Today we’re joined by Tom Schwab, whose core service is helping small businesses get their brand and message out by being interviewed on podcasts. We read and listened to a bit on his website about why podcasts are so effective and one of the things he says is that it’s easy to be a guest, because “the hosts ask you softball questions.”
Hm. Someone has obviously never been on THIS podcast. So we immediately throw the conversation out the window and start by challenging him on that premise.
To be fair, Tom qualifies it by saying hosts sometimes ask softball questions. Since that’s not our M.O. we want to know why he chose to be on our podcast.
Turns out he has a whole system in place for just this kind of thing. First he looks to see if the podcast audience matches his ideal audience. He wants to know if the audience will get value from the topics he discusses.
He also looks to see if a podcast has been around for a while so he knows it’s got an established audience. Finally, he checks to be sure the tone of the podcast matches his style.
It sounds good, but we have one more challenge…
Can You Over-Systematize?
About a week before we were scheduled to record this podcast, we stumbled across a page on Tom’s website that talked about his experience on our podcast and what we talked about. Since we hadn’t actually recorded yet, we wondered: does this guy have a time machine?
When it comes to business, Tom has something that turns out to be better. He has a system. The page was not public when we found it. And Tom explained that it’s a template that he will edit after the show with the right details and be able to promote it almost immediately.
It’s prepped with our names, our show, our logo… all Tom has to do is write up his notes and go.
Our challenge is conquered! We’re actually thrilled to have a guest who is so completely on top of his game, ready to help us with the promotion afterwards. We suddenly wish all guests would do this.
Want To Be A Podcast Guest? Get Your Website Ready.
Tom has a video on his site explaining what you need to do if you want to capitalize on your next podcast appearance. He shares five tips to get prepped.
- Have a photo of you on your website. When someone listens to you on a podcast, they get a picture of you in their heads. And when they go to your website they should be able to see you in the flesh. And whatever you do, don’t use stock photos.
- Have an About Us page. Tom says the About Us page is one of the most visited on a site. We’re not convinced and wonder if people really care about “us” or would rather find out what we can do for them. Tom says that our About Us page is not actually about us – an effective one really is about them.
- Be on social media. People expect it. Period. You don’t have to be everywhere, but be where your clients are. And be sure to include social links on your website so people can find you.
- Use the footer. Your footer is seen on every page of your website so use it wisely. Absolutely include your business address and contact information so you portray credibility.
- Include customer testimonials. We can all say nice things about ourselves. But it’s far more powerful when others say nice things about us. Use a testimonial near every decision point and call to action. Don’t relegate them to the lonely “testimonials” page.
Switching Gears To Masterminds
After the challenges and questions about being a podcast guest, we get to the topic we originally wanted to talk with Tom about: masterminds.
Tom defines a mastermind essentially as a group of trusted, like-minded entrepreneurs that get together regularly to discuss business ideas and challenges. By sharing and helping each other you can all grow your business faster and stronger than you could have alone.
Unlike a networking group or meetup, a mastermind is a group of people committed to each other for the long term. There is a deep trust among members so business can be discussed in confidentiality. Everyone shares and everyone learns.
Be careful not to confuse group coaching with a mastermind. Group coaching involves one leader who shares knowledge and value with the group. But in a mastermind, all members are at different points both a mentor and a mentee.
Trust and commitment are central to a mastermind. It’s a place where you have the freedom to talk about everything from your financials to your systems to your customers. There are plenty of places that you can talk about how great everything is. A mastermind is the place you can reveal your challenges, fears, stresses and frustrations honestly and expect the support and guidance you need. Likewise, you should expect to provide that same support and guidance to the others in the group.
So You Want To Start A Mastermind. Now What?
Tom says that a good mastermind is made up of like minded people who share similar business values, but that doesn’t mean you need a group of similar people. In fact, Tom says, the best masterminds have people from different backgrounds, different industries, even different countries.
Once you’ve chosen your group, you need to decide what your goals are. Why are you in a mastermind? What do you (and the members) hope to achieve?
Set some rules. You need a structure around when you’ll meet and how often. Remember, it’s a commitment. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, everyone should be there. Include an attendance policy that lets people know what is expected of them and how many masterminds they can miss in a given period.
Many masterminds have a “hot seat” where members take turns being the center of attention, so to speak. The member on the hot seat gets to use that meeting to ask questions, share challenges or get help with specific issues.
In our mastermind, we didn’t like the negative connotation of a hot seat so we call ours “the hugs and snuggles seat.”
Most importantly, be ready to be vulnerable. You’ll need to open up and share the things you’re probably used to keeping private. But the group members can’t help you unless they know the nitty gritty details. That’s why trust is so important.
Your Action Item
From Tom: Define who you want your customer to be, and speak to more of those people. Get a picture in your head of who that person is and be specific. You need to know exactly who you’re speaking with. Make all your decisions based on that person – from the emails you write to the podcasts you choose to be on.
Links & Resources
- Visit Tom online to learn more about what he does and how he can help you grow your business by being a podcast guest
- Check out the page Tom prepped just for you!
- Connect with him on LinkedIn
- Watch Tom’s video about website trust factors
- See the course by Dan Miller that Tom recommends for helping you set up your mastermind