Building an audience for a podcast isn’t an easy task. So what do you need to remember when growing a podcast? We find out the recipe for success as Dr. Diane Hamilton sits down for a talk with Tony D’Urso, one of America’s top podcast hosts. Tony talks about his struggle in growing his audience and building his brand and gives tips on what to look out for if you want to do the same. A fun and informative episode that’s sure to be a hit for aspiring podcast hosts.
I’m glad you joined us because we have Tony D’Urso. He has the number one talk show on VoiceAmerica with more than 15 million or more downloads and it keeps going up. He’s the author of The Vision Map and so much more. It’s going to be a fascinating show.
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Do What You Love: Growing A Podcast From The Ground Up With Tony D’Urso
I am here with Tony D’Urso, who is one of the top podcasters in the country. He’s got the number one talk show on VoiceAmerica with more than 10 million downloads. He’s also a bestselling author. I was looking at your books, Tony. You’ve got so much you’re working on. You got The Vision Map. I’m not sure what we’re going to talk about because you’ve got a lot you’re working on. I wanted to welcome you to the show. I’d love to hear a little bit about your backstory of what led you to this level of success.
Thank you so much for having me on the show, Diane. It is an honor to be on your show and I look forward to speaking with you about some of these and helping some of your readers with some information that they want to podcast or write or whatever. I’ve got some information that will help them. To answer your question on how things started, I would probably say I’ve been in the corporate world or corporate life for many years. In the last corporate gig that I did, I helped form and start an insurance technology firm. I did the fundraiser with friends and family only and I raised $3.25 million in three months. I took the helm as the VP of Sales and Marketing and I focused on lead generation for the company, so I learned a lot about leads, marketing. This is in the year 2000, when the internet is embryonic in a way at the time. It’s still changing and l’m figuring out who and what it is going to be. I learned quite a bit about lead generation and marketing.
As the VP of Sales, when you’re working in corporate and making nice six figures, you’re still limited and pegged on your income. In the year 2007, I had the opportunity, Diane, to start my own lead generation company and I was in charge. I thought that would be a much better opportunity. I took that opportunity and I formed and started the lead generation company. It went great, but in the seven ensuing years, there were four major federal regulations that seriously impacted my business. Think of what happened in 2020 and how it seriously impacted business. During my seven years in lead generation, I had similar major things.
I’ll give you an example. Case in point. I walk into my office on a Monday morning and one of my clients that I’m doing $1 million a year in sales, and I have other clients, this is one particular case, and they canceled. I was like, “Why? What happened?” A new federal regulation came in. The attorneys got together and realized that they could no longer accept marketing services the way that they were getting them and they had to retool. This happened with all my other clients. It was a domino effect. This is the fourth major regulation protocol. Now we’re supposed to do this and that rulings and it brought my business down to its knees again. I got tired of that. We’re in the year 2015 and I’m looking for what I can do so I can control myself. I kept hearing this word. I was like, “What is this word called podcast?” When I found out what it was, I said, “I could do this. I’m Italian. I can talk.”
We have that, don’t we?
We do. I got a mentor who’s here that said, “If you want to start in this world, you can figure it all out but it takes a long time. If you get a mentor, you can speed it up.” I got a world-class mentor, well-known in Southern California, radio personality, Michael Benner, and he agreed to give me tips. He taught me on interviewing in radio and what to talk about and how to conduct the show and he gave me some amazing help. I started live on BlogTalkRadio for an hour not knowing what I was doing or what I did and I grew from it.
What year was this?
This is now the fall of 2015.
We’re not that far apart. I started around the same time, too. You’re a little ahead of me there. That was a time when it wasn’t quite as popular as many as you see now, don’t you think?
Even to this day, people are like, “Podcasts, what’s that?” The word is more of a household name. Back then, it was almost esoteric because you needed the right device to hear it. How do you hear it? Where do you go? What’s the podcast platform that you’re on? It was undeveloped compared to what it is now.
It is interesting to see. I had no intention of having a show at all, but somebody interviewed me and I thought, “I had interviewed somebody for my job as an MBA program chair at Forbes and I thought it was fun to interview.” I thought, “How’d you get that?” He had a nationally syndicated show and he said, “I can get your spot.” I’m like, “I’ll try that,” thinking innocently and now, it’s 1,500 shows later. It was a fun area to be in because you get to meet many interesting people. You’ve taken it to a huge level with over 10 million downloads. How did you get to that level so fast?
I must correct you slightly. It’s an itsy-bitsy little correction. It’s my Italian. I’m being silly. I am pushing hard on 15 million. I’m about 14.5 million.
You must have been since you signed up for the show. I didn’t know the wait was that long. Sorry about that.
That’s okay. I’m hitting 1 million listeners a month in total. I am going forward because I have my goals. I want to get to 1 million a week.
Is being with VoiceAmerica a big part of that? I’m curious what you do to get known.
This is a long conversation. I’m teasing. The short answer is VoiceAmerica is an amazing platform. For anyone that’s looking to do podcasts, I highly recommend checking it out. You can also ask me about it. I was being mentored, knowing how to generate leads, get visitors, and how to use social media. Back then, I didn’t know anybody. I had zero audiences. I didn’t know any millionaires and billionaires and household names like I know now. I wasn’t friends with anyone. You may as well be in a closet because I didn’t know anyone, but I knew how to get visitors and people. I worked on growing my social media, which wasn’t much. Now, it’s over 200,000 followers. I worked on it and I used what I know about lead generation and marketing. I used it for myself. The logarithms and algorithms change all the time. Facebook and Instagram are like, “Now we’re doing this.” We’re not doing that anymore.When you're working for corporate, you can be making nice six figures, but you're still limited. You're still pegged on your income. Click To Tweet
Google, too. Everybody’s changing.
Diane, the basics are the basics. Once you know them and you have faith in them, you can still bring in and get exposure to a lot of people. It’s exposure. A simple case in point is there is a particular item, which, in my opinion, is not good. It’s not a great item. It’s not the healthiest thing, but it’s the number one fast-food restaurant in the world. Why? There are better places that have better food, better tasting, and better quality. It’s all because of the marketing. That is the key. The more you can get people to know that you’re there, the more people will check it out. Those that resonate with it will stay as a fan of your podcast.
I talked about this a lot on Your Media Docs that I do with Dr. Gilda Carle because she and I both help people with their speaking, media presence, and that type of thing. She did so much television with the Sally Jessy Raphael Show and Howard Stern. Every show I could think of, she’s been on. With my background in radio and podcasting, we help people do some of the stuff that you’re talking about here. I also have written brand publishing courses for Forbes and different things like that. I know how hard this is, teaching marketing, teaching sales, and all the things I’ve taught. What are you doing specifically? We know you want to be where your customers are. If you’re working with business people who you want to listen to your podcasts, you’re probably doing a lot on LinkedIn and that thing. Are you doing more in promoting other people’s comments? Are you commenting a lot on other people’s sites? What are you doing to get noticed?
That’s another long answer. I’ve taken what I know and I’ve turned it into a visitor driving service, especially for podcasters. Unnaturally now, it’s a secret weapon for other podcasters. One of my students and a client went to 2 million downloads in the second year. As a quick mention, I help other podcasters also and I have a service on that. There isn’t one simple thing. I’ve been to school, college, and university. I graduated summa cum laude, which is a rare designation. I got straight A’s or 4.0 GPA throughout my entire collegiate and university career.
I’ve learned a lot about marketing. I’ve been in and out. I’ve learned, read, and studied people that aren’t so good or good, but I’ve been able to distill that. The crowning jewel is a book I read by Jordan Adler called Beach Money and he talks about his vision. At one point, in chapter two, he’s a failure who’s got no job, no money, no house, no girlfriend, and no life. He goes out to the park with pen and paper, the old-fashioned way you could say, and he pours his life out. What does he see himself doing in the future? What’s his future? What’s his vision? He spends a lot of time working on one thing only, his vision. It’s akin to if you’re going into the future, you’re turning around, and you’re looking back. This is what I got out of it and how I’ve developed it. It’s blurred now what Jordan says and what I say because, to me, it’s all a big concept.
It’s like you’re writing a movie, Diane. I see myself doing this. You write that up and it’s a detailed document. To finish on the Jordan story, he wrote that up and spent all afternoon writing his vision and went home and did whatever. A couple of years later, Jordan Adler is moving and he runs into that piece of paper that he wrote a couple of years ago. Jordan Adler got down on the ground and started crying. Do you know why? It’s because he was moving into a brand-new house, had the dream job, he had the dream girlfriend. At that time, he was making $100,000 a month.
That is a bit of a change. That’s what led to your Vision Map. I saw you trademark the vision map.
I further developed the vision. It’s blurred on who said that. You can read the Beach Money book and get it. I wrote this for me, the vision. What am I doing? Underneath that, which should go first, is the fire. You’ve got the engine or the gas, which is it? The vision is like the engine and the gas is your purpose and your why. Why are you doing this? Who are you being? That goes underneath. Underneath that is the long-term objective. What is it that you see yourself accomplishing? I started writing this. It’s like an upside-down pyramid. I say a long-term objective because now you hear the word and you go, “That’s a goal.” A goal is defined as something you did today, this week, this month, this quarter, this year.
I’m dating myself, 20, 30, 40, or more years ago corporations had 10, 15, 20-year goals. That’s unheard of. Someone’s reading this and going, “That makes no sense.” Today, you can be a millionaire by tomorrow. It’s only 24 hours now to do it. It’s freaking fast. When I was doing this a few years ago, I figured, “This is what I’m going to accomplish in a couple of years,” and I did. I created a fully sustainable business and I call it my empire in a couple of years. Underneath the long-term objective is a master plan, a strategy, a tactical. How are you going to make money in the next 30, 60, 90 days? How do you do your things to do? I put together this vision map. I have it packaged in the new book coming out on Amazon called Creating Your Vision, it’s going to be an updated new book coming out.
You’ve got a lot of new books. You have a break out of the box and get seen in a new light, Imen of Atlantis BITTEN. I’m not sure what that is. I wanted to ask you about that.
I have written nonfiction, as it’s called, business, scholarly books, The Vision Map, etc. I was always cautious about not writing stories because I have a lot of stories and things that I’d love to write about, which is a whole other conversation. I had the opportunity with a co-author, SKR, who got with me years ago and had this great concept for this heroine called Phyllis. Phyllis is not in the book, we changed her name but it was such a great concept and she knew that I’m a writer and I love to write and I thought, “This is my excuse now to write fiction and something fantasy.”
We started developing all the characters and it’s the most amazing thing. If anybody reading this wants to write, you develop the characters and their personalities and the book writes itself. We’ve got 7, 8 books all put together and the next volume is coming out soon on Amazon. It’s called The Imen of Atlantis. The first book is Bitten. The best analogy to get the concept was given to us by the Tolucan Times, the entertainment newspaper of Burbank, which pretty much is the entertainment capital of the world besides India. They wrote it’s a unique world in the tradition of Tolucan. We didn’t even expect that but it’s such a unique world, but there are no dwarves and dragons.
Is there sword fighting?
There is. Personally, it’s almost samurai-ish in a way. If I could tell you a little bit more, the Imen, and this happened in what we consider was the location of Atlantis. It turns out that it’s not the location. I’ve found where Atlantis is, that’s a whole other story. It’s a good story and it fits the people of the times. The Imen was a fierce race. Consider a samurai warrior times 1,000. These people were at war with everyone else and every other race in the country. They dominated and defeated all of them. They got to a point where they were the only race left, so they started infighting.
The book is not religious and this is not in the story. This is before the story happens. God sent down the messenger because He saw everyone was going to destroy everyone. He sent down the messenger saying, “Lay down your weapons and God will give you the ability to heal and other abilities to help instead of killing everyone off. If you don’t listen, you’re eventually going to perish.” True to the words of the messenger, those that did not listen to this advice all disappeared and those that did became the magical mythical Imen with amazing abilities.
No one in the world at the time knew of them because they are how a story becomes then a myth, a legend, the old tale and you don’t know. An event happens where they have to reveal themselves and that’s where the word bitten comes in. Once the ruling powers realize they can turn things into gold, they have magical powers, their abilities are extraordinary, they want that. It’s this amazing story of the chase, fighting, capturing, and all this happens to get an Imen to capture them. The conquest comes in and it’s an amazing story. It’s a real page-turner.If you want to start in the podcast world, you can figure it all out, but it takes a long time. You get a mentor and you can speed it up. Click To Tweet
Is it going to be a movie? Have you thought of doing that?
Let’s get the book and the story out.
I’m curious about your goals. As with you, I do many different things. I have a show and my books. My main things are my research in curiosity and helping companies develop that. I have many different interests and it sounds like you are much the same way. What would you say is your main business? Would you say your podcast is your main focus? Would you say your consulting or your writing? Are you like me and you don’t put all your eggs in one basket?
I’m Italian. I’m going to be silly. I’ll put as many eggs in the basket as I can. I have a good show. I’m thankful for that. I have sponsors that help support the show and the whole production.
That’s a tough thing to get for a show.
It is from what I understand. I have a separate business where I bring and drive visitors. I don’t mean just a couple. I can send 10,000 people a week to your show and someone else to show. I understand the basics. That is my Clicks Service. If you go to TonyDUrso.com, you’ll see Clicks and my podcast. Those are two core businesses. I also do podcast reviews where I will review someone’s podcast and help take it up. It’s consulting, but I’ll do a thorough analysis and help bring that podcast up a couple of notches to a world-class level. It’s an amazing service. I have that. I’m looking to grow with books. Books and generating income have never been important or big to me. I don’t mean to say anything wrong that it’s not important. I write the books to help them educate. Let the income come.
That’s how I feel about my show. It is interesting to me to talk to unique individuals who have taught me a lot. When people ask me what I do, I learn things and share things, whether I teach, speak, or whatever it is. A lot of people get into podcasting because they want to have that be their main source of income. You mentioned sponsors. A lot of people reading this are going to want to know how to get sponsors.
My biggest sponsor at the time was answering junk emails because I was being pitched something and I wrote back to them. When you get a spam email, that company puts money into it. They paid somebody to write this, do that, and promote it. It wasn’t one person, so I sat back and said, “I’ve got a good show.” At the time, it was 25,000 downloads per episode on Revenue Chat Radio. I said, “I’d love to put you on and connect you to my people, etc.” It turned out to be my biggest sponsor at the time and they wrote a check and paid me upfront in advance $7,500. That’s pretty good for a brand new, out of the gate running the show. I do look for sponsors. I know ways to get sponsors. There’s so much to learn about that.
Contrary to what you’re told about, to what you hear, to what some people want to aspire to be. I’ll explain. There’s a school of thought and it’s powerful. That school of thought says, “Get the money and go for whatever you can and it doesn’t matter if you’re in debt or whatever, and go for it.” I can explain what I’m saying, it’s a prevalent school of thought. That school of thought is to do whatever is going to take to get money. Tony says, “It’s the opposite that works. Do what you love.” That other school of thought is going to say, “No. Don’t do that. Get in debt. Go for the money.” I’m not even joking. Go and do what you love. What are you passionate about? You might be reading this and you’ve got a day job. You may not want to podcast about your day job. You may be good at something you may not.
I’m going to take a case in point, “I love gardening. I’m an accountant or a cashier or I work in the store stocking, but I love gardening. I love growing orchids and I love growing flowers.” You could start a podcast on what you love. You start a podcast and you start talking about it. What do you bring on guests and experts that tell you how to make your roses thrive in a dry hot climate where you live or how to make your orchids live and how to take care of them? Orchids are finicky. If you don’t know how to take care of them, they may not bloom for years. There are things that you have to do. I love orchids and I have several orchids as well. They’re one of the most incredible flowers.
Podcast about what you want, whether you take on guests or you talk about your experience. You start building up an audience. It doesn’t matter if it’s 2 to 5 and it grows to 100. You then can sell your book on how-to and you can bring on what’s called an affiliate and promote, “If you’re gardening, you may want to look at these gloves, this type of soil, and this type of fertilizer.” You can sell these products on your podcast and grow. You’re doing it because you love it. There’s no money in it.
You’ll get out of bed gladly on Saturday, put together your podcast, and get it out. On Monday, you’re back to your work. You’ll do this because you love it. Money comes and follows. That is the most important thing. I could say a whole lot more about it, but that’s what I recommend and there are other ways to generate income and you can bring on sponsors. There may be some companies that sell items and you can reach out to them and tell them about your podcast and they’ll put some commercials on your show and you can make some interesting money with that.
There’s a lot of people who are spending a lot on their shows. There are some costs associated with doing some of this. I’ve gotten a lot more selective with the people I want to interview because I want to get the most interesting people I can on my show. How many people have you interviewed? Do you know? How many shows have you had?
I’ve done something to 600-ish people.
When you get to meet many interesting people, it’s fun. For me, I usually ask people after the show, “Who do you think is interesting?” You then get even more interesting people with the referrals, don’t you think?
I’m thinking about that and that works well.Develop the characters and their personalities and the book writes itself. Click To Tweet
Sometimes not always.
I get many people. I get probably 1,000 emails a month pitching to be on my show.
It’s hard and you feel bad and a lot of people are contacting you and their topic has nothing to do with what you’re even talking about. What do you consider is the focus of your show?
I want to help other businesses, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business owners. Truth be told, every single person reading this, including you and I, cannot read everybody’s book, listen to everybody’s podcast, take everybody’s seminar, take everybody’s classes. Also, we can’t watch everybody’s lectures in the field of our interest. It is impossible. It can’t be done. What I decided was I’m going to help curate and bring good people that are knowledgeable in business and how to grow a business and introduce that to people. You’re out there walking your dog, driving, working out, and working on some project at home. You can listen and get the jewels and the golden nuggets that these millionaires, billionaires, and household names give you and it’s free. It’s amazing.
It is wonderful to have a show like this. I learned so much. It’s hard for people to find time to listen to it. There are so many shows out there. Have you found that you’re having more people say, “I don’t have as much time to listen?” What do you think is going to be the next thing after podcasting?
There are a couple of different questions. I don’t get that information because I know people are busy. What I do, like you, is make my show available. I’m on VoiceAmerica, Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, Roku, Alexa, and I’m on fourteen AM/FM radio stations. When you listen to my show, if you want to hear back episodes, some of these podcast platforms are limited. They don’t have 5.5 years of shows or episodes, so I put everything on my site. If you go to TonyDUrso.com/podcast, you can go all the way down to my first show live on Blog Talk Radio years ago, which I’ll never listen to again.
That was on page 27, as I recall, because I did that. It is fun to do that, to go back to listen. You learn the ins and outs of how to do the show. When I started my show, they told me I had to begin in two weeks and I had to have two weeks ahead worth of guests. I don’t even know how to connect my phone to the computer yet. It’s a fun thing to get into. You’ve done a great job editing and you’ve come up with all these great books. You’re helping people with your Vision Map, writing all this fiction and everything else. I knew you’d be interesting. I’m glad we ran into each other at the City Year Gala. I could tell that we would have plenty to talk about and I know we’ve shared your main website, TonyDUrso.com. Is there another site or anything else you’d like to share?
That’s the key site. One last comment on the podcast. I am on many different venues. I am now on Rumble. My shows are not political. They’re not controversial, but Rumble gives me a better audience. I’m working to be on people’s favorite medium. Every person likes to hear a podcast in a different place. People hear and watch these shows. Nearly everybody, I’m generalizing, has the place where they go where they like to watch things or see things or hear things. I try to be in those places to make it easy for people as far as that goes.
Yes, I’m at TonyDUrso.com. If you’re looking to grow your podcast, I can help you. There’s a link there to my visitor traffic-driving business. Click on the word Clicks. You can listen to the podcast and see some of my books. I’ve written more books, but some past books have been done with other publishers and other ways that they will produce. My new books are all going under one new publisher. I’m working to get all those out. My books page is going to be changing and updating with more books. I’ve got several more books coming out.
It sounds like everything is heading up and continuing to go that way. I appreciate the fact that you do so well at this. I know how hard it can be, trust me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, Tony. Everybody learned a lot and I hope everybody takes some time to go to your site. It was so fun having you on the show.
Thank you. The honor is mine because I want to help others and I appreciate that you have the same passion to get that information out there. We need to help. 2020 was a mad year. There are people who are still seriously affected by all of this. They need help. We can give them some information because one job and one source of income aren’t going to cut it anymore. We’ve learned that so let’s be smart and get multiple things going. If you want a podcast, I can surely help point you in the right direction on how to get started and I can help you get a good show.
That’s awesome. I hope people reach out to you, Tony.
I want to talk about something a little different because I have many people asking me about my podcast and my radio show and how to do this. How did I get into this? How do you figure out how to do it? The ins and outs of it. I have created a course and I do teach people how to do this but I thought it would be nice to talk about it on the show. For those of you who want to know the secrets to create a popular podcast and radio show, I’m going to touch on some of the things that I’ve learned. I had no idea, first of all, that I’d ever had a show. I had never aspired to do this.
I had somebody interview me once for my speaking and my consulting and he had a show. I loved talking to him about what he did. He shared some of his tips and tricks that worked for him. I said, “How do you get this?” He said, “I could probably get you a spot.” He found me a spot on his AM/FM station. The shows would air, but they weren’t live. They’re pre-recorded, but they had airtime that I had to fill. I had to fill three hours a week. It inspired me to continue to interview people and to grow the show.
One of the things I learned was that there’s a lot that goes into it. It doesn’t have to be a radio show, it can be a podcast, or you can even have it on YouTube or a website. There are all kinds of platforms involved when you create your show. You have to have an idea of how much you want to spend because it’s going to cost you money initially unless you have somebody that you can get to a company or some other way to fund it or monetize it, which is difficult. We’ll get a little more into that. Initially, you’re going to have to host it somehow on your website, on a podcast site, on YouTube, or somewhere. You have to keep that in mind.
The radio stations, some of them will charge you for airtime. You would own your time slot. For my show, I air at 10:00 AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Eastern Time on many different markets throughout the United States. That’s my airtime and I could talk about this. I could talk about anything. I could interview someone or I could do an advertisement for everything I sell. The whole time, I could do whatever I want is my point. That’s nice. The only thing I can’t do is let people swear on the air or something like that. In general, it’s pretty open and it’s a nice option if you want to do a combination podcast radio show like I do. I also put my show on YouTube and all the links to it on my website. I make sure it’s everywhere.
The hardest part for me was setting up the hardware. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it. I was using Zoom for some initial things but the sound wasn’t quite as good and you couldn’t separate the tracks from my track and the guest track if I had an issue on one of the tracks for example. Initially, I went with using my phone. I wanted people to be able to call into the show. The problem I was having was I usually like to use PCs. My PC didn’t have the best software. I didn’t like any of the software for Alba Editing. I do a lot of videos and audio editing with Camtasia, which I love. I wanted it to be simple like that. Getting the audio from the phone into the computer was a lot more challenging than I had anticipated. To me, that was the hardest part, which is silly because it turned out all you needed to do was go to Guitar City and they’ll tell you how to do it.One source of income isn't going to cut it anymore. Let's be smart and get multiple things going. Click To Tweet
I bought a Focusrite, which is the adapter box that connects to your computer. There’s a cord that comes off of that and I bought a little adapter that went on to the cord that would fit into the cell phone. When somebody would call in, I take this plug and plug it into the phone, and it goes through this Focusrite equipment, which goes right into the Mac. I use Mac because I liked GarageBand the best for the software. As long as you have a good microphone and headset to listen to, you’re set. It is pretty easy to edit and capture data. The Focusrite equipment captures it and goes right into the Apple device. That worked well for me.
I also use Zoom sometimes and then I’ll edit what I get from Zoom with Camtasia, which is a software for editing. You can do so much with it. I love it. It’s great for video editing as I use it more for that, but you could do audio editing. If you have options, if they’re calling on the phone and you’re having phone issues and then you send them a Zoom link, you can do it that way if you need to. It’s also important to be able to do that for people who are in other countries. Maybe they can call in through WhatsApp, which is an app that doesn’t charge them. That’s another option for people. Depending on whether you want to use your phone, you want to use Zoom or something like Zoom. There’s a lot of other options that are similar to Zoom that you can use.
What I found was that Mac and GarageBand work great. I got Shure SRH 240 Headphones. I got the Focusrite Scarlett Interface and I got a Sterling Audio SP50 Microphone and then that adapter that plugs into your Apple phone is the Lightning to 3.5-millimeter Headphone Jack Adapter. If you can remember those things, write them down, and read this a few times to write those fascinating things down. That’s all you need to record into a Mac and make sure you have GarageBand installed.
What I found was it was much easier to create a shell, a dummy file that had all my files in it. You don’t just record without intro music, outro music, ads, or whatever you’re going to put in your show. You’ve got to have music. You’ve got to have, “Welcome to the show,” stuff. I created little files under a recording by GarageBand saying that this is the Dr. Diane Hamilton show or whatever it is that says at the beginning. I didn’t record my own. I paid for files to be created. I did a lot through Fiverr. You can get voiceovers and different things and they’ll give you a little sound file, mp4 or mp3, whatever they save it as and you can put that into your show that you create.
What I do is I have an intro at the beginning of the show. I have an outro at the end. The intro would be the guy saying, “Here’s Diane.” The outro would be the music ending the show. I have those saved so that I don’t have to put those in every single time. I also put in three separate ads, which is how many ads I like to have on my show. I save those to drag them around to wherever I’m going to edit them later.
I do the ads myself. I like to have it in my voice usually, but sometimes I’ll go to Fiverr or someplace else to have them create an ad. If you have a sponsor, they have ads they can give you. The point is saving your document. This is like a file, so you don’t have to keep putting ads or keep putting the intro or outro music all the time. I save it as a shell on my desktop. Every time I have a new show, I open up that shell document and then I save it as the new name of whoever is on the show. That works out well for me.
When I first started, I wasn’t sure where else I wanted to host the podcast because you want it to get onto iTunes and different places. I started with Podcast Garden originally because it was cheap. I know a lot of people like Libsyn. There’s a lot of podcast hosting sites. There’s a BlogTalk. There are all these different things. I ended up with Podetize because Brandcasting You was a group I used. Tom Hazzard is the guy there I use. He does a great job because he transcribes the show, puts in all these tweetable moments and pictures, and all these different things. He hosts it on Podetize for me, but that’s the only thing I have somebody else to do for me. I only started having him do it when I wanted the transcription.
It’s easy to get on a site like the ones I was on before like Libsyn or one of those and you can get some of your data records. They’ll tell you how you’re doing and it’s nice to get your statistics and you can find out how many people are listening to your show and all that. Those will usually have ways for you to have them shared through iTunes and different means. I know my shows are on iTunes, iHeart, Roku, you name it. It goes everywhere. A lot of it, Tom does with Podetize for me, but I was able to do a lot of it myself whenever I hosted it myself as well.
It’s good to look at your options. Do you want a transcription? Do you want the sound? If you’re doing the sound, are you using GarageBand, Camtasia, Zoom, or Skype? Zencastr is one that a lot of people do. Are you going to do your editing? I like to do my editing. I don’t do a lot of it. I like it naturally. If somebody says something, I don’t necessarily want to change it. It’s real. I’ve had to cut out 1 or 2 different things. If somebody was driving in their car and the police stopped them for being on their cellphone, that got cut out. Other than that, I pretty much left it in unless it was something that I thought was a super inappropriate thing to say. I only did that once when I had to cut something out.
One of the hardest things when you first start is finding the right guests. A lot of people ask me about that. I would go to speaker sites a lot of times to look at the top speakers. I was the MBA Program Chair at Forbes School of Business. Part of my time there was working with the board members and some of the board members did this show. Steve Forbes was one of them, which was wonderful to do my show. Before I even asked Steve or the other board members, I went to some of the speakers we had who had spoken for our school, which were a lot of the Forbes 30 Under 30, young people who become successful, and we’re looking for more publicity.
Looking at sites like that, people who have been nominated and received some honor would be a great place to start. When you get people who have recognition behind their name like that and then you could show that you’re not interviewing just anybody. You’re having good solid people on your show. Going to speaker sites, you might get some of them. Some of them might turn you down. Sometimes they get newsletters from different sites that say, “This person is speaking here or there.” I’ll connect with them on LinkedIn and say, “I saw you speaking at this event. I love to have you on the show.” Sometimes they’re at conventions. You see them speaking at conventions. You see them on LinkedIn with great posts and people following them. There are so many ways.
Once you start getting people on the show, at the end of the show after you get off the air, I would talk to them and ask them if they thought of anyone who would be a great guest. I’d love to have them on the show. Those are ways of expanding your reach. Some of the best people I’ve had on my show were suggestions from other people who had been on my show. One of the things that a lot of people forget to do is to ask for a referral, “Who would you think would be great? Who’s got a new book coming out?” Whatever you’re trying to find for a guest.
A lot of what goes along with the show is creating graphics. I know Tom creates some stuff for me for my website, but I also was doing it long before he did any of the graphics. I use Canva a lot for that. There’s Visme. You can have a virtual assistant do it for you. You can hire somebody. Canva is great. It’s one of the easiest platforms. I use it for everything. I’m not an affiliate with any of these names that I’ve mentioned so far, just so you know. These are all great programs and you can create a graphic. I’d come up with an overall graphic design for the show and keep changing the picture for the guest whoever the guest is on the show. That’s how I did it and it worked out well for me.
To find more people, you start networking and get your circle of influence and ask them if they know people and you go on social media and tag everybody when you’re posting these shows. Make sure you tag the people who are in your show, and you have hashtags for whatever you talk about on the show. On Twitter, I have #DrDianeRadio. All my shows, if you click on that hashtag, you’ll be able to find them all easily. You’re going to do that throughout social media and that’s important.
When you’re on the show, thinking about the questions is an interesting thing because I always ask my guests to give me questions that they’d like to ask. I don’t go down the list and just ask them those questions, but I have them so I can think about the things they like to be asked. When I first started, I would create a whole bunch of questions before the show. I would go through everybody’s bio and read everything about them and watch all their videos and do everything I could to research them. I still do a lot of that but I don’t create questions like I used to. I don’t spend the same amount of time because I find that a lot of what I want to ask I learned while we’re on the show, but if they have a TED Talk or if they have something important, I watch that for sure.
The questions are important to have them send to you. When they sign up for the show, I use ScheduleOnce, which will send them a notification for their calendar and reminders and it’ll ask them, “Please give me your bio, headshot, and any questions you want me to ask.” What I find I do is while we’re talking, I start writing questions down on a pad of paper. If they say something, I’ll make a note like, “I’m interested in this or that,” and I might circle something that I want to come back to. All those notes are my way of keeping track of what we’re talking about and what I want to ask next. I also sometimes ask them things off the air if I don’t want to put them on the spot. I might make a note of something I want to ask later.As long as you have constant evergreen content, you can replay these kinds of shows over more than once. They're good things for reruns. Click To Tweet
There’s a lot of things that continue in our discussions after we get off the air. I usually schedule them for an hour. Most guests, I don’t keep for an hour on the show. It’s a long time to interview somebody, but I do have some for that long. Sometimes I do two 25-minute shows and then I add them together and put ads. You have to decide how long you want to talk to somebody and how you want to set it up. I schedule an hour so that we have time to talk after the show and it’s not just like thank you and goodbye and hang up on them because that’s pretty uncomfortable. It’s nice to build that relationship afterward.
Beforehand, there’s a lot of preparation that you need to do. You look at their LinkedIn profile, websites, and YouTube. If they have a book, you look at Amazon, and sometimes their bios are good on Amazon and not so good on LinkedIn. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Read their bios. Find them online. Learn as much as you can about them. Read the description of their book because that’s important. Prior to the show being, I’ll ask for all the things that you asked for before the show and then after the show you either thank them or you send them a note.
For me, when the show comes out, I thank them, I send them all the links, I send them the graphics that they can post and I asked them to post a testimonial. If you go to DrDianeHamilton.com/testimonials, you can see what people have said. It’s great because it links to their site and it gets them noticed and it gets you some great stuff on your website. When the show comes out, you post it all over social media. You might have a newsletter you put in that. If you do retweets on sites like MeetEdgar or whatever sites you use to repost things, you could put it in there. As I said, I transcribe the blog, which gives you a lot of content for your site because you get to think if you do an hour-long show and that’s a lot of words of people coming to your site, it’s great for later advertising and taking advantage of that traffic.
A lot of people do shows for different opportunities. You might be a consultant or a speaker who wants to be on boards, or you want to go to events, shows and different things. The radio show or the podcast can do a lot for you. I had no intention of using it for anything other than my curiosity to find out about people and learn what made them successful, but it did lead to a lot of things. I do a lot more speaking, consulting, and I’m on more boards. I’ve found companies in which I was interested in investing and things like that can happen.
Being realistic that this is not going to be something that you’re going to probably be able to monetize, if you want to monetize it, you’re probably going to have a better chance of monetizing it through the things that lead to than to get sponsors because you have to have quite a few downloads. There are a few people who can monetize their shows but the majority aren’t able to. Be realistic. Think about the return on investment and the traffic and all the things.
Think of your show as a loss leader similar to a book. Most people do not make money off of their books. They’re making it from the things the books lead to. Just make sure that when you schedule things that you use a good calendar for everything to keep track of it. As I said, I use a ScheduleOnce and I like it. I’m able to send the link to people to say, “Here’s how you sign up.” I set it up to ask them to give me all the information and then I schedule follow-up reminders and they’re able to reschedule. All that stuff is important.
I also want you to think about any potential issues you can run into like sound quality. If they’re calling long distance and you dropped the line, there’s some editing that might be required. Some of the stuff is a good learning experience. If you don’t think you like it, don’t rule it out until you’ve tried it because there’s a lot that goes into it and you can learn a lot. There are some negative things. Some people ask me sometimes if you have any rude guests or anything like that. I had a few problems with guests. You’d have to remember you’re providing free showcasing of what they do. You’re doing them a favor for free if you think about it.
Some will bully you or over-analyze. You’re doing this for free and they may say, “I wanted to say this, can you edit that or can you do this.” As a guest, I would suggest not doing that if you’re on other people’s shows because you’d have to realize after I’ve had thousands of people on my show, that’s a lot of work. It is hard to go back and micromanage every single show. People aren’t worried if something is transcribed and not perfect. People realize it’s a transcription for example but some guests might not value your time. They want to meet and talk about the show. I do spend a lot of time doing things before the show. For me, I found shows are a lot better if you don’t meet prior to them because you will ask them everything you want to ask, and then when you go on the show, you’re not as inquisitive. It’s not as fresh. I avoid meeting guests prior to the show.
As I said, you can own your airtime. In the podcast, you definitely do. It’s good to refer to your site once in a while. You could go to DrDianeHamilton.com/testimonials. It’s part of my conversation, but that’s referring to my site. If you were going to refer to your site for sales of something, I might say go to CuriosityCode.com because that’s where I would sell my Curiosity Code Index. I use the site once in a while for things like that, but I also have ads between guests that talk about my assessments for my certification training and all the things I do. You want to tie into what you do when you’re doing your ads and speaking alone.
Right now, I’m speaking alone and that’s harder because you’re going off of what somebody else has already said. Even saying that was not as smooth as if I had somebody on the air. It’s not scripted, but you can script your show. I don’t like to do that. I talk off the top of my head and I get some great sound bites that I could use but maybe not. When you’re speaking alone the hardest part for me is at the beginning of the show what I do is when they get on my show, I’ll introduce them, read their bio, and we start to chat.
Later, depending on if I have one person or two people on the show, I don’t usually know, I see how the shows go. If I decided to have 1 or 2 or whatever, I didn’t create the intro to discuss who’s on the show that day to get people interested. That’s the part where I’m speaking alone when it’s later. I have the hardest time doing that for some reason just to say who’s on the show and what we’re going to talk about. Sometimes I have to redo that 3 or 4 times. It drives me crazy. I don’t know why that’s hard for me.
A lot of people will start to contact you to get people on your show. PR people contact me constantly. I get people signing into my site looking to be on the show. I have an outgoing message that says, “If you meet the requirements, we’ll get back to you,” because I get too many people who will have weird content that has nothing to do with what my show is about who contact me. You want to make sure they’re a good match for your show. You have something that says, “I’m sorry. We can’t have everybody on the show.” It’s important that you take a look and build good relationships with the PR people so that they know who to send to you.
When you’re planning things, you have your content calendar. On schedule, I’ll go in and I’ll pick the times that I will allow the show to be scheduled and I take holidays off. Some of the stuff is always a new show but I take a couple of weekends or weeks during the holidays where I’ll have reruns and you can have some evergreen content. This is an evergreen type of show until there’s no such thing as a podcast or whatever. This is pretty constant. As long as you have constant evergreen content, you can replay these shows over more than once and they’re good things for reruns.
One thing I found was that there’s a lot of stuff that I like that they put into my transcribed shows that I hadn’t been doing like tweetable moments, visuals, bullet points, and different things. It’s nice to look at a bunch of people’s blogs that they’ve set up from their shows to see what they share, what they conclude, and pick and choose what you want to have on your site from the show. You can also have a lot of different areas on your website like landing pages that you might mention. Refer back to your website when you’re on the air but you’re going to need to buy maybe some site URLs if you’re giving away certain things or landing pages in general.
It’s something to think about that you can also have affiliates or be an affiliate and have a lot of different aspects. I recommend looking up affiliate programs if you want to have people be affiliates for new products. With me, I have assessments, and I have landing pages for that. Think about the things you want to talk about when you’re referring to your site. When people are trying to get on the show, it’s important that they send me their One Sheet. They have types of things that they include like their bio, picture, and questions. It’s good to give an example of what you’d like to people if you have one like, “This is a bio that works great. This is a picture we’d like to see. This is the question.” You don’t have to have that. The best people know what to send when they give you their information and they don’t always. That’s why I put it in the calendar invitation of what I’d like.To find more people for your show, you just start networking and you get your circle of influence and you ask them if they know people. Click To Tweet
Once they get into your ScheduleOnce app, you can connect that to AWeber, or whatever database that you use, and they keep track of everybody. I like to keep a personal database of an act because it’s an old program, and I’m used to it and I love it, but I have AWeber as well. It’s good when you send newsletters and make sure whatever you send to your database adds value and you don’t spam them or overwhelm them and that they’ve opted in and all that if you do that. I noticed on a lot of people’s shows and they’ll automatically put me into a mailing database, and I haven’t signed up for anything or even if they’re on my show they put me in their database. I don’t recommend doing that.
You can grow your following through LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and all that. That is what is helpful. The more content you have out there and the more you like other people’s content and share of what they’re doing, the bigger you can grow your following. Just don’t make the mistake of having a sale in mind if you have somebody coming on your show. If you invite a CEO on your show because you want to get in his business, that’s nice in the back of your head, but if that’s what you come across as what you’re doing, that’s bad. I’ve never done that. I know a lot of people do that. They want to be hired by this company, so I will interview this person and that’s what they do.
If you’re going into it and having a sale in mind asking for favors, wanting to spam them, and not showcasing them, that’s a huge mistake. If you are thinking about being on somebody else’s show, just to be a good guest. Always have good stories. Refer to your site once in a while but don’t overdo it. You can say it at the end if they’re going to let you say it at the end. Just pay attention to time and talk and sound bites. You don’t have super long times where you have no break at all and then you keep talking. You can always offer free information. That’s always a good thing. Like, “Get a free chapter at my site, if you go here and go there,” type of thing.
You shouldn’t meet prior to the show. It takes away from it. Just jumping in and having a lively conversation is the best way at least it is for me. I hope that this was helpful to you. If you want to go to my site to listen to my shows, you can go to DrDianeHamilton.com. You could go to the blog to read it. You could go to the radio section to listen to it, but you could listen to it on the blog as well. I hope you found this interesting. It’s fun to talk about this stuff.
I’d like to thank Tony for being my guest. We get so many great guests on the show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com and you can find all the information about my site. Everything is all there. I hope you enjoyed this episode and I hope you join us for the next episode.
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About Tony D’Urso
Tony D’Urso is one of the top podcasters in the country. He’s the #1 talk show on VoiceAmerica and has 10 million downloads. Tony’s shows have syndicated on Roku, Amazon Alexa & 16 AM/FM U.S. Radio Stations. He is an Amazon bestseller. Tony helps millions of entrepreneurs learn from the success of others. He teaches The Vision Map™, the testament to his success.
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