How do you create a best-selling book? It’s crucial to understand Amazon’s algorithm. Dr. Diane Hamilton’s guest for today is Vikrant Shaurya, CEO and Founder of BestsellingBook.com. Vikrant explains how good marketing strategies can make the book sell like crazy. But if you want it to sell long-term, you need good quality content. Where do you begin? Start by creating the book outline quadrant. Plus, for those budding podcasters out there, Dr. Diane Hamilton then shares insights along with some tips on how to get your show started. Tune in to learn more!
I’m glad you joined us because we have Vikrant Shaurya here. He is the CEO and Founder of BestsellingBook. We are going to talk to him about how to get a best seller and then I’m going to include some information on how to create your own podcast. You’re going to learn about writing, podcasting, and all stuff. It’s going to be a fascinating show.
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How To Create A Best-Selling Book: Best Practices With Vikrant Shaurya
I am here with Vikrant Shaurya who is the CEO and Founder of BestsellingBook as well as the bestselling author of Power: The Success Mantra and How to Write a Bestseller as well. He helps people with the process of ideation, writing, publishing, and promoting books to become a guaranteed bestseller. It’s nice to have you here, Vikrant.
Thank you so much for having me here. It’s a pleasure.
I was looking forward to this. I’ve had a few people who help either with Amazon, writing books, or having hybrid book publishers on the show. I always find it interesting because the book is the new business card. You need one if you’re a professional. I want to get into what led to your interest in working with bestselling authors and becoming a best seller. Can you give me your backstory which led to this point?
Also, I wanted to add before I share my story a bit that nowadays, books are not like a business card. It is more than that. Usually, whenever we receive business cards, sometimes we keep them here and there and we throw them but when we get a book from anyone like some industry expert or someone, then we keep it in our bookshelf. We keep it safe and every time whenever we see that book, there’s personal branding going on. If you are a published author and distributing your book, your book is way more than a business card.
Coming back to my story, I’m not going to go deep into the story but everything started when after high school, my dad asked me, “What do you want to become in your life?” Back then, all of my friends were taking admission to engineering college. I told him, “I’ll be an engineer,” although I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to sound dumb, so I told him that I’d be an engineer. He thought that this guy is serious. He sold his land and got my admission to engineering college. Here I was in another city, not at all liking the lectures going on. Everything was extremely theoretical. I’m a practical guy and I was not at all enjoying it. I got to know that I still had no clarity on what I’ll be doing in my life, but it was crystal clear that I don’t want to become an engineer.
I was in the habit of going to a college library and I discovered the self-help section where I used to read many books. In my third semester, in a half year past in my college, I found this book called Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. When I read that book, it completely changed my perception of life and finance. The very same day, I dropped out of college and wanting to start something of my own. This is how I started into this entrepreneurial career. This is the first time and I took the first step in this journey.
My first business was a big-time failure. I started a business and took some loans from my family members, friends, seniors, and hire a bunch of employees that made thousands of mistakes over there. Within six months, I completely ran out of money and I had to shut down that business. Here I was, living in a one-room apartment and not able to pay my rent. Searching online how to make money online with zero investment and then I discovered self-publishing. This is where I thought, “Maybe I can write books, published books, and make some royalty income from there.” This is the first time I got introduced to self-publishing and I wrote my first book in 21 days.
I wrote it in 21 days because I had nothing to do at all. I kept on writing and completed the book. English is not my first language. The book that I wrote was not at all grammatically correct. Back then, my girlfriend, who was great at academics, did some proofreading and then I was able to publish that book. Now she’s my wife. I published that book and the first month, I made $127. It was a big deal for me because this is the first money that I made online. I remember I was jumping on the bed at midnight and then I wrote another book. It was a short book which was around 40 to 50 pages. I wrote it in three days, publish that book, and did some marketing for both the book and made around $440 in that month.In the book industry, it's crucial to have a good number of reviews. Click To Tweet
Now I was seeing clarity but things started changing when some of my Facebook friends, who were entrepreneurs, started reaching out to me for help for the book writing and publishing journey. I started offering them my coaching. Within one year, I launched dozens of courses, eBooks, and programs around how to write and publish books. I was able to enroll more than thousands of students in those programs. I helped a bunch of people over there. I got to understand more about the book writing, publishing, and marketing industry.
Things are getting started changing when some of these people and students start reaching out to me that, “This is good but we don’t have the time to write the book. Can you please help me do that?” I got to know that maybe I could offer the done-for-you book writing, publishing and marketing services. I assembled a team of book writers, editors, publishers, marketers, and I incorporated the company in the States because most of the company, employees, and clients as well are from States. I incorporated the company there and this is how I came into the publishing industry. Initially, the company’s name was The Books Factory because we were in the industry of producing a book. We got to know that almost all the books which we are producing started becoming a bestseller. We relaunched the entire company as BestsellingBook.com. This is a bit of a backstory.
Where are you located? You said it’s not in the States. Where are you?
I’m in India.
I’m interested in what makes for a best seller. Sometimes, I’ve had people talk about you couldn’t become a best seller from getting in a specific category that’s maybe not overpopulated. There are ways to become bestsellers in the small categories. Are you helping people with all categories or teaching them about the smaller categories and how to work that? I’m curious which direction you help them.
Most of these companies help their clients with Amazon bestsellers. One of the things we do is we help them not only to be an Amazon bestseller. We also have different packages where we help them with Wall Street Journal bestseller in US Original bestseller guaranteed. Maybe within 1 or 2 years, we’ll also be having a plan or package where we will be helping clients with New York Times bestsellers as well. If we talk about bestsellers, we have to understand where exactly the book is getting bestsellers. Most of the people who call themselves bestsellers, they’re Amazon bestsellers.
You’re right that being a bestseller on Amazon is not rocket science. It is not much difficult. You just have to understand the algorithm. There are some tools out there like Publisher Rocket through which you can find out those categories, which are more profitable but have less competition. For example, in your case, your book Cracking the Curiosity Code, if your book is more about leadership or entrepreneurship, then basically with the help of Publisher Rocket, you can discover exactly how many sales the number one book is getting in every different category.
With Amazon support, you can list your book in ten categories and you can choose in your specific category. If the number one book is getting maybe 500 sales in a day, your goal should be to get more than 500 sales in a day so that your book can outrank that number one book then you can become the number one bestselling author on Amazon. This is a simple formula for Amazon Bestseller. We also offer that. For some clients, they need a Wall Street Journal or USA Today. We also help them do that. It’s a different algorithm over there. You have to get around at least 6 to 7 sales in a week.
That’s quite a few. How many books do that? What’s the marketing behind doing that?
There are many steps like, for example, if you are aware that there are many eBooks’ sites. If the book you’re selling for is $4.99, $5.99, or $6.99 for the Kindle version, then you can publish the book to have a discounted rate of $0.99, and then you can distribute it to many different eBook deal sites. You can also run Amazon ads if you are aware that there’s also a platform called BookBub Ads, which is faster. BookBub is a platform where they have millions of subscribers who are looking for some eBook deals but the thing is you can also run your ads in the daily email campaigns because they are sending to their subscribers about their books.
They have a premium feature that you can select on which of the category you want to choose. You can also choose the authors you want to target. For the people who are following those specific books, your ad is going to show to only those people who follow those books or authors. They are offering great features. One of the issues with Amazon ads is if you start running the ads now, you will start seeing the results after a few weeks or after a month, but with BookBub Ads, once you start running that, you can start seeing the results now. This is one of the benefits. There are many eBook deal sites. You have to get almost all the sales within one week to hit bestseller on Wall Street and USA Today. You know that New York Times is very prestigious. It’s complicated to hit bestsellers over there.
It’s 25,000 or something. It’s a huge amount.
Even if you get 25,000, it is still not sure or guaranteed that they will be choosing you as their bestseller on their list. They see many different things as well along with the number of sales.
What about the quality of the books? Even if you make it to bestseller, what about your reviews and all of that part of it? A bestselling book without having quality content that’s a whole different thing. What do you do to help people with content?
There are many products and software out there that are junk but they’re selling crazy if you talk about MLM products, Multi-Level Marketing. They have great marketing and a big network so they can get many sales. This happens with the book industry as well. I’ve seen that there are many books out there which are of great quality but they don’t have enough reviews and a good number of sales because they are lacking on the marketing side.
I have also seen some books which are complete junk. They have nothing new inside the book but still, they’re selling crazy, maybe because of the face value or the marketing is great. In the long term, it’s not a good strategy because you’ll start getting negative reviews. Nowadays, with everything you can see on Amazon, people can read reviews. First of all, they will see your book cover, including the title, they see the reviews, and then they decide to buy the book. It’s important to have a good number of reviews and you can get a good number of reviews if you have a great quality product.If you are a published author and distributing your book, your book is way more than a business card. Click To Tweet
How can you get a good quality product? Understanding what your target readers or what the readers need. What are their pain points? What are their problems? Are you able to offer or help them out with those problems by offering those solutions in an actionable way? Are you sharing your story and boosting around about your story? People don’t care about your story. People care about what solution you can offer to their life or the business.
For us, it’s extremely important. Before anything else, understand our client’s message, taking the interviews, and write the book for them in their work. At the same time, before we start working together on the book writing, we create a book outline quadrant for them. Do you know what a book outline quadrant is? This is what I have discovered. Most people, whenever they start writing the book, they don’t have a working book outline, and they start with chapter one.
The problem with that is after some time, whenever they start writing, they don’t know what’s going to be the next chapter and what’s going to be the upcoming chapters, they procrastinate and then they don’t complete the book. If you have a working book outline, the chances will be very high that you will complete the book. How can you create a book outline? Sometimes, I’ve seen that people take several months or an entire year to create a book outline. I have a system by which people can create a book outline within 1 day or 2 hours. The book is not much complicated and it’s simple. If you want, I can share the idea.
First of all, they have to create the book outline quadrant. What is the outline quadrant? It consists of four elements. The first element is book idea. The second is, why are you writing the book? The third is your readers. Who are going to be the readers of the book? The fourth is the hook of the book. How the book is going to be different from all the other books in the market? You have to ask deep questions about each and every element so that you can understand the 360 degrees of the entire book which you are producing. If you talk about the book idea, you have to ask a question like, “How many books are there on the topic? What is your book is exactly? What offer do you have?”
The second is, why you are writing? You have to ask yourself exactly why you have decided to write a book. Is it because other people are writing a book and you are doing it? Is it to generate leads? Is it to build your brand? Whatever the solution, reason or why is, you have to create the entire book according to that. For example, if your goal is to generate leads with the book, you have to offer a giveaway inside your book so that you can also build leads.
Now comes the readers. You have to ask many questions about the readers like, “Who is going to be the primary demographic? Who are the people who are going to buy the book? What are the pain points people have if they haven’t read your book yet?” These questions will help you get more clarity on the readers, and then comes the hook of the book. There are thousands of books out there in the market but, why your book? How is your book different from other books?
Nowadays, it’s simple. If you have to create a hook of the book, you can simply go and check out Amazon. There could be 50 and 100 books. In the top 50 or 100 books, you can research them. You can check out and look inside the page feature and check out the table of contents to see exactly what they’re offering. You can also go and check out the three-star reviews because people mentioned what is inside the book and what is not inside the book. You can include the things which are not inside the book in your book.
Once you have the book up and outline ready, it’s going to give you crystal clear clarity on exactly what the book is, why you want to write the book, who is going to be the target readers, and how the book is going to be different, you can create an outline quadrant. Write these four elements in each different quadrant, paste them on the wall, set the alarm for 30 minutes, and start writing every idea which is coming into your head by seeing the outcome quadrant. There could be maybe 100 ideas, 200 ideas, or just 20 ideas. Whatever it is, just keep on writing until the alarm rings. You don’t have to write after the alarm rings. You will be having many different ideas. There are many mind mapping tools and some pre-mind mapping tools out there.
Now, you can arrange those ideas and sub-ideas. Ideas could be the chapters and sub-ideas could be the subchapters. Now you have the book and book outline ready. First of all, whenever clients start working with us, we work with them to create a book outline quadrant and then we assign an angel writer who works with them using the outline quadrants. This is our process and how we make sure that we are producing a great quality product.
When you say angel writer, do you mean a ghostwriter or something less than that?
We have created a system through which we help our clients or we interview our clients and write the book for them in their voice. You can call it hybrid ghostwriting or angel writing. We prefer calling it angel writing. We have a proper system and the writer who interviews the client, for every step, they have a specific question they have to ask the client and everything is properly mentioned and documented. There’s a proper software which we use and we built it for ourselves. This is how we make sure that we are producing a high-quality book for them. If we talk about angel writing, it’s a hybrid version of ghostwriting service.
What about people who’ve already been published? Do you take them under your wing to help them become a best seller if you don’t have access to their Amazon dashboard, for example? How does that work?
20 to 25 clients we get, they come with a book published. In case they are not able to provide access to Amazon KDP dashboard and if they can follow our advice like what keywords and categories they should have and what should be the price range, then we can take the project and help them with the bestseller package as well.
It’s an interesting time because a lot of people are writing. When I said it’s the new business card, what I meant by that is you need to have one. I don’t think you can get away without having a book now as a person of authority, especially if you’re a consultant and speaker to show that you are an expert in your field. Some of them use it as a business card but, as you said, it should be very specific, helpful, and where people will have your branding and refer to it.
When I interviewed a girl who had my book, she had all these sticky notes all over the book. She’s using it, keeping it, and doing things with it for later. I’m glad to know that you’re doing all of that to help people and a lot of people are able to benefit from learning more about what to offer. If you have a site or something you want to share with people so that they can contact you, they’d be interested.
There are going to be two types of listener targets. One is going to be people who have the financial resources to invest in book writing and publishing services. The other type of people is those who don’t have the financial resources. I have something for both of these readers. First is people who have the financial resources and maybe they value their time over money, they must hire a professional service company to help them with the writing, publishing and marketing, which is going to save them hundreds of hours of their time and also, save them so much frustration. We also have worked with more than 500 writers or authors with their book writing, publishing and marketing journey.Ask deep questions so you can understand the entire book you want to produce. Click To Tweet
If they want to hire us, they can simply visit BestsellingBook.com. They can check out there exactly how we have helped our clients. They have plenty of case studies and testimonials over there. They can simply schedule a call with us by going to BestsellingBook.com/call where one of our author strategists is going to come in a call with them, understand their publishing goals and business goals, and then offer them the solution exactly how we can help them and then we can take it from there. This is for those people who have financial resources.
I’ve seen that people are willing to write and publish a book and the reason why most people are not able to write and publish a book is that subconsciously, they know that there are many steps involved in book writing, publishing, and marketing. They don’t have clarity on exactly what are the things and what should be the order of the things. What I’ve done after working with hundreds of clients, I’ve created a checklist that exactly shows where to start, what to do, what’s the next step, and properly arranged it in an easy-to-understand way.
They can get that checklist. We use it for our clients for free just by visiting BestsellingBook.com/checklist. Over there, they can download this checklist, print it out, and paste it on the wall in front of them, and then whenever they are writing the book, they can have this thing in front of them, so it’s going to make the entire publishing journey much easier. This checklist also comes with a blueprint that explains how to use the checklist. These are the two resources I have for both the different types of listeners.
That’s interesting. I want to download that and see what you have there. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of help for people. Many people are looking to write a book. I was excited to have you on the show. Vikrant Shaurya, thank you so much for being my guest.
Thank you so much for having me here, Diane. It’s great talking to you.
I want to talk about something a little different because I have many people ask me about my radio show. How to do this? How did I get into this? How do you figure out how to do it, just 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 because I had no idea, first of all, that I’d ever had a show. I never had aspired to do this.
I had somebody interviewed 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 they weren’t live, they’re prerecorded 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, 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. Initially, you’re going to have to host it somehow on your website, on a podcast site, YouTube, or somewhere. You have to keep that in mind.
The radio station, some of them will charge you for airtime, so 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, talk about anything, interview someone, or 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 from 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, and 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.
That, to me, I guess was the hardest part which is silly because it turned out all you needed to do was go to Qatar City and they’ll tell you how to do it. I bought us a focus right 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 focus-right 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 and you’re set. It is pretty easy to edit and captured data through the focus-right equipment and 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 software 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 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 to 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-like dummy file that had all my files in it. You don’t just record without intro music, outro music, or ads or whatever you’re going to put in your show. You’ve got to have music. You have to have welcome to the show stuff. I created little files under a recording onto 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 kind of thing.” 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.Be clear on what your next step should be. Click To Tweet
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 or if you have a sponsor, they have ads they can give you but the point is saving your document file, so you don’t have to keep putting ads all the time 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 show because you want it to get onto iTunes in 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 Blog Talk. There are all these different things. I ended up with Podetize because Brandcast was a group that Tom Hazzard is the guy there that I used. He does a great job because he transcribes the show, puts in all these tweetable moments, pictures, and all these different things and he hosts 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. 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 because I know my shows are on iTunes and iHeart on 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 transcription? Do you just want the sound? If you’re doing the sound, are you using GarageBand, Camtasia, Zoom, Skype or Zencastr like 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 that I don’t necessarily want to change it. I think it’s real. I’ve had to cut out one or two different things if somebody was driving in their car and police stop them for being on their cellphone. That got cut out but 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 that 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 in 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 were 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 and 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 there are conventions and you see them speaking at conventions. You see them on LinkedIn with great posts and people following them. There are 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 anyone that 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 like, “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 also 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 that 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, start networking, get your circle of influence, and ask them if they know people. 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, read everything about them, I 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. 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 it’ll send them a notification for their calendar and reminders and it’ll ask them, “Please give me your bio and your headshot. 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.
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 minutes 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 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. 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, and read the description of their book because that’s important. Prior to the show, 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, send them all the links, send them the graphics that they can post, and I ask 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, it gets them noticed, and 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 and you put in that. If you do retweets on the sites like MeetEdgar or whatever sites you use to repost things, you could put it in there.
I transcribe the blog, which gives you a lot of content for your site because you get to think if you do an hour 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 and shows or different things. 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 that if you want to monetize it, you’re 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, the traffic, and all the things.Make evergreen content. Click To Tweet
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. Make sure that when you schedule things, you use a good calendar for everything to keep track of it. 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 I have any rude guests or anything like that. I had 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? 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, 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. 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 and it’s not as fresh. I avoid meeting guests prior to the show.
You can own your airtime. In the podcast, you do. It’s good to refer to your site once in a while. I mentioned before that 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.
Like 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. 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 know usually, so 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.” I get too many people who will have weird content that has nothing to do with what my show is about. Contact me. You want to make sure they’re a good match for your show and you have something that says, “I’m sorry. We can’t have everybody on the show.”
That’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 will allow the show to be scheduled and I take the holidays off. Some of the stuff is always a new show, but I take a couple of weekends or weeks like 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 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 transcribe shows that I hadn’t been doing like tweetable moments, visuals, bullet points, and different things. That’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.
Something to think about is 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, so 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 kind of bio that works great. This is the picture we’d like to see. This is the kinds of questions we’d like to ask.” You don’t have to have that. The best people know what to send when they give you their information. They don’t always, so that’s why I put it in the calendar invitation of what I’d like.
Once they get into your schedule OnceHub, 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 on Act! because it’s an old program and I’m used to it. 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. They’ve opted in and all that if you do that. I noticed I’m on a lot of people’s shows and they’ll automatically put me into a mailing database. 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. 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 as a 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, like, “I will interview this person.” That’s what they do.
If you’re going into it 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 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. 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 just 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,” and that type of thing.
I don’t think you should meet prior to the show. It takes away from it. 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 read 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 Vikrant for being my guest. We get many great guests on the show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com and if you go to the blog, you can read it, listen to it, and learn of all the different stations where we air otherwise. It was a wonderful show. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
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About Vikrant Shaurya
Vikrant Shaurya is the CEO and founder of BestsellingBook.com as well as a bestselling author of P.O.W.E.R: The Success Mantra and How to Write a Bestseller. He helps people with the process of ideation, writing, publishing, and promoting books to become a guaranteed bestseller.
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