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WS216: Tom Schwab: The Category King In Podcast Guest Marketing

RES 216 | Podcast Guesting

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What is more challenging than producing and hosting your podcast? It’s getting asked to be on someone else’s. Tom Schwab, Founder and Chief Evangelist Officer of Interview Valet, the concierge-level podcast guest marketing service, goes into detail on the ways to approach podcast guests and be invited in someone’s podcast. The bestselling author of Podcast Guest Profits, Tom shares how podcast interview marketing works, from getting booked to converting into real business results. As he tells us more about the nine secrets to getting booked on your first podcast, learn how to be best prepared in an interview and the best way to find podcasts that are going to have listeners who are going to connect with you. Moreover, note the four things algorithms look at and the three types of listeners you will encounter.

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Tom Schwab: The Category King In Podcast Guest Marketing

Our guest is Tom Schwab. Thanks for being on the show, Tom.

Whitney, I am thrilled to be here.

In this noisy digital world, you can’t break through the noise. You add to it. Instead, you need to get in on the conversation where your ideal customers are already listening. As a Navy veteran who ran nuclear power plants and an inbound marketing engineer, Tom Schwab has a refreshingly unique approach. He focuses on a time-proven strategy and then supercharges it with nowadays’ technology and podcast interview marketing. He’s an author, speaker and teacher. Tom helps you get more traffic, leads and raving customer fans by being interviewed on a targeted podcast. Tom, thanks for your time being on the show. Give the audience a little more about who you are and what you do. 

I’m the CEO of Interview Valet. I always hate that term, Chief Executive Officer, so I made it Chief Evangelist Officer. I’m here evangelizing for the podcast ecosystem for our clients, for anybody that can leverage podcasts. Harvard University called it the golden age of podcasting. I live in Kalamazoo, Michigan, proving that you can do a podcast from anywhere. We’ve got a team of sixteen. They are all based in the US, but not everybody wants to live in Michigan.

Tom, a lot of people are trying to get on shows. They’re trying to get on podcasts. Everybody wants to get their message out, brand awareness and all that. Maybe you could speak to the reader who’s wondering why that’s necessary and why we should pursue getting your own podcast. Let’s get into the better ways of approaching podcast guests, better ways to get on shows, some good techniques and bad techniques that are used.

Exposure brings opportunity. That’s why you want to do it. If you know somebody like by the name of Whitney that has access to thousands of people that love him, that listen to him each week, wouldn’t you want to talk to somebody like that and have all of his fans listen in? It’s that whole thing of a digital stage. How can you get on more stages and get introduced? A lot of people forget what they were taught in kindergarten. They go back to the worst of digital marketing. I always joke that I get pitched probably once to twice a day to be on my podcast and every pitch is the same, “Dear Tom, we love your podcast and would love to be a guest on it.” The only problem is I don’t have a podcast. They’re robo-pitching me. I’m on somebody’s list. Nobody likes cold pitches. If you’re going to lie to me, tell me I’m pretty. Don’t tell me you like my podcast. Put yourself in the host’s shoes. What do they want?

People want to have people on their podcasts that are their friends, friends of friends or people they want to be their friend. Don’t start off with a cold pitch. Go out and become friendly with them. How can you do that? Every podcaster listens to ratings and reviews. If you listen to a podcast and like it, leave them a rating and review. They will notice who you are. Connect with them on social media. Share their stuff on social media. Build that relationship. Gary Vaynerchuk talks about Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. I always say, “Serve, serve, serve, ask.” Leave them a rating and review. Share their stuff. Be part of the community then you can reach out and say, “I appreciate the podcast. I enjoyed this episode. This is something that I could offer your community, I could add value.”

There’s a podcaster called Doug Sandler, DJ Doug, on The Nice Guys on Business Podcast. I love something he said. He’s like, “You don’t have to promote yourself on the podcast. If you do a good job, I’ll promote you better than you ever could.” When you do that, when you reach out to podcasts, think about how you can serve with them. The other thing too is, “Content is king but context is God.” Don’t just reach out to all 600,000 podcasts out there. Find out which ones have your ideal listeners in it and reach out to them. Start small, knowing that if you do a good job, at the end of the podcast you can ask that host, “Do you know anybody else that would be good on a podcast with?” Podcasters know podcasters. If you do a good job on the first show, they introduce you to two more and they tell two friends and so on, you’ll get your dance card filled quickly enough.

I get numerous requests for people being on the show. Some are good. Some are not so good. I like that you said, “Start by leaving a rating and review, sharing their posts online and being part of the community.” I have people who have done that and then later have asked to be on the show or they’ve connected some other way. How they provide value in our group, I see that they would be qualified to be on the show. I may ask them before they even ask me.

We’ve got an infographic that we call The 9 Secrets to Getting Booked on Your First Podcast. It will be at You’ll look at this and go, “A lot of those are common sense.” They are, but they’re not commonly used. If you use those secrets, you’ll get on more podcasts than you will trying to robo email.

Tom, what do you find the best way to find podcasts that are going to have listeners that are going to connect with you the best?

Our algorithm looks at four things. A lot of people will stop at the podcast. The first thing we look at is the podcast itself. Do they have the right type of listener? It could be a great podcast, but if it doesn’t relate to what you’re talking about, it will never mesh there. We’ll look at things like ratings and reviews. We’ll look at how many episodes they have. One of the sad facts is that most podcasts die within the first ten episodes. You may not want to be episode number four when they stopped paying the hosting bill at number five. Make sure that you look at one that’s a little bit more established with that.

[bctt tweet=”Exposure brings opportunity.” username=””]

The other thing we look at is the website. Every time you’re on a podcast interview, they’re going to link back to your website. You look at how powerful that link is. We’ve got some clients that do it for the backlink. If you ask them, “Would you rather be on Tim Ferriss’ podcast or the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Podcast?” They’d probably say, “Give us the one with the .edu backlink because it’s worth a lot more.” The next thing to look at is social media. How much are they promoting this, either to their email list or their social media? We’ve got some clients that say, “I’m trying to build my Instagram following.” We’ll find the podcasts that have a bigger Instagram following. Finally, we always look at the experience with previous guests. You don’t get to see this always, but some podcasts always convert well and other ones never convert well. One of the overarching things is, “Are they having a discussion or are they reading off the same questions?” The ones that are having a real discussion like we are here, those always tend to convert better.

Can you explain that a little? You say convert. Somebody that’s reading may not understand what you mean when you say convert well.

An interview is fuel. You can go on and have a great fuel but does that convert into real business results? If you’re going on a podcast for an ego thing, then that’s a hobby. Are you turning it into visitors to your website? Are you turning it into leads? Are you turning it into paying customers? Our studies have shown that podcast interviews convert 25 times better than blogs. If somebody listens to you on a podcast, they get to know you.

Pulling behind the curtain, one of the things we find work best to convert people from being a passive listener, to an active visitor to your site, to an engaged lead is giving them different ways to say yes. For example, The 9 Secrets to Getting Booked on Your First Podcast, that’s a small yes. That’s a reason to go back to the website. Another one that I always use is I wrote a book, Podcast Guest Profits: Grow Your Business with a Targeted Interview Strategy. You can buy it on Amazon. It sells well on Amazon, but I give more of those away. On every podcast interview I say, “If you want a free download of the copy, go back to that welcome page, Everything we talked about and the free download for the book is there.” Try to think, how can you move people from being a passive listener to an active visitor and ultimately an engaged lead?

That’s the whole reason to engage with them and provide value. Help us to be better prepared. We’ve met that host. We’ve got Tom Schwab scheduled. What’s the best way for us to be as prepared as possible for that interview?

You want to listen to a few of the podcasts to give the sense of, “Is this an NPR-style podcast? Is it a comedy podcast? Is Whitney a she or a he?” That would be an important thing to know before you go on the podcast. Yet, I have seen people that mess up the podcaster’s name or who they’re talking to. You don’t want to do that. There’s nothing like walking on a stage in Cleveland and saying, “Hello, Columbus.” Nothing will ruin your credibility more than that. Make sure that you prepare for that. Another thing that we give all of our clients is a checklist. Checklists are written in blood. Make sure there’s somebody else’s blood.

RES 216 | Podcast Guesting
Podcast Guest Profits: Grow Your Business As a Podcast Guest

Learn from other people’s mistakes. Go through little things like on the checklist is turning off your phone. It sounds stupid, but I can’t tell you how many podcast interviews I’ve listened to and all of a sudden you hear their phone going off in the background. This checklist we give everybody, turning off your Dropbox syncing. I learned that. I was on a podcast interview one time. Somebody sent me a video that I’d been waiting for. I was so happy to get it, but not during a podcast interview. The video started to download and my bandwidth went bad. The audio went bad on it too. It’s little things like that. Learn from other people.

When a host asks, “Tell us a little about your story. Tell us who you are,” how much of that do you want to hear? How much should we be prepared to tell about ourselves, to get people engaged in us? However, they can’t take half the show talking about themselves.

It’s that question of, “How long should a rope be?” It’s as long as you need and no longer than that. When we work with our clients, they’ve got this bio for the host to read. This thing is 1,000 words. It’s neat that, “I live in Lawton, Michigan on six-and-a-half acres. We have two miniature donkeys called Frodo and Sam.” Does that have anything to do with what we’re talking about? The question I always ask is, “Does this add value? Is this on the topic out there?” Sometimes things come out other ways, but I always try to say, “Whatever you do to introduce yourself, make sure that it makes you interesting, memorable and that it adds value there too.”

One of the things we have to work with our clients sometimes is coaching them. We’ve worked with some people that have been on national television. On national television, you’ve got two to three minutes for your entire segment. They’re used to answering questions in 32-second sound bites. It’s like, “This is a podcast. You need to stretch it out a little bit longer than that.” There are other people that are used to doing keynote speeches where they hand them the microphone and they talk for an hour. It’s like, “You’ve got to shorten that up a little bit of because this is a discussion between you and the podcast host.” One of the things I love is having the video on because sometimes you can see the host’s reaction. Even if they don’t use the video, to be able to see them if they’re trying to get a word in or if they’re starting to glaze over too, is it time to be quiet and wait for the next question?

It’s hard, even as a host, sometimes to cut them off at the proper time so it’s a smooth transition into the next question. I was pleased to have you on, Tom. I hope the readers are paying attention. Tom’s an expert at getting people on the right shows and getting you interviewed. It’s important in the syndication business that we’re connecting with lots of people. We’re meeting investors. We’re talking to lots of people in this business so people know who you are and you let more people know about what you’re doing. You’ve got to have some either thought leadership platform or your own. I know a lot of guys who, instead of having their own podcast, they go and try to be interviewed as many times as they can on other shows. That works too. Should we have a few standard questions or fire round? Is that something that audience are, by and large, they look forward to that fire round or, “I don’t want to hear that again?”

It’s got to have a theme. It’s got to have a structure to it. If I watch 60 Minutes every Sunday night and it was different every Sunday, it would be confusing. Every guest there doesn’t get asked the same questions. The best podcasts are like sitting down at a Denny’s and listening to the two people behind you. It would be rude to turn around and watch them or it would be rude to get into the conversation, but you want to listen to it. It’s interesting. Those are ones that aren’t scripted questions. It’s a follow-up. It’s a dialogue between people. There could be a fun question that you ask everybody. That’s great but I’ve always struggled with some of those podcasts that ask the same five or six questions. I’ve been on over 1,200 podcast interviews. There are somewhere no matter what I answered this question with, they would say, “Great,” and go onto the next one. If they asked my favorite book and I answered with my favorite dessert, they would say, “Great,” and go onto the next one. I scratch my head sometimes going, “Did they even listen?”

[bctt tweet=”Content is king, but context is God.” username=””]

We’ve done over 200 shows. I’ve had a couple of who have said, “I want these questions asked.” Those shows are clunky. They don’t want me to ask any question outside of those questions. They probably shouldn’t have agreed to do the show. When you’re first getting started, you want as many guests as possible. I like having a conversation because it allows me to think of the questions at the time when you’re talking, that possibly the audience is having as well.

It’s supposed to be a conversation, not a deposition.

How can you help us as far as being either prepared or being on more shows so we can promote our brand better?

I don’t think it’s an either/or. It’s not, “Should I be a podcast host or should I be a podcast guest?” There’s a benefit to doing both of those. I’ve taken the guest route because I find it a whole lot easier. Anybody who says doing a podcast is easy has either never done it or never done it well. The biggest problem for every one of us is exposure. We’re obscure. There are millions of people that we could help with our current product or service. The only problem is they don’t know we exist. We’re obscure to them. What can you do to get in front of them? Maybe that means going to speak at the local Rotary. Maybe it means getting more stages. Maybe it means starting your own podcast.

For me, the easiest way has always been speaking. If you ask me to write a blog, it’s a homework assignment. I’ll find other things to do before that. I like speaking to people. To get on these digital stages and podcasts works well for me, also from an introvert standpoint. There are a lot of people that say, “I don’t want to get up in front of lots of people and talk.” It’s easy. Would you talk to one person on the phone or through video? They’re like, “That’s great.” You can talk to that one person and be able to get heard by thousands and tens of thousands of people throughout time. The biggest thing that we have to get over is we’ve got something that could help the world. Whatever you have could help a lot of people. They just don’t know it exists. It’s never been easier to get that out. Write a blog. Do a video. Do a podcast. Be a guest on a podcast. Do something to help people out there. What you do can definitely help people.

What’s been the hardest part of podcasting for you or your business model, getting people on shows? What’s the hardest part of being interviewed?

RES 216 | Podcast Guesting
Podcast Guesting: Anybody that says doing a podcast is easy has either never done it or never done it well.

It’s the preparation and the setup and even finding the right podcast. There are over 600,000 podcasts. Getting on a show is not a problem. Getting on the right show makes a difference and then turning that interview into business results, that’s the magic. That’s the hard part. When people say, “You’ve been on 1,200 podcasts,” I’m a little embarrassed because probably two-thirds of those I got to talk with nice people but it did nothing to move the needle. As I look at it, our most valuable resource that all of us have is time. Make sure that whatever time you’re investing serves a lot of people and serve you also. Follow a system. It’s been done before. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can go and figure out the same system that we use with that book. I share all of that in there. If you find out someone that says, “Thanks for giving me the cookbook, but I would rather eat at the restaurant,” we can help you there too. That’s what Interview Valet is. That’s the done-for-you service where you’re the guest and we take care of the rest.

How do you track those business results?

We call them welcome pages, I know if anybody hits that page that they came from this. We were able to attribute the leads. We can look at the traffic to that page. We know where it came from. Depending on what marketing system you’re using, you can tag all the leads that come in there. You know what leads came from where, which ones led to leads, which one led to customers, which were your biggest customers there. It’s a lot easier from that standpoint than other digital marketing. It’s that way. Some people will even ask conversations they have, investors or clients. “Where did you first find out about us?” Maybe they’ll know the name of the podcast. Maybe they’ll know, “I heard you on a podcast.” Sometimes people will come and I’ll ask them, “Where did you find out about the podcast?” They’ll mention a show that was done years ago. I have to go, “That was a great podcast.” I’m trying to remember, “What did I talk about a few years ago?” For them, if they just heard it, it’s fresh. It’s evergreen content. I’m thrilled if what I talked about brought him back to have a conversation.

What are a couple of things that made the best podcasts stand out to you from the interviewee standpoint and the listener standpoint?

It’ being real and being raw. Move beyond your talking points. If it looks like you’re reading off of a list, that doesn’t resonate. The other thing I’ve come to realize is that we get to work with people. We get to choose our customers. I always go back to one of the worst pieces of business advice I ever got was from my grandfather. It’s the only wrong thing that old Irishman ever told me. I was seventeen years old, going away to the Navy. He told me, “Choose carefully who you drink with because you can’t choose who you work with.” For him, that was true. He has customers. He owned a service station. If you lived within ten miles of him, you are a customer. For us, we can work with people throughout the world.

I want to be real. If people like me and resonate with me, that’s great. I want to work with them. It doesn’t mean I have to please everybody. On podcasts, there are three types of people that hear me. The first group says, “Tom is an idiot.” I don’t disagree with them, but I can tell you one thing, we would not work well together. The other ones go, “What Tom has talked about was interesting, but I’m not ready for that.” That’s fine. The third group is the ones that are like, “What he has to offer is great. Interview Valet works with people like me. They’ve got a system. They’ve got a process. I want to work with him.” Those are clients that you want coming to you. At the end of the day, none of us need more leads. You can’t eat a lead. We want more customers. We want clients. We want long-term relationships. Getting out there, getting on those digital stages and letting people get to know who you are, those are how you’re going to attract the best customers.

[bctt tweet=”Our most valuable resource that all of us have is time. Make sure that whatever time you’re investing serves a lot of people and you.” username=””]

What’s the number one thing that’s contributed to your success?

It can’t be my good looks. I’ve got a face for podcasting. It has the courage to go out there and tell the story. We live in a world of abundance, abundant choices, abundant calories and abundant customers. It used to be that we were fighting over these limited number of customers that could drive to our store. Now we could get investors and syndication from around the world. From that standpoint, we’ve got to get out there, get known by them and figure out what works best for you. How many times did I say, “Um or you know?” I’m not perfect. I’m not a polished speaker but I’m real and this is who I am. Getting beyond that was a big thing.

I’m not a polished speaker, by no means. Every reader knows that. However, we’re getting better every day. You have to start somewhere. 

I probably should listen to more of my podcast interviews, but a lot of people will say, “I don’t like the way I sound.” You don’t have to listen to all your interviews. My bride listens to most all of my interviews and she only once gave me a hard criticism. She’s like, “Could you stop calling them great-grandchildren? They’re wonderful grandchildren. When you call them great-grandchildren, it makes us sound old.”

Tom, tell the audience how you like to give back.

If anything here resonated with you, if there’s anything that I can do for you, come back to You can see what a welcome page looks like. Everything that Whitney and I talked about will be there. There’ll be that infographic, The 9 Secrets to Getting Booked on Your First Podcast, the free download for the book, Podcast Guest Profits, the checklist that we talked about and then all my social media. Do you want to get in touch with me and see how we could help you? I would love to talk to you.

Tom, you’ve provided such great value to the readers. Hopefully, we’ve encouraged them to reach out, to get interviewed and learn how to do that professionally and on the correct shows to get the most conversions. Tom, thank you for your time. I appreciate you being on being on the show. I hope the audience will connect with Tom. I hope you’ll connect with me at Life Bridge Capital and also go to the Facebook group. We will talk to each of you soon.

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About Tom Schwab

RES 216 | Podcast GuestingTom Schwab knows how to build an online business. He’s done it successfully several times, and now helps others find online success with podcast interview marketing. Marketing at its heart is starting a conversation with someone who could be an ideal customer.

Tom helps thought leaders (coaches, authors, speakers, consultants, emerging brands) get featured on leading podcasts their ideal prospects are already listening to. The Interview Valet system then helps them to turn listeners into customers.

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