PodMatch: Where podcasts come to life through authentic connections, bridging voices and stories for a world hungry for knowledge and inspiration. With Alex Sanfilippo, the mastermind behind PodMatch, today’s episode explores how they empower both podcast guests and hosts to connect and collaborate seamlessly. Alex kicks off by painting a vivid picture of how the platform operates. He then discusses the art of crafting a standout podcast profile, one that showcases your expertise and captivates potential hosts or guests. Alex then spills the beans on the secret sauce of standing out: crafting compelling pitches. He uncovers the key elements of a winning pitch that not only grabs attention but also establishes your credibility and leaves hosts or guests eager to collaborate. Finally, Alex shares the crucial art of connection. He unveils the power of networking and building relationships in the podcasting world, emphasizing the authenticity and genuine human touch that resonate with audiences. Ready to unleash your podcasting potential? Tune in and discover why PodMatch is not just a platform; it’s a game-changer in the podcasting realm.
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PodMatch – The Best Way To Get Yourself Booked
I’m excited. This is our monthly training that we usually have. For those of you who want to actually go watch this on YouTube, I encourage you to go over there. Alex is going to share slides. If you want to see what’s going on, I encourage you to go over to Superbrand Publishing over on YouTube. You’ll be able to watch the training and follow through.
I’m super excited to have you guys here because we all need to go out there. We all need to be promoting and it’s hard. You have a couple of different ways you can go with podcasting if you want to be a guest. You can either send out your podcast speaker sheets, which you’re probably going to get a lot of noes because people don’t know you. If you’re like me, you choose your guests from people you’ve met or you can hire someone. I have to be the first to tell you. When people hire and they reach out to me to be on my show, I tell them no because most of them haven’t listened to the show. They don’t know what it’s about.
I’m excited that Alex is bringing his new PodMatch dating app, which is pretty much what it reminds me of our community. Let me introduce Alex. Alex Sanfilippo is the host of the top-rated podcast called Podcasting Made Simple. He’s also the Founder of PodPros.com, a software company focused specifically on the podcasting industry. Alex and his team have created popular services like PodMatch, a service that matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews and Podcast SOP, a project management tool that helps podcasters keep up with their episode releases. Welcome, Alex.
Juliet, thank you so much for having me here. It’s an honor to be here. I’m thrilled to be here. By the way, Juliet and I recorded once together. I might be getting the date wrong at this point because it’s been a while, but I think it was 12/29/2022. I encourage everyone to go back. You can go find me on Juliet’s website. That was a great conversation we had. Juliet, thank you again for having me. It’s an honor to be back with you.
Thank you. I’m excited because we’re sending so many people over to use your site because they don’t know how to get podcast interviews. I love that you’re sharing the best practices. I know you have the videos that are on the site, but a lot of times people would rather show up and ask you questions instead of going through videos on their own. I’m excited that we’re going to get some best practices. I will probably learn something here because I’m probably the worst user on the planet.
I don’t know. That might actually be me, if you ask my team. Maybe you’re a close second. I don’t know. I’m excited to share this. Thank you for being such a great supporter of PodMatch. We always see people come through from you. What I like is when it’s a member of this group, they’re super high quality. It’s like, “Yes, someone from Juliet.” It’s not like, “Here comes somebody that might be a little terrifying to work with.” That’s not the case with you. Thank you again. The tribe and community that you keep around you is very impressive.
You’re welcome. These guys are trying. They’ve gone to all the trouble of writing a book, which is so much work. Tracy and Christine, they’re currently publishing. I put them through hell to publish. By the time their book comes out, they’re like, “I don’t even want to talk about it anymore. I don’t want an interview. I want to go. Move ahead.” Go ahead. Start it. Show us what you got.
I’m honored to be here. First of all, I’m going to start by saying this. Promote, Profit, Publish. This is on the promote side of it. I’m going to leave the other things to people more qualified than me, like Juliet, to talk about those, but this is on the promote side of it, which is a big part of having a book. It’s actually getting it out there. The tactic that I like to talk about is podcast guesting or, of course, being a host as well. Both have some very big benefits. I’m excited to dive into the guesting sides today. Know that I’m also a big proponent of starting a podcast. I’ll share some data before I get into anything on both sides of the mic.
Being a podcast host, the reason I think that that’s such a great thing in the world nowadays is because as we’re recording this, the number of active podcasts is it’s the lowest it’s been since 2020. There were a few months in 2020 where it spiked up high and then immediately dropped down. Almost everyone who started a COVID podcast stopped very quick because they were like, “This is a lot more work and I’d rather sit down and watch TV with my free time than try to be a podcaster.”
It’s a lot of work and that’s why a lot of people don’t make it. I’m telling you, if you can, the opportunity is ripe. The reason I say that is because although being an active podcaster is at an all-time low right now, it hasn’t grown since July 2020. It was the last time we had any growth from an active podcast standpoint. People start and they stop as soon as they start.
Here’s why there’s a big benefit there and a big opportunity. It’s because listenership is climbing at the fastest rate it ever has and continues to do that. It was set in motion in 2020, and it continues to climb at an exponential rate. If you’re one of the few people podcasting, you are standing out as an authority. It’s a lot of work. It’s a labor of love. Juliet, can we talk about that a little bit, if you all ever want to get into that side of it? I wanted to share that. Right now is a great time. Maybe possibly the best time we’ve seen to start a podcast.
With that said, being a guest, it’s always a good opportunity. I do want to give this caveat to that. It’s getting hard to be a guest on podcast, which sounds weird because tools like PodMatch exist, which make it easy, but here’s why. The active podcasts are not climbing, so they’re always staying the same, but listenership is climbing. People that want to be in podcasting but not be a podcaster, they want to be a guest, they see the power in it, that number is climbing extremely fast.Right now is a great time, possibly the best time we've seen to start a podcast. With that said, being a guest is always a good opportunity. Click To Tweet
The latest data shows. I’m not going to get into the companies that do all this, but you can go look at Edison Research. They’re one of the big ones. I’m not going to get too technical here because I think it would maybe make us all fall asleep, or at least me. I’m going to skip that. What we’re seeing is there are about 12 million people actively looking to be a guest on podcasts right now.
If you go back to 2019, with even my podcast, my podcast capped at one point at the 198th most popular podcast in the world. It was a good show. I did my time. I was a good interviewer. In 2019, I could not convince people to be a guest. I had to plead. People were like, “Are you going to pay me?” They’re like, “Why the heck would I waste my time being a guest on a podcast?” Those were the answers I got. I had a lot of authority in the space. One of the biggest podcasts doing well across the board. I’m saying that as humbly as I can to prove the point.
In 2019, people were like, “This is stupid. Why would I waste my time?” Now, there are ten people that have the exact same qualifications, the exact same everything that are perfect guests that are knocking on every host or ring. They’re like, “Please, let me be a guest. I’ll do anything. Let me be a guest.” I always tell people, with 12 million people looking to be a guest and only under 400,000 active podcasts. I imagine it will be 20 million people trying to be guests on podcasts. That’s my guess because there is so much power in being a guest on podcasts.
Due to that, the problem comes into play. That is, podcast hosts have a lot of options. What I mean by that is, for me, I used to have a 97% success rate when I was pitching to be a guest on a podcast and 97% of hosts said yes to me being a guest. Now, it’s under 60%. I haven’t changed the way I do it. I still think I have a good pitch and I’ll get into that because I think it’s valuable. It’s because there are ten people more qualified than me that can talk about exactly what I can talk about that are also pitching that podcast at the same time. It’s like, “Who are you going to pick? The ten people below who’s most qualified or Alex?”
It’s getting much more difficult to be a guest. That, again, is the power of actually having a podcast because then you’re the one that everyone’s after. You can say, “Read my book if you want to be on my podcast. Let me know what you liked about it, then we can talk again.” You can do stuff like that and that actually will work. Now, people are like, “This is the only podcast that will have me. Yes, I need to.” At the same time, it’s not overly saturated. You can still do it. We have to focus more on the niche that we’re in.
As authors, what is your book about? What is it that you’re focused on? Stay in that lane. An example, don’t go on a dog walking podcast because you have a dog if your book is about self-development. It’s hard to bridge that gap and make that argument. Leave it up to the professional dog walkers who want to be on that podcast now. There’s probably 100 of them trying to be on that show because that show might not even exist yet. Unless your book is about that, then, of course, that is the right show for you.
In general, you want to stay in your lane. You want to stay in the niche that you have. The more aligned it is, the easier it is for the host to be able to say, “This makes a lot of sense. This is going to be a good fit for me.” It’s important that you make sure that you’re staying in your lane. The first thing I’ll say is figuring out what that is, who you can serve well. Right past that is making sure that you have a good pitch. We’ll get into the actual PodMatch side of things. Having a good pitch is so important. I’m going to blow through this real quick, but I’ll have a resource. Actually, Juliet, that’s what we talked about last time I was on the show.
About the pitching?
Yes, I think we actually talked about that. I’m not going to do a deep dive into it, but what I’m going to say is do something different. Podcast hosts are used to saying, “Hey, host,” not even putting in their name. At least listen to the first ten seconds to find out their name. They’re probably going to say it. Not, “Hey, host. I love your podcast. The latest episode was good.” You didn’t say anything. You said host, podcast, latest episode. That is not unique to anybody.
The first thing you want to do is make it different. “Juliet, I’ve been listening to your podcast. I enjoyed your latest episode about this, where you talk to these two people about subscription boxes for authors,” which is actually what one of your latest episodes is about that I listened to. You’re like, “This person actually knows what they’re talking about.”
I pitched to be on a podcast, one that I’d like to be on. They don’t usually do guests. There are three hosts and I put a quote from one of the hosts that they said three years ago in the podcast and how that topic hasn’t come up since then because I listened to the podcast. I’m not telling you, “Go listen to three years of the podcast.”
If you’re already listening, you can do something like that. I know her mind is blown because I guarantee you no one else has ever done anything like that. I’m not tooting my own horn. I’m saying, “You got to do something different.” I put a quote in there and said, “You haven’t brought this up since then, but I think it’s valuable. Here’s how we can continue that conversation.” Juliet, yes?
Alex, that is such a good point because when I was talking about the PR people, I always hit the reply button back. That’s if I’m a little bit interested. Otherwise, I ignore it. I’ll ask, “How many episodes have you or your client listened to ? It’s always zero. They always go away. I do want to ask you about one thing I want to bring up.
A couple of people have come to me lately and they’ve said, “I connected with a podcast host and they said, ‘Yes, I’d love to have you. It’s $500 to be on the show.’” We should all avoid those. Those are people trying to get you to cover their production costs. That’s not a real thing. I can’t imagine anybody that I would pay for other than Joe Rogan, which I don’t have the money to pay for to be on something like that. You should never pay to be on a podcast.
I’m in agreement with that. Actually, it’s funny. This came up 30 minutes before getting on this. Alicia, my wife, who’s also one of the cofounders, basically ran into somebody who’s like, “I’m charging my guest, but I’m not being able to get guest anymore.” I’m like, “Let me tell you why.” The thing is, hosts are getting desperate. It’s hard to monetize a podcast. It’s supply and demand. They’ve got 100 people asking me to be a guest every week. They’re like, “If one of them will pay me, I’ll do it.”Hosts are getting desperate. It's hard to monetize a podcast. Click To Tweet
I actually did an article with Business Insider a couple of years ago about how that actually turns into paid media. If you’re not disclosing that your guest paid, that could be a problem. Let’s put it that way. If you watch an infomercial, it starts off by saying, “This is a paid advertisement by X, Y, Z company.” If I paid Juliet to be here she should technically disclose it, “This is an advertisement for what I do.”
Journalists can go after that. That’s not my lane. I’m saying I think that there might be some conflict of interest because then you’re not having a guest that benefits your listenership. You’re thinking, “I’ll take the guest that pays,” which I think runs into a problem. I’m a big proponent of not doing this. It’s what could become wrong with the industry. Let’s imagine every host saying, “I’m going to charge.” Every host is saying that and then they keep on raising their rates. Eventually, the only people who can pay for it are big production companies with a fixed set agenda they want to cover. They’re like, “This is what I’m here for. This is what I’m going to do.”
The independent individuals who maybe have a book are not necessarily able to be like, “I want to be that guest.” “Sorry, Disney’s paying me $10,000 for that same spot. What are you going to do?” You be like, “I don’t have it.” We lose the independent voices, which is actually, I think the real power and authority in podcasting. I’m with Juliet. Don’t pay to be a guest on a podcast.
Now, if a host says, “It’s free to be on the show. Let’s get you on here.” That’s cool. That’s great. If they say, “Would you like to run advertisements afterwards with me? If we each put $500 in or you put this money, we can get it out there to more people.” That would be a different thing that I would personally be okay with. I’ve done it a few times. It wasn’t me paying to be there saying, “This was a good episode.” That is determined after the episode. “There’s value in us actually promoting this together.”
Juliet, I’m glad you brought that up. That’s definitely one thing you should avoid. The other thing you should avoid is the podcast host is, “I need guests.” If it’s perfectly aligned, go for it. That’s usually a red flag. They’re like, “I have to have a guest because I don’t have an episode tomorrow.” That usually means you might be the last guest because next week, when they can’t make it work or they’re sick, then their show goes on hiatus and then people very rarely come back. Let’s put it that way. A couple of things to look for are people charging, people who are like, “I have to have a guest.” Those are two extremes. Be careful with those.
Anyway, getting into more of the practical stuff. How do you be a guest on a podcast? I shared some of the data shared, making sure that your pitch is unique. You can go back to that last episode that Juliet and I did together. How do you actually do it? A lot of people these days are using social media. That’s still the biggest. The data will show you that people are actually doing DMs on social media, which can work if you have a relationship with somebody.
If you don’t, that makes it difficult to start to build that because there are going to be so many questions back and forth. Also, you don’t know for certain that that host is looking for guests. Maybe they have a backlog of a year or maybe this is their last season where they’re having guests. You don’t know that by reaching out that way.
I’ll mention my own product here. That’s why I enjoy PodMatch. There are other directory-type services like that. By all means, do your due diligence. Go check some of them out and see how they work for you. I’m only going to mention the name of mine right now, but you can do a simple Google search and find some others. I encourage you to do that. Check them out and see which one works best for you because I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to be a one size fits all solution.
The reason I like those services is because podcast hosts have taken the initiative to join those services in saying, “Yes, I am looking for guests.” That is where you want to be. You don’t want to be somewhere where you’re guessing, where you’re like, “I wonder if they want guests. I’m not sure if they are interested in having any guests, but I’m going to try reaching out.” I’d rather go somewhere where a host is saying, “Yes, I’m looking for guests. Can you send them my way?”
That’s the first thing that I want to mention. You’re going to have way better success rates by going somewhere where people have confirmed, “Yes, I’m looking for guests.” Use one of the directory-type services or matching-type services, whatever is it that you want to call it. I’ll dive into mine a little bit here, Juliet.
The idea behind what we do is we decided to make it a little bit simpler and do the actual matching. Actually, it helps podcast hosts and guests to be able to find each other even faster. I like to make podcasting on either side of the mic as frictionless as possible. At the end of the day, if you’re the podcast host, your listeners don’t care.
I’m going to go straight to it. I’m going to be blunt here. Your listeners do not care how long it took you to produce the episode, to find the guests and to do all the administrative work. You can even tell them, “This took me fifteen hours to do.” They’re like, “Big deal. I don’t care. Where’s the episode at?” This is me being blunt.
On the guest side, same thing. If you spent three weeks trying to find podcasts to be on, nobody is going to be impacted by that three weeks. Can we make this frictionless? Can we make it fast? Can we make the connection as quickly as possible? That has been our goal with PodMatch and always will be. We’re always expanding to find ways to simplify the process. For us, the way we look at it is, “Can we show people if it’s a good fit or not really quick?” That’s what I’m going to show you all here.The goal of PodMatch has been and always will be expanding to find ways just to simplify the process. Click To Tweet
I missed one thing that I think is important. By the way, going back to the podcast, you should and shouldn’t be on type of thing, doing the pitch. Always be willing to do the outreach. Hosts have a lot of options these days, it seems. Anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you create an account on PodMatch or one of the other places that are similar, if you set it and forget it, I don’t think you’re ever going to get any traction. It’s going to require you saying, “I’m going to proactively now put time into it.” Do the outreach to hosts.
As with anything in life, we get out of it, we put into it. I’m a firm believer of that. I encourage you. Don’t set it and be like, “Cool, I’ll wait for the floodgates to open for me.” No, go out there and continue doing the work every single day. I don’t mean to reach out to 100 podcasts a day. As a matter of fact, I reach out to 1 or 2 a week. My goal is to get on one podcast a month. I don’t have big ambitious goals to be on tons of them. As a matter of fact, I find that you can turn one podcast interview into a lot of content.
I have a buddy who does one a month. The entire month of content is done by that one podcast interview. He crushes it. He does a good job with it. It figured out the formula for it. He actually recorded how he does that and I can share that with everybody in a little bit here. I’m going to show you all PodMatch now.
I’m not going to go into everything here. This is the dashboard of PodMatch. Basically, you have a to-do list. The to-do list is important because it’s basically telling you, “Here’s the action that needs to happen.” You can tell there’s one where I’m having Angie on my podcast, but we’ve not scheduled a date and time yet. Clicking that will enable us to schedule the date and time that will align on both of our calendars, which is great.
This is me being a guest on a podcast. This is me hosting and me being a guest. I have a hybrid account. I have both guests and hosts. Mine’s a little bit different here. This one is me being a guest on a podcast. Same thing. We’ve determined we want to make it happen. We’ve determined the topic at this point. We’ve not actually scheduled the date and time yet. We’re trying to align our calendars.
There are scheduling links. Most people will make that easy. I can tell you all, we have very different schedules. Let’s put it this way. We’re ten hours in different time zones. Making that work has required us not to use an automated calendar. Instead, we are actually chatting back and forth to see who’s willing to wake up earlier or stay up later. That’s we’re at with it.
Beyond that, you can pin people if you maybe want to look at it later. Upcoming interviews. You have your schedule, which is also on the dashboard. Estimated episode releases, which I like. All these are shows I was a guest on. I can see when they’re coming out. One came out, I haven’t seen that. Now, I can go back and press a button here that will let me message this host and say, “I noticed you said the episode’s released. Can you send me a link to it? I want to be able to share it.”
I can get an idea of, “When are my episodes coming out as a guest on or that I’m hosting?” Same thing. It’ll mix together and start with the word guest or host. Here are my upcoming interviews, all that type of stuff. That’s basically the dashboard. I won’t get into the rest of this. You can see where I can see my potential reach both from a listener perspective and from social impressions that have been made based on posts that have included me from hosts that use PodMatch. That is a cool thing to be able to see. I have 92 reviews as a guest, which is cool because I don’t know of another place that gets you reviews as a guest, which is great for a host to be able to see.
Right now, it’s a shot in the dark as a host. There are hosts that are like, “Are you going to be a good guest? They can see that 92 people who have had me on their podcast say, “Alex has done a good or decent job.” I’ve got 2 unscheduled interviews, 3 upcoming. I’ve completed 216 through the platform. The unpaid commission. We do have an affiliate program. Don’t look at mine because I have never paid it out since day one. I actively use it to make sure it works.
You can talk to my cofounders to see if they want to give me $38,000 in change right now. This is not typical result, but since day one I’ve followed the same plan of bringing people to the platform like we tell anyone else. Just so you know, an extreme commission beyond this one, which has never been paid out, is we have people who make $700 to $800 a month using PodMatch because we do a profit share type of thing. I’m not going to get to that. That’s beside the point.
Now, to show you the actual matches. Being a hybrid member, so guest and a host, I want to see podcast guests. If I hit these matches by now, I have six right now, I can click here and it will show me my next available match. Here’s someone named Ryan. I’m not going to dive too deep into that. This is one of the beauties of PodMatch. It’ll set up this media one sheet for you. That’s a digital version of one. It’s not a PDF, which those are great and all. You can copy and paste that information. It’s so nice having an actual media one-sheet.
When people are like, “I want you to be on my podcast,” and it’s off of PodMatch, I send them straight to this page of mine where they can see all this information. The guest details is the only thing that’s proprietary to the platform. You can even share with some people who are not on PodMatch. They won’t see this bar where they can actually take action, which is message, maybe later, pass, previously interviewed or pinned for you to look at them later. They won’t see all these details because those are inside the platform. I’ll dive into that in a minute.
Having a media one sheet’s great because you get the opportunity of your about. No one likes to read. I don’t know about you all. For some reason, I know we’re all authors here, but people, when they’re looking at stuff like that, they don’t necessarily want to read all this until they can quantify that it’s for them, so we added tags. You can quickly look at it to see, “I’ll read more about this guy.”
Before we had that, people were like, “It’s too much to read.” I’m like, “What? You said you’re an author. What do you mean it’s too much to read?” They can go through the tags and quickly determine. You can have your approved images. The hosts enjoy having multiple images. Their bio, what you want the host to usually read.
This is my public version of it. This is what anyone else would see, minus the little edit buttons. This is actually my profile. I got my tags, but you see, I have multiple images. Catnip for podcasters, by the way, is having an image that has space on either side of it so they can add words. That’s totally catnip for a podcast host because I could put the name of the podcast episode on there now and not have to do it over Alex’s face. That’s a benefit.
Here’s my bio that I like to have read and it’s short. Then my call to action, where I like people to go. I’ve got ideas for episode titles or the main focus of it that I’m able to cover, questions that I’m always ready to answer. For the most part, hosts are not going to read these questions word for word or use these titles. What it does is it gives them a framework for where you want the conversation to go.
That’s the beautiful thing. They’re not going to Google you. I used a pet example earlier. I’ll use another pet example. They’ll realize, “This person used to be a dog breeder. I’ll talk to them about that.” When you’re like, “My book is about personal development. Why are we talking about dogs for 35 minutes on this episode?”
By having this information handy, you give them a direction to go. I have some previous interviews I’ve done and some different shows I’ve been on, which I should probably update. Some of these have been out for a while. Entrepreneurs on Fire, I think. I had the opportunity to interview with Jasmine Star. That’s one I need to put on there. That was a great conversation.
Anyway, my actual reviews from hosts. These are hosts that had me on the show and they’re talking about it, which is great. That’s my profile. I am going back to this other one, which was a match that I had. Looking at it, I’m not going to decide this in real-time, but again, I can take any of these actions. For now, I’m going to hit maybe later because I want this person to come back up to show you all an example.
Here’s the next one. I actually know Barsi, which I can tell you now, this is a great match because she has a lot of expertise in podcasting. This one, I’m not going to do anything now. I would hit message and then we’d start the conversation. If I hit message, it’ll open it up and start the conversation here. I will show you all the actual messages itself and that’s the last thing I’ll show.
Explore lets you go on. If you’re looking for something specific, you can come on here and you can type in whatever it is that you’re looking for and get specific on here. It’ll go through the whole database of members and you can message them from there, as well. My actual message side of things. Let me look at my guest view. These are podcasts that I’m actively chatting with to be a guest on their podcast. I’ll be real. This is a bucket list one for me.
That’d be cool to be on this podcast. I don’t know if you want me to be on. This doesn’t look like an actual invitation, but I’m going to go ahead and start the conversation. Let’s put it that way, at least. From here, I can now join the conversation. I can confirm, match or pass. Whoever receives the initial message is the one that takes the action of confirming or passing.
I was on this podcast, so everything’s finished. We scheduled the date. We actually confirmed it. I had been interviewed. Now, I’m waiting on her to actually set the estimated release date. We can keep the conversation going from here. Here’s another one. I can confirm the match. You have this entire match status. The whole thing is simplifying the process. We’re actually about to roll out a new version of this. We’ll make it even faster on that side of things. The whole idea is we’re going to make it frictionless. That’s how the whole thing works there. Juliet, do you want to ask any a question there?
I do. I want to make a comment. You guys saw the podcast review section. If you are one of my clients, I probably told you a ton of times that when you work with someone on LinkedIn, ask for a review because, on your marketing materials, you can cut and paste the reviews in. Same with this. You can put the reviews. You can cut and paste them right off here onto your media page so people can see when they’re looking at the media page on your sites that you’re a good guest. It puts it all in one place. When you’re putting your marketing materials together, you don’t have to run around and look for things. You can log in and grab them from here.
The last thing I should show actually would be, what does an actual host profile look like? I’ll do that real quick as well. If you’re going to pitch, this is what you would end up seeing. Actually, I know Kelly. I’ll show hers, Aligned Success. She’s a great podcaster. She’s an expert podcast guest. This is who I go to learn about podcast guesting, by the way.
Here I am. I’ve not been on this show. I happened to search for it. The only thing it doesn’t say is maybe later because it’s not in a match. It hasn’t shown up as a match at this point. You have this little bit of detail here, which is nice. I can see that she has 210 reviews as a podcast host. I’ll be real, if someone has more than ten reviews, that’s huge. These are Apple reviews, specifically. Getting an Apple review on a podcast is extremely difficult and is a great indicator that someone actually listens to it. If a host has five, even, if someone has reviews, it’s like, “Clearly, someone has listened to this podcast.”
By the way, I purposely changed a few things here because I wanted you all to see the check and the X on this detail section here. I can look through it all. I can see the ideal guest. They explain who it is that they’re looking for, what I need to know about the podcast, the flow of it, who they’re talking to, the audience and some different links and stuff like that. All important stuff. The real power is in this check or X.
I changed some random things to show you all because this was an easy one. I purposely said I’d only accept other genders versus male and female. You all could see there’s an X. Based on my criteria, I wouldn’t actually be able to match with this person because I said no ladies. I also said no men. I said nobody. Just to show you what the X looks like.
Social media. I put 1 billion social followers. An X would be on everything. All things I did to show you all what this looks like. If I was evaluating this podcast, 210 reviews, that’s all I would even look at because that’s huge. I can also see good engagement on social media. We added an engagement score, which means our system goes through and calculates who’s engaging.
I realize now a lot of people buy social followers. Juliet, you had an episode where you were talking to a guest about how they weren’t accepted to be on some radio show because they didn’t have enough social media followers. If they had a big budget, they could go buy them. We look at engagement scores. Here’s an example. There was somebody who had 500,000 social media followers across all their platforms with less than 1% engagement, which to me means they paid for those.
The other thing I can see is that the downloads per episode is about 3,000. This is an estimate. It’s not going to give us ever exact numbers, but I can see that they’re on charts, as well. In the United Kingdom, under business, it’s the 221st most popular podcast. In Norway, 180th place. You can see if they’re on charts. Ninety-nine episodes. To me, knowing that most podcasters never even make it to 50, that’s a good thing. We speak the same language. That’s good. These are all the things. I’m not going to dive into all of them. Basically, I know that this is a podcast I might want to be on.
As a guest, you’re able to see this. you start the message out. Now, you’re able to see it. You can click here to listen to it. You can see where everything’s at. I wanted to show you the host side of it. Both of these are public and private. You can see them on the web. You can share it with people or you can go to it without being on PodMatch. If you’re logged in, you can actually see that detail section, which will dive deep into some stuff. That’s all I’ve got to share there. Juliet, I’ll turn it back over to you. If there’s more, I can dive in.
Linda has a question.
Are you suggesting that we should ask our hosts for podcasts to give us a review?
PodMatch will automatically do that. The system will ask on your behalf. I try to make it frictionless, so there will be no reason for you to ask. As soon as you do an interview together, the first thing it’s going to say to the host is, “How was this guest? Can you write them a quick review and leave them a star rating? We’ll put it on their profile.”
Right now, we’ve been putting more emphasis on this. I’d say now, about 75% of hosts do that. They’ll actually leave it, so you don’t need to ask. If you’ve been on a podcast that wasn’t through PodMatch, I suggest asking them for a review, “How did I do? Can you tell me about what I shared?” A podcast is a meaningful experience. If you did a good job, which I’m sure you did, people have something nice to say, usually.
Thank you so much.
Michelle has a question here. “I’ve heard that it’s a robust process to sign up for PodMatch. Can you please share more about the process and how long it takes to set up an account?” Alex, I think it’s pretty easy. I’ll let you take it after I say I thought it was easy, but I had a speaker sheet already. Alex, do you want to elaborate on that?
Michelle, I love this question. I’ll be real. Out of any comparable service to PodMatch, ours is definitely the most time-consuming to sign up. I showed you the profile. That information is all required before you get on the platform. Most will let you on and then you can fill it out later. We did not want to do that because our devotion is to quality, not quantity. We’ve been focused on that. If you have a speaker sheet like Juliet, I’ve been told it takes five minutes to sign up because you’re literally copy-pasting everything.
If you’ve never done that practice, though, it’s a good practice to figure out where you want to be. I’ve had some people tell me, “It took me an hour to sign up. Now, I actually am more honed in than I’ve ever been.” It’ll actually help you be able to narrow things in, get it figured out. Yes, it can be a little bit of time. If you have that information ready, you already know what you want to talk about, what you want to do, it’s not that bad. Either way, I consider it a good practice.
My question is that I have seen on some high-profile people’s YouTube channels that the guest requires payment, “If you want me to be on your show or your podcast, it’s X amount.” My question is about the ethics of that, the other way around, charging yourself to be a guest.
This is an important topic, Lana, because we’re seeing this more and more. I know we talked about this a little bit earlier. I think it turns into an advertisement at that point. Are you having a guest because it is the right guest or are you having the guest because they paid you? Example, there was somebody who’s a writer for Forbes reached out to me, like, “We want to feature the best software founders of 2023 and you got nominated for.” I was like, “That’s amazing. I’m honored. What do you need from me?” They’re like, “We need a payment of $1,500 and then we can put you on the list.” I was like, “I just asked.”
I did a video because I wanted to be authentic. I’m like, “I’m honored to be considered. Real quick, am I considered because I pay you $1,500 or because I actually somehow qualify for this?” They said both. I was like, “I’m not going to pay to be something I’m not. I’m not against paying for things. If you told me that was to get to prove or something.” If they would’ve verbalized a little differently, I maybe would’ve done it. “I don’t want to be the best of the best because I paid to be the best of the best.”
We have to be careful in paying for things. I personally completely avoid it because I question whether, at some point, someone’s going to cut in and say, “If you’ve paid to be a guest on a podcast, that is considered an advertisement. It’s not going to be shared the same way.” I don’t know how that would happen necessarily, but I do worry about that. I get it. Podcast hosts and YouTube people are trying to find ways to monetize because they have some cost. I don’t think that that’s the right way to do it. I avoid it.
Lana, we have seen some publicity about big companies out there who took on things that didn’t appeal to their ideal audience. I would caution you in that sense, too, because not only will you lose listeners. For someone like me, my show is a gateway to business. I don’t want to offend my audience. I don’t want to produce something that they’re not going to be interested in because I’m making money, because that doesn’t help my overall business plan. If that makes sense?
There was some confusion, maybe because I’m talking about the host paying the guest.
I still come into the same thing. The same ethics apply on either side. Here’s the thing. If there are dollars involved in this process, you take a potential connection and turn it into a transaction. That’s probably the best way it can be said. You’re saying, “Lana, I’d love to connect with you, but give money first or I’ll give you money first.” That’s now a transaction versus what could become an opportunity to actually build a connection with that person.
Here’s the thing. Juliet and I recorded a while ago, but we stayed connected because there was no transaction involved. It was a connection we made. We realized we have good synergy. We can serve each other’s audiences so here we are. If I would’ve been, “Juliet, pay me $500.” Now, in Juliet’s mind, even if she was like, “He’s the perfect guest, I’ll do it.” It’s a transaction. I wouldn’t be here now. Let’s put it that way.
It applies the same way on both sides. I get that there are big personalities in the world that, I guess, they have to charge for their time. Great example. Tim Tebow lives down the street from me. He’s a great guy. His time is valuable. If you’re offering him less than $80,000 for something for 30 minutes, his team won’t even open the email. They immediately move it to trash. If you’re not offering six figures or more for 30 minutes of his time, they won’t even consider it. I guess at some point, maybe you hit that level where that makes sense. In general, I think you lose authenticity when that happens.
Thank you. I like the idea that the relationship changes. It becomes a purchase rather than a connection.
My question is around equipment. I see you’ve got a nice microphone. Some of the top podcasters have actually been speaking about having to turn potential guests away because the quality isn’t good enough. If I am going to start my own podcast, I’m curious about the equipment. Perhaps that could be in addition to PodMatch, which is like, “We vetted this person based on that they have a good microphone, they have a good camera, they have good streaming.” My question’s around that. What are some of your recommendations?
Nancy, the first thing I’ll share is I think it’s important to start where we are with what we have. Here’s the thing I’ve learned about podcasting. You’ll be forgiven for the lack of sound and video quality, but you won’t be forgiven for the lack of content quality. I’ve listened to some interviews where someone was driving in a car while getting interviewed, but the content was so rich and so good that I was like, “That’s okay. I’m going to press through this because I’m learning so much. I’m gaining so much from this.”
At the same time, I’ve heard some of the best podcast-geared people in the world. Everything was flawless. Absolutely perfect quality, but the content itself was severely lacking. I’ll tell you what show I stopped listening to, which one I continue listening to. I’m not saying don’t try, but if you have a good message that the world needs, people are going to power through a little bit of sound issue or stuff like that to be able to actually get the information they need versus super polished and all that.
I’ll use the example here. Once, I went and played pool with a buddy. First time playing pool with him. He showed up with his own gear. He has own stick, own chalk and gloves, everything. I was like, “I’m going to get crushed. This guy must be so good.” He was awful, so terrible. I showed up wearing a t-shirt and shorts and he’s in all proper gear. I thought he was going to be good because he had all the right stuff. What matters is the skill once you’re actually there.
With that said, I do always believe in continuous improvement if it’s something that you love. Let’s imagine you’re five interviews in as a guest or host. You’re like, “I enjoy this.” Start making an investment. It doesn’t take as much as you’d think. Especially YouTubers, they’re like, “My home podcast studio is $50,000. This is how I’ve been able to make it.”
Everything you see here that I’m using, this is a gray piece of photo paper behind me with two LED lights that actually hit against it. I roll that up when I’m not using it. It’s on a track. Behind it is my whiteboards. This mic is a premium mic. It was $200. I’m using a webcam. Everything plugs into a laptop that’s right in front of me. I actually did a full walkthrough of it. I’ll drop a link to that. It’s PodPros.com/setup. It has a full walkthrough video and all my gear breakdown..
I’m not saying to get my gear. If you focus on continuous improvement, you can add little things as it goes along. You can get a good mic for $100. Some of them are less than that. You can upgrade to a webcam. This one is now a $100 webcam. I’m not saying get it from day one, but work your way up to it because I do think that goes a long way.
I don’t use a background now, but when I first started, I literally went down to the dollar store and bought a tri-fold. I went over to Amazon and got a photographer screen and I stapled it to it. That way, I could put it out when I needed it. I could put it away. It was as simple as that. It was a $30, $40 thing when I started out. I don’t even use my microphone anymore. I hate it.
Actually, that brings up a good point. Some good things happened during 2020. A lot of bad things too. I don’t want to downplay, but some good things. One of which is people realized that they liked seeing people being human. What I mean by that is sometimes your normal living, like behind you, goes a lot further than having a super polished setup. They feel like, “That’s like me. I have a picture like that in my room. I have a bookshelf.”
People feel like, “This feels human.” My background may not. I have a super minimalist personality, so this fits me well. In general, if you’re in a chair, you’re in your normal office where you hang out, that’s starting to go a long way because people are craving a human element. If they can see it where you are, people like that.
I’m all about improving the quality of it, of course, but at the same time, don’t lose the human touch and make it something that makes people immediately feel disconnected from you. There’s no way I could ever have what that person has. I automatically have this barrier between us now. For what that’s worth as well, I think being authentic and human being yourself, being where you are, is such a gift for podcasting.
I’m going to add one thing before we go too. If you’re a little bit afraid to be a guest, take the leap. If you’re afraid you’re going to fall on your face, take the leap. I can honestly tell, if you go listen to my first podcast as a host, I sucked. I absolutely sucked, but we all do it. It’s like anything else out there. It takes practice. You may get off an interview and go, “I was horrible.” Chances are that audience thought you were great. Don’t be harder on yourself than the audience is going to be because the authenticity Alex was talking about, they’re looking to connect with you.
Especially if you’re an author, you have to connect with those readers to get them to read. You might as well start with the podcasting. Also, don’t wait until your book comes out. Before a book comes out, there’s no reason why I can’t be on Alex’s show as the author of the upcoming book and talk about my expertise and not so much the book. If you notice, when people do TV interviews, they’re introduced that way a lot. They’re not there to talk about their book. They’re there to talk about a particular soundbite of an opinion.
I know with the late Leslie Michaels. They called her up and had her on to talk about the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial because she had a feminism book. Look for those opportunities where you can be the upcoming author of and don’t wait until the last minute to get yourself booked. That looks like it’s it.
A quick question. Could you say something, Alex, about the cost of PodMatch?
I think it’s $25 a month.
PodMatch.com/pricing will get you there. As a guest, $26 a month. There we go. There’s a professional membership at $57. I always suggest starting with the standard membership. If you do like it, you want to do more, then work your way up to it. It’s $26 a month. PodMatch.com/pricing will give you that information. Juliet, you might actually have a partner link. If you do it, that’ll at least ensure you always get the price I mentioned because it ensures the best price.
You get a discount with mine. I don’t even know what it is. I’ll find it out.
While you find that, Michelle asked a question, Alex. She said, “You said that Kelly is a good resource for guesting. Do you have any other recommendations?”
For other resources about guesting?
I’m assuming that’s what she means.
I’m going to drop a link here. It is my podcast. I’m not on most of my own episodes. Let’s put it that way. If you go to PodPros.com/episodes, right under the cover of the image, there’s a list of categories. Click on guesting and then it’ll filter into guesting specific podcast episodes. Actually, the second one that you’ll see right now is Kelly, who I was talking about. You get to see a bit more about her. I’ll scroll through and read the topics. I do my best to make the title of it, what it’s actually about. If you scroll through, you’ll be able to find some good professionals talking about podcast guesting. That would be my suggestion. PodPros.com/episodes, click the little guesting filter and it’ll show you those episodes.
I was chatting with Christie earlier. I put my link in there. You get the best pricing with that. If they’re running something, you get a little bit less than the average person on that.
At the very least, it’ll ensure that it always stays best price. If you’re not doing this now, save that. Not that we are raising prices more. If we do this, we’ll still be at whatever the best possible price is. Thanks, Juliet, for being a partner. I appreciate that.
You would be the only person that hasn’t raised their price yet.
I’ll share why. I know we have to go, but real quick. We didn’t want to do that because, at some point, a lot of services in podcasting are raising their prices. Some of them aggressively, but it’s pulling out the independent voices. I shared that earlier. If you start charging guests, you will eventually hit the point where you’re not having any real individuals with a story, with a message to share.
We made the decision that, “We’ll take the hit on it, even though everything is going up on our end. We want to maintain independent voices being on the platform because that’s the message we believe that the world needs, not raising the prices so much that we get the big corporations and stuff like that.” We made the decision to keep the price low.
As a matter of fact, I’ve talked to some of the bigger corporations that were considering us, and they said, “Your pricing’s too low. If you want us to do it, you need to charge more so we can take it seriously.” We decided that’s another win for us. We’re not going to earn them as clients. It’s not going to happen. We’ll keep the authentic, independent voices. That is why we started the company. It’s always going to be why we do this. For us, yes, we may at some point have to raise prices, which I don’t want to have happen, but for now, we’re going to keep it how it is. That’s the heart and soul of what we do here.
I don’t know how many of you listen to podcasts. That’s what I listen to all day. I don’t watch mainstream media anymore. I don’t know if you know this. I’m probably off-topic. Obama signed a bill in 2013 that allowed the news media to feed us propaganda and they do it on a regular basis. Alternative media is becoming a strong resource, whether you want to learn how to or you want to know what’s going on in the world. Whatever you want, you can find a podcaster who is podcasting on that topic out there. Alex, thank you so much. I appreciate you coming on.
You’re so kind. What a blast. This was so much fun to be here. I appreciate you all for being here, for having me, for engaging. This was fun. Thank you.
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About Alex Sanfilippo
Alex Sanfilippo is the host of the top-rated podcast called Podcasting Made Simple. He is also the founder of PodPros.com, a software company focused specifically on the podcasting industry. Alex and his team have created popular services like PodMatch, a service that matches podcast guests and hosts together for interviews, and PodcastSOP, a project management tool that helps podcasters keep up with their episode releases.
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