Podcasting is more than just setting up your audio and recording your show. Beyond the technicalities, what makes a podcast grow is the art behind it and learning how to connect with your audience. In this episode, Juliet Clark has someone who coaches many others in both aspects. She interviews nationally recognized talent coach, on-air personality, and radio program director, Erik Johnson. As the premier coach focused on the art of podcasting, he brings us some great tips on how to not only get our show on the road but have the personality, promotion, and platform to match it. He also taps into the difference between influencer and impactor, helping you impact and move your audience into action at the same time and learning to attract the right people for your show.
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The Art Of Podcasting With Erik Johnson
Before we get started here, I want to remind you to go over and take our Promote, Profit, Publish quiz. You can find that PromoteProfitPublishQuiz.com. Also, don’t forget to go over and like our YouTube channel. Subscribe and follow us, Super Brand Publishing. You will get to see all of these guests over there live. My guest is Erik Johnson. There are many podcasts and coaches out there who will teach you the technical side of podcasting. We all know that, we’ve had them on the show. Erik is the premier coach focused on the art of podcasting, which we’re going to talk about that art. You can open up and you can start recording, but you better have some personality behind it. Erik has been near the top of the radio ratings since 2000. He’s coached many others to do the same with even greater success. In 2013, he brought his coaching to the podcasting world. He is a nationally recognized talent coach, on-air personality and radio program director. He knows the technical stuff. Welcome, Erik.
Thank you for having me, Juliet. It’s great to be here.
It’s great to have you. I have to ask, what’s up with Taylor Swift in the background?
Taylor Swift is one of my favorites. I’ve met Taylor Swift probably 3 or 4 times. If you want to study branding, study Taylor Swift. She is customer service beyond belief. After I met her, I took my wife, my daughter and my daughter’s friend to meet Taylor Swift. After the concert, about three days later, I get a handwritten note in the mail and it says, “Erik, thanks for coming to the show. It was a pleasure to meet your family. Thank you so much for the support. Have a great day. Love, Taylor.” Inside of that note was a little note for my daughter and it said, “Emma, it was fantastic to meet you. Stick with the piano. You’re going to do great. Please tell your friend Ellery I said hi. I can’t wait to see you next time. Love, Taylor.” She is magic when it comes to personal touch and making you feel like one in a million.
Now I don’t feel so bad about my daughter’s teenage childhood where I knew every single word to every Taylor Swift song. The girls in the back of the car singing the songs all the way to and from soccer.Influencer and impactor are two different things. An influencer shapes thought, and an impactor shapes action. Click To Tweet
She learned a lot of what she does by watching Garth Brooks because Garth does the exact same thing. When I got to meet Garth Brooks backstage, it happened to be Mother’s Day. Garth had met everybody else. He does these shows in like 4 and 5 shows at a time. Everybody was meeting Garth on the Wednesday show. I couldn’t make the Wednesday show, we had something going on. We were going to the Sunday show and they said, “Garth still wants to meet you.” I said, “That’s not necessary. I know he met everybody else on Wednesday. He doesn’t have to do a special thing for us. We’ll enjoy the show.” They said, “No, he insists.” We happened to go back that Sunday when we saw the show and it happened to be Mother’s Day and Garth brought my wife flowers for Mother’s Day. That’s customer service. How incredible is that?
I grew up in Paso Robles, the home of the Central California Fair. It used to be called the San Luis Obispo County Fair. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen him in concert. It was a long time ago. That’s very cool. Let’s talk about you because we could talk all day. Who’s that person down below Taylor Swift?
Carly Pearce. You have to be in country to know Carly Pearce and Michael Ray actually got married. Now there are estranged, but Carly Pearce and Michael Ray met at a show that I had both of them on. They both came to perform for the show I put together and they met there and then ended up getting married.
I do follow country, but I’m more of the old country like Johnny Cash type of girl. I love Gary Allan. He’s so amazing. Now we know you’re a matchmaker on your show and very gossipy. I feel like we could write the Country Western Gossip Journal. About you, we’re going to talk about your three pillars for podcasting that are important outside the technical. He’s already proven that he has the personality part of it because now we know everything about the country world. Tell us about the other parts that you think are important to building this platform.
Many people come to me as a talent coach because they launch their podcast, they get half a dozen episodes into it and they go, “It’s up, now what?” That’s where I come in. I help you take your information and transform it into engaging entertainment so you create those powerful, profitable relationships with your audience. There are so many podcast gurus out there that teach you how to start your podcast, but they don’t teach you what to do with it. It’s like somebody teaching you how to start a car and push the gas pedal. That’s where they stop. They’re like, “Good luck. Have fun with it.” I come in and I go, “Let’s refine this a little bit. Who is your audience? Who is your podcast for?” They go, “It’s for everybody.”
If it’s for everybody, it’s for nobody. It’s like when you write a book. “I write a book for everybody.” Not really because if it’s for everybody, it’s for nobody. There are three pillars to my Audience Explosion Blueprint. One is promotion. How are you getting out in front of other people who aren’t aware of you yet, getting them to know you and getting them to like what you do to come and check out your podcast? You can’t grow your audience by sending email to your email list or to post on your Facebook page. Those people already know you. They already know you have a podcast. There’s a good chance if they wanted to check it out, they probably already have. If you want to grow your audience, you have to get in front of new people.
Some podcast coaches will teach you how to grow your audience. The second piece is your platform. What is it you’re talking about? What content are you providing? How are you helping your audience? What sort of entertainment are you providing them? There’s only one reason people listen to audio, whether that’s a radio, podcast or music. As they’re driving and they have the radio on, there’s only one reason they do that and it’s for companionship. They don’t want to be alone. Sitting there and providing a whole bunch of information to them is not going to do anything for them. You have to be their friend. You have to connect with them, and your platform and your content does that for them. Getting them to come and listen to your show isn’t enough. You have to keep them coming back time and time again.
That’s where the third pillar comes in. That’s your personality. If you’re inviting people to your party and you’re bringing a whole bunch of people in the front door but they’re leaving through the back door because they’re not having a good time, your audience isn’t going to grow. You can’t bring enough people to the front door if they’re all leaving. It’s like trying to fill a bucket with a bunch of holes in it. Your personality is what gets people to know you, like you and trust you. It’s how you reveal things about yourself so they know what you value, what you believe in and whether they like you as a person. That all comes through, through your personality. Without that personality, you can’t hope to grow your audience. Podcast gurus teach you how to launch but they don’t teach you how to be entertaining. That’s what I try and do for you.
I find that the people that I monetize through my show, they get that I’m an action taker and that I don’t mince words. That’s the kind of thing you’re talking about with know, like, and trust. If I’m the abrasive, get it done or get out type of person and you like that, you’re going to hire me. If you’re this soft like, “Come on, Erik, you don’t want calluses on your hands. You’re super soft. I’m your girl.” You’re not going to hire me.Getting people to come and listen to your show isn't enough. You have to keep them coming back time and time again. Click To Tweet
You’re not attracting everybody. You’re attracting the people that you can serve. You’re attracting the people that you can help and you know who those people are. When you define your target listener, you define your ideal listener vivid enough that you can see that person in your mind and you go, “That’s the person I help.” You want to create all of your content for that person. People will say, “What about everybody else? I want my audience to be as big as I can make it.” That’s ineffective. You’re not making a connection with those people. Gary Vaynerchuk attracts a particular sort of person because of his personality. Dave Ramsey on The Dave Ramsey Show attracts a particular kind of person because of his personality. That doesn’t mean you always have to be abrasive in order to attract somebody.
You can be a nurturing and caring person as well and attract those sorts of people. Understand that those are the kinds of people you’re going to attract. You’re not going to attract the kind of people that need to be kicked in the butt and move along the way and those that take action. Understand who you want to attract first, understand how your personality attracts those people, and then bring those characteristics of your personality out in the stories that you tell and the examples that you give.
I want to break that down a little bit more. Those people you mentioned are influencers. I know a lot of people out there with their podcasts, they want to monetize but they confuse influencers with impactors. It’s probably the good way to say it. Having a quest to be an influencer to me is not as important as having clients, a sustainable business and impact. What do you say to those people who are those big lights people, but not, “I have 2,000 people that follow me, but nobody buys,” type of people? What would you say to them is wrong with that mentality? Would you even say it’s wrong? Is it only me saying it’s wrong?
To me, influencer and impactor are two different things. I can be an influencer without being an impactor, and I can be an impactor without being an influencer, or I could be both. An influencer shapes thought and an impactor shapes action. If you want to be an influencer and an impactor, you need to shape that thought and get people heading in the right direction, and then being an impactor gets them to take a specific action. When I listen to podcasts, a lot of times people will come to me for coaching. We’ll talk about their problems and their struggles. They’ll say, “Nobody’s buying my course on my show. I’m not getting anybody to buy the course.”
I listened to the show and nowhere on the show does it say, “Go buy my course.” I go, “Where’s your call to action? How do you expect people to do what you want them to do when you’re not asking? You have to ask for the sale if you want it.” Sometimes, they’ll have seventeen different calls to action. You’ll get to the end. They’ll say, “Don’t forget, check out the course over here. I’d love it if you left me a rating on iTunes. Don’t forget to like me on Facebook and join our Facebook group. Send me all your questions to my email address. I’m also on Twitter. Have you checked out my Instagram page? Come back next week because we have a great guest. If you want to be on the show, go fill out the show. If you want to get in on a strategy session.”
By that time, people are like, “Forget it.” You need to have one single focused call to action on your show. What is the one thing you want people to do when the episode is over and make that your call to action? If you want to drive your business with your podcast, don’t make, “Go like my Facebook page,” your call to action. That’s not doing anything for you. You want them to be on your email list because that way you can create that relationship with them. You want them to go and check out your course. You want them to sign up for your webinar. You want to start a relationship with them. Going and sending them to a platform you don’t own or have any control over is not going to help you drive your business with your show. Your call to action doesn’t have to be the exact same call to action on every show, but it should be a single call to action on every show. This week might be the webinar. Next week might be the email list. The following week might be something else, but make it a single focused call to action on every episode.
I’m going to throw something at you that we talked a little bit about when we pre-interviewed. I have a pre-interview process now for people who come on my show and I do that because I’ve gotten a couple of duds on the show where it’s been difficult to wade through like, “Why didn’t I pre-interview and down you?” When you’re developing that personality, let’s say that you’re one of those people who gets on the show and has no personality. How do you develop something like that in someone when they’re monotone? How do you develop all that? Do you tell them you can’t do it?
You first have to decide what aspects of your personality you want to highlight. Everybody’s got some sort of personality, whether it’s a dry sense of humor, a quirkiness or something about them that makes them unique. If we can find that, then we can start to refine that and highlight that aspect of your personality through the stories that you tell. If it’s a quirky sense of humor, let’s find the quirky things that have happened to you around your area of expertise and tell stories about that that bring personality to life. When I was growing up, I had a single mom. She raised my brother and I. We lived in a house that was $20,000. She was a waitress and scraped every penny she could make waiting tables. She always had a side hustle.
She would bake wedding cakes and we would deliver them on Saturdays. She was always doing something to make some extra money. That’s where I learned my side hustle from. A lot of the stories that I tell on my show always go back to my side hustle. I was selling bubble gum out of my locker in sixth grade to all of the kids. I would buy it by the case. I would piecemeal it out of my locker between classes to all the kids walking by and that’s how I made extra spending money. We would build a haunted house in my garage and it charged the kids in the neighborhood to come through the haunted house, or I was selling candles or Christmas cards door to door.Podcast gurus teach you how to launch, but they don't teach you how to be entertaining. Click To Tweet
There was always a side hustle in me somewhere, but I never thought about getting in front of large crowds and speaking. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I never thought I was going to be a public speaker. Now I get up on stage in front of 6,000, 10,000, 15,000 people to introduce a show or to conduct a contest or something. I don’t think anything about it, but I didn’t start there. I started back in the day doing it slowly but surely and building it up. It was a piece of my personality that I refined over time. I didn’t all of a sudden start with a big personality. I was quite the introvert and a behind the scenes guy. I found that piece of my personality that I could exploit and highlight through the stories that I tell. That’s how I become a personality.
Anybody can do it. We all have a little piece inside of us that makes us, us. If we go out and we try and be somebody else, we’re going to be a cheap knockoff. It’s not until you’re true to yourself that you explode into a big personality. If you look at people like Oprah Winfrey, she tried to be a regular TV reporter. She got fired. She got mocked for her weight. She started doing daytime tabloid TV shows like Phil Donahue and she was average. She was like everybody else. It wasn’t until Oprah decided, “I’m going to do it my way. I’m going to do it the way I want to do it.” All of a sudden, she became Oprah. That’s when she blew up. Rush Limbaugh was the same way. He was a DJ spinning the records, reading the lines, had a cheesy DJ name and got fired time and time again. It wasn’t until he decided he was going to be true to himself that he became a national personality. Howard Stern, the same way. All of these big names were trying to be like somebody else and failing. They finally decided to embrace what makes them, them. That’s when you succeed.
My ex-husband used to always tell me, he grew up in Baltimore. That’s where Oprah was a TV reporter. It’s interesting you brought her up. Even with everything you do, it’s like that. Back in 2015, 2016, I had a coach who tried to make me her. I kept saying, “This is hard for people to be able to build a platform.” I can’t tell them it’s easy. I quit, I rebranded myself and I became more me than her and my business took off. It had been struggling the whole time I was with her. There was one point where she had me do a webinar where I had my hands out. I was like, “I have a gift for you.” One of my friends watched it and said, “Who was that?” I can’t ever say, “I have a gift for you.”
Here’s the thing. When you do something like that, now you’re attracting soft people who don’t take action and it frustrates you and they don’t get results. If you’re the no sugar approach on your show, you’re like, “You’re either going to take action, or I’m going to kick you in the butt and we’re going to get results, or you’re not going to work with me. That’s the way it is.” I’m going to tell you how it is. You’re going to attract people that want that. They’re not going to cry when you get up in their face because they know that’s what they’re getting when they come to you.If you get on your podcast and try and be someone you're not, you're going to attract the wrong people. Click To Tweet
You know those are the people you like to work with and you know they’re going to get results. You attract the right people by demonstrating that on your show. If you get on your podcast and try and be someone you’re not, you’re going to attract the wrong people. It’s going to be a bad relationship from the get-go. You’re not going to help your clients get results because they’re not going to be the right client for you, you’re not going to be the right coach for them and things are going to go wrong. Be yourself on your show, tell people exactly what they’re going to get. When they come to work with you, give them that.
Erik, your Audience Explosion Blueprint is coming up again for people to work through all of this with you. Where can we find it and when does your next one start?
If you head over to PodcastTalentCoach.com/growth, you’ll get all the details right there. It has the dates of when the next one launches. I’ll walk you through the whole thing. It’s a six-week program. I teach it live. I walk you through every step of the way and we teach you how to do those three pillars. We teach you how to go out and get in front of new audiences. How do we find a new audience who isn’t yet aware of you? The best part about it is we use your expertise. If you don’t like public speaking, let’s not do that. If you enjoy writing instead, let’s figure out how you can write more to get in front of a new audience. You find your area of expertise and we capitalize on that for promotion. We create your platform and we create your personality. We find those great pieces about you that make you so unique and figure out how to highlight those on your show. It gets you right through it.
Erik, thank you for being on the show. It’s been a pleasure.
It was my pleasure. Thanks for having me, Juliet.
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