Tag Archives: Podcasts

A Powerful Key to Prolific and Potent Writing

I’ve always found the goal of meeting a word count to be a bit silly. Some messages can be clearly communicated in 200 words and others need 2,000 words. But if you use 2,000 words when 200 words would perfectly suffice, your writing will likely feel excessive or even self-indulgent. That’s why I consider the
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Killer Resources for Freelancers … and an Option for Those Who Don’t Want to Go It Alone

This week, Stefanie Flaxman and I yielded the floor to a pair of smart gentlemen who we don’t hear from quite as often as we used to. And we featured a writer you haven’t seen on Copyblogger before. Her debut post for us is a must-read for writers who like being able to pay their
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Why Starting a Podcast Intrigues Forward-Thinking Content Marketers

You know that familiar “awkward moment” is speeding toward you as the holiday functions and parties suddenly multiply across your calendar like chicken pox. You’re standing there, about to take a sip of your drink, when like clockwork it comes: “So … what do you do?” “I’m a … I work on the internet. Have
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A Desert Island Paradise … and a Great Podcasting Course

On Monday, Stefanie Flaxman showed off an incredibly easy (no, really) way to boost the power of your content, make it more audience-friendly, and even enhance your SEO. On Tuesday, things got a little silly when we asked our editorial team what their “desert island” copywriting technique would be. Come check them out — with
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The Showrunner Podcasting Course Is Open (For a Limited Time)

Yes, the course is open (temporarily). Yes, I want you to join our community. Yes, podcasting is an excellent marketing channel. But first, we need to answer the question burning inside your brain … Who is The Showrunner Podcasting Course for? Now, I’m going to be one of those guys and answer your question with
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The Bold and the Stressful: Smart Ways to Make a Big Move

Sometimes, you just have to muster your courage and do something Big. It might mean making a brave statement with your content, or creating a splash by launching something new and amazing. On Monday, Brian Clark shared a strategy for telling a more gripping story by using the framing power of contrast. And he showed
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Why I Love Broadcasting My Podcast Recordings Live

Seven years ago, I recorded my first live podcast. The process was remarkably simple, even then: my co-hosts and I called into BlogTalkRadio on our phones and we provided postgame commentary for a basketball game that had just ended. I’m pretty sure the three of us outnumbered listeners for that first show. So the stakes
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Expand Your Content Marketing Toolkit

Expand Your Content Marketing Toolkit

On Monday, our friend Jon Nastor shared the top tips he’s learned from conducting more than 350 podcast interviews in two years. He has a lot of solid advice here on how to better prepare for your interviews — without making your content stiff or robotic.

On Tuesday, our editorial assistant Will DeWitt revealed how his experiences on a recent cruise shaped how he thinks about customer experience — and how you can structure your content to make your audience feel like treasured guests.

And on Wednesday, Stefanie Flaxman saved us from the humiliation of 12 different word choice errors. Because content marketing is just more fun when you’re not embarrassing yourself in public.

On the Copyblogger FM podcast this week, I talked about how to attract the specific audience you want to your business, podcast, or blog. Everything you do will get much easier when you know you’re talking to the right folks.

And on our brand-new Sites podcast, Jerod Morris covered easy ways you can use excellent design to forge a stronger connection with your audience. (By the way, Jerod mentions a free coupon you might want to pick up if you’re looking for better hosting — it expires tomorrow, on July 14, so you’ll want to hop to it.)

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday. :)

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


if you want interesting responses, you have to ask the right questionsHow to Conduct Not-to-Miss Podcast Interviews

by Jon Nastor


we didn’t feel like customers. We felt like family3 Ways the ‘Cruise Ship’ Model Invites Your Audience Aboard

by Will DeWitt


write the correct words the first time and you’ll spend less time editing laterStop Making These 12 Word Choice Errors Once and for All

by Stefanie Flaxman


How to Attract the Exact Customers You WantHow to Attract the Exact Customers You Want

by Sonia Simone


3 Ways to Better Connect with Your Audience through Design3 Ways to Better Connect with Your Audience through Design

by Jerod Morris


How Award-Winning Short Story Writer Abigail Ulman Writes: Part TwoHow Award-Winning Short Story Writer Abigail Ulman Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


The Power of the Company of One, with Paul JarvisThe Power of the Company of One, with Paul Jarvis

by Brian Clark


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How to Conduct Not-to-Miss Podcast Interviews

"If you want interesting responses, you have to ask the right questions." – Jon Nastor

When I started Hack the Entrepreneur, I had never conducted a single interview before.

But during the past two years, I’ve hosted more than 350 podcast interviews. I’ve also made a lot of mistakes, embarrassed myself a few times, and learned countless lessons.

So now I have a number of insights to share with you today, as well as tips to avoid some not-so-obvious blunders.

Want to learn a simple path that builds an audience of dedicated listeners? A path that eases the burden of content creation, puts you at the forefront of your brand, and harnesses the power of experts and their audiences?

Although interview-based podcasts may seem like casual conversations, becoming a great interviewer takes practice.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The work required to conduct a not-to-miss conversation starts before you sit down for an interview …

Do the work, then let it go

The foundation of any good interview is knowing your guest and the topic you’re discussing. Podcast hosts need to treat interviews with extra care, especially when they’re performed remotely.

Your job is to quickly and effectively warm up your guest, engage them, and remove any barriers holding them back from sharing compelling details of their story.

Researching your guest before the interview helps you empathize with them. Your research can be as thorough or basic as you want it to be, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish with the interview.

Your research should give you everything you need to ask good questions.

The familiarity you will have with your guest will also breed confidence. When your guest feels confident that you know your stuff, it will be easier for them to relax and open up to you.

But once the interview begins, your job is to be fully present in the conversation — so let go of your research. Following your notes is distracting.

Prepare a guide and signposts for your conversation, but not a strict direction for every single step in the discussion.

Ask better questions

When I began conducting podcast interviews, one of my biggest fears was that my guest would answer my question with a simple “yes” or “no,” and I would be caught off guard without having a follow-up question ready.

The fear was not entirely unfounded, as that very scenario has happened to me on more than one occasion.

It turns out, in order to get interesting responses, you have to ask the right questions.

What, how, and why

“The question is just as important as the answer.” – Charlie Rose

The best questions will entice your guest to open up in unique ways. It’s your job to ask questions that make it easy for your guest to shine.

Try asking:

  • What was it like?
  • How did that feel?
  • Why did you ___?

What, how, and why questions are an interviewer’s best friend: they prompt your guest to describe something, look a little deeper, and avoid a one-word answer.

Can silence produce better podcast interviews?

The next time you are having a conversation with a friend or coworker, try this small, three-step experiment:

  1. Ask, “What did you do last night?”
  2. Listen attentively until they stop talking.
  3. In your head, count to five.

Nearly every single time you do this, your friend will start talking again — and typically elaborate on their previous answer.

As humans, we are conditioned to avoid those awkward pauses. Smart interviewers can use them to draw out more from their guests.

Former PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer describes it as:

“If you resist the temptation to respond too quickly to the answer, you’ll discover something almost magical. The other person will either expand on what he’s already said or he’ll go in a different direction. Either way, he’s expanding his response, and you get a clear view into his head and heart.”

When you leave space for your guests to respond, it will seem agonizing at first. But the rewards are worth it — a deeper conversation and a better understanding of your guest’s true nature.

This is what matters most

There is nothing more valuable to your growth as a podcast host than the experience you gain from getting behind the microphone.

My simplest advice boils down to:

Ask a good question, listen attentively, and sit quietly.

If you research your guest and subject, prepare open-ended questions, and take advantage of uncomfortable silences, you’re well on your way to becoming a great podcast-interview host.

Oh, and most importantly, have fun. Seriously.

None of the advice above works or matters if you aren’t enjoying yourself.


Grab Your Free, 9-Step Showrunner Guide …

If you want to take the next step to develop, launch, or run your remarkable podcast, start with The Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Remarkable Podcast.

The free ebook helps you get your podcast off the ground.

It follows the framework mapped out inside The Showrunner Podcasting Course. Yet, at the same time, it is a standalone guide to getting started today.

Get your free copy:
The Beginner’s Guide to Launching a Remarkable Podcast

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