen to your podcast. I really loved episode 12 with Rock talking about SquadCast and some other podcasting tips.
And I liked it so much I left you a five star rating and review. Here it is. I just attached it.” Here’s the thing. If you start off that way, which I’ve only had one person ever do, out of the hundreds of people that have reached out to me on my show, they instantly had my attention, and I was already pre-positioned to be like, “this person’s probably going to be on my show, unless they’re crazy.” But that automatically gets attention.
Instead of saying, “I’m this, I’m that, I’m an expert, I can help you, I, I, I.” Lead with value is step number one. Number two is to make a meaningful request. A meaningful request simply means actually having a request. John, I can’t tell you how many pitches I get that I don’t even know what they are. I read it, and it’s like three paragraphs, which already is too long. Pro tip, keep it short. So that’s another point, right? Keep it short, please. So it’s really long, and I’m like, “there’s no asking here. I don’t know what this person wants from me.”
Have a clear ask in it. So you lead with value, you make a meaningful request. And what that means is, “John, I noticed that your podcast talks a lot about marketing, but you haven’t had anyone talking about being a podcast guest yet. I would be honored to come on your show and add value by being that guest.”
That is a meaningful request. It’s clear what I want. I set that expectation very well. So again, we’re going to start off with leading with value, make a meaningful request. Offer to share the episode when it’s out. Now, please don’t lie, have integrity in what you do, but if you are willing to share it, mention that you will. So for me, I do two things. I mention, “Hey, I’d like to link to it from my website.”
Because every time I’m a guest, we build out a blog post and we link to it from our website. And two, I’m going to share it on social media. So saying that really adds a lot of value to a host, because I’ll tell you what, I’d say probably only 10% of guests ever share an episode. So if you’re saying, “I’m going to be one of them,” be honest, that shows a host, “Okay, this person’s actually willing to collaborate with me. They’re willing to go a step above most people.”
And then, the last thing that I always tell people to say is just to make sure that you make it easy to say “no.” And I know that sounds weird, but be willing to basically be like, “Hey, if I’m not the right fit, no worries. I only want to be on the show if I can add value. Just let me know either way. Would love to have a conversation.” And by doing that, you give the host permission to break your heart without feeling like they’re really going to hurt your feelings too badly. And the reason I like to do that is because it opens a dialogue. So if I don’t do that and I’m not the right fit, you don’t even want to respond.
Like, “They put in so much work. Now I’m going to sound like a jerk for saying “no.”” Make it easy for them to say “no,” so you can join the conversation. Because guess what, six months from now, I might be the right guest. So if we keep that communication going, you never know when the right time happens. I find if you do these things, it works really well for you as a podcaster. And one bonus is, again, notice I didn’t mention talking about yourself, have a link. So again, if you’re using PodMatch, link to your PodMatch profile, or if you’re messaging someone on PodMatch, you don’t even have to mention it, because they already have somewhere to go. But instead of giving all your credentials, everything you’ve done, have a link to go to that. Because again, the key is keeping this as short as you possibly can. With that, John, I’m going to turn it back over to you. I know I just said a lot there.
John: No, but that was perfect. Awesome podcast guesting tips. And thank you so much for talking to us today, Alex. And so, what are your various websites? Because I know you have a whole bunch of cool stuff.
Check Out PodMatch.com/TalkMarketing
Alex: Yeah, sure. Like I said, if you are wanting to join PodMatch, joinPodMatch.com/TalkMarketing is where you can go. For everything else I do, you can just go to PodPros.com. That’s our parent company, and you can see everything I’m involved with and stuff like that. I will say it’s the only thing related to being a guest on a podcast is PodMatch.
My other services may not be of interest at this point, but go check it out, see what else we’ve got. I got some education and stuff there, but I encourage you to be there. But ultimately, I encourage everybody listening, stick with John. Talk Marketing Made Easy is a fantastic podcast. I’m really honored to have been a guest here today.
John: Thanks again, Alex, and everybody should check out PodMatch.com and PodPros. And Alex is just a phenomenal expert that you should follow, buy his books. I have them, and they’re not something you’re just going to kick over to the side after you read it. It’s really a reference. So check those out. And this has been Talk Marketing Made Easy with Alex Sanfilippo with PodPros and PodMatch. And see you next time on Talk Marketing Made Easy.