Starting an Online Show: How to Quickly Grow Your Platform

Have you ever dreamed of having your own show?

Do you want to know how to get started?

There is no easier way to build a platform quickly.

To learn more about what goes into starting your own show, this episode of the Social Media Marketing podcast goes deep on the subject.

More About This Show

Social Media Marketing Podcast w/ Michael Stelzner

The Social Media Marketing podcast is a show from Social Media Examiner.

It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works with social media marketing.

The show format is on-demand talk radio (also known as podcasting).

In this episode, you’ll learn the different formats involved in both audio and video shows and the key ingredients you must have to make it a success.

Share your feedback, read the show notes and get the links mentioned in this episode below!

Listen Now

You can also subscribe via iTunes, RSS, Stitcher or Blackberry.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this show:

How to Create Your Own Online Show

There are some amazing talk show hosts who do incredible things by simply talking to other people. Think about Jay LenoHoward SternDr. Phil, Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah Winfrey started out with a half-hour, low-rated talk show in Chicago, and look at her now. The secret to her success is interviewing people.

In the social media world, the big name that comes to mind is Gary Vaynerchuk. He became famous for Wine Library TV. He sat behind a camera in his wine library store and he talked about wine. He also had interesting guests who talked to him about wine.

Gary has a really cool personality, which led to incredible opportunities for him. As a result of him simply talking about wine, he got a $1 million book contract.

If you think of the podcasters you listen to regularly, many of them have shows where there is more than one person and there is dialogue going back and forth.

The secret source of everything I’ve ever done is interviews. Interviews have been the key to Social Media Examiner’s growth.

When I launched Social Media Examiner in October 2009, I took my friend Jeff, who’s a video guy, to BlogWorld. And when I went to a MarketingProfs conference in Chicago, I took my flip camera and interviewed people.

I got behind the camera and talked to the likes of Chris Brogan, Steve Rubel, Jessie Stay and a lot of other people for about 10 minutes each. These interviews catapulted Social Media Examiner to incredible success. Interviews weren’t the reason for all the success, but they were extremely instrumental.

Listen to the show to find out why interviews are one of the reasons for Social Media Examiner’s success.

My backstory 

I never liked reading books in college, so to be able to pass tests, I had to arrange study groups with some of the smartest kids in class. By hosting the study group, I would learn enough to be able to ask questions to get the dialogue going.

From this experience, I discovered that I could learn something by interviewing people in my group. These techniques led to my future success.

One of my first companies was Stelzner Consulting. I was a writer for high-tech companies, where I interviewed engineers on the factory floors. It was my job to write materials to help the organization sell.

Before Social Media Examiner, I was known for writing white papers and I did a lot of teaching. In the early 2000s, I ran teleclasses, where 100-200 people would pay $39 to $59 to listen to me on the phone interviewing experts every month.

whitepaper source audio classes

Before Social Media Examiner, I was known for teaching classes about writing white papers.

Listen to the show to learn how you could become the next Gary Vaynerchuk or Oprah Winfrey.

The benefits of having a show

When you start interviewing successful people, other people look at you and think “WOW! That person who is doing the interviewing must be really smart.”

A great example is Derek Halpern of Social Triggers, who goes out of his way to reach out to scientists who do really interesting psychological research.

The knowledge that Derek extracts from them is really exciting. Everyone who isn’t a scientist thinks Derek is brilliant. He is associating himself with some really brilliant people.

The other benefits of doing interviews is that it’s fun and easy. It’s much easier for two people having a dialogue to create incredible content. An extended monologue is a lot harder to prepare.

As a content marketer, interviews can help attract an audience for your business. You can also build valuable relationships that would be impossible otherwise.

Listen to the show to discover further benefits of doing interviews.

Show formats

There are two types of show formats. The extended monologue and the talk show.

Monologue format

A great example of someone who does an extended monologue show is Michael Hyatt.

He has a podcast called This Is Your Life, which regularly trends in the top 10 marketing podcasts. Michael shares great content from his experiences. He’s all about intentional leadership.

Using previous content gives Michael a bit of direction, although he has revealed to me that he finds the monologue format hard to do.

Doing an extended monologue is like giving a presentation. You need a really detailed outline and it takes a lot of work.

this is your life podcast

Michael Hyatt's extended monologue show, This Is Your Life.

Talk show format

The talk show format is a lot easier. It’s about multiple people having intelligent discussions.

A great example of someone who’s doing a talk show in a video format is David Siteman Garland, on The Rise to the Top. In the show, David interviews experts and you see both David and the expert sitting side by side on a video cam.

the rise to the top interview

Michael Siteman Garland's video show, The Rise to the Top.

A great example of a talk show in an audio format is Mitch Joel‘s podcast 6 Pixels of Separation. Mitch has a brilliant style of discussion.

tim ferris six pixels of separation

Click on the image above to hear Mitch's interview technique.

Listen to the show to find out why Mike is a big fan of the talk show format.

Do you have what it takes to do your own show?

Are you a naturally inquisitive person? Then you have what it takes to a host a show. You don’t have to be an expert speaker when you do interviews, because you just have to ask questions, step away and let the interviewee do the talking.

Listen to the show to hear why being a naturally inquisitive person is a bonus for hosting a show.

How to make sure your show turns out well

You’ll find that having a path mapped out before you start the interview is critical. Not only does it keep you and the expert on topic, but it also helps create a show that will engage people and keep them listening.

I put together a cheat sheet. It’s simply a small document that I have either on a card (when on the go) or on my screen (when online). The value of the cheat sheet is to have a line of questions ready to ask.

Here are some tips for creating a cheat sheet to help you during the interview:

  • A simple biography of the person you are going to introduce
  • 5-7 questions to ask
  • Share these questions with the person you are going to interview ahead of time
  • If the conversation goes off the deep end, these questions can help to bring the conversation back on track
  • Makes sure you own the show

You could try to be like David Letterman and look out for people who want to promote their new book or new products in your industry.

These people are looking to promote what they have and once you can get them on your show, as long as you talk about what they are there to talk about at some point, you can still take them in any direction you want. This way you can get some of the best guests on your show.

There are two different talk show formats:

Video

Video interviews are further broken down into in-person and remote. One example is if you are going to do an in-person interview, you can do it with your iPhone or a flip camera with a tiny tripod, or at a desk inside a trade show event. You can also bring a camera crew with you.

In the beginning, I recommend you keep it simple and use a small portable video device to get a few videos (that you don’t appear in) under your belt. You’re behind the camera, but your voice is being heard.

Then there is the remote type of video. For example, you can use Skype or GoToMeeting. Either one works well. You can record the video on your computer using Call Recorder on Skype, Camtasia on Windows or use ScreenFlow on the Mac.

Audio

Audio is the easiest to do because you don’t have to worry about what you look like on camera. You can use call bridges like Free Conference Call, AccuConference or Skype. Simply record the audio.

Mike’s Top 5 Tips

Use the simple tips below and you’ll have a cool show.

  1. Be sure to think about the questions you want to ask in advance and try to come up with a theme. If you don’t have a theme, your questions will end up all over the place and you’ll have a hard time marketing the show.
  2. Make sure you run the bio by the person before you start recording. This gives the interviewee the chance to be introduced correctly.
  3. Explain who your target audience is to the person you are interviewing, as this helps them think about how to answer your questions.
  4. Confirm that they have the amount of time that you want them to have for the interview.
  5. Ask them to shut off all distractions.

Listen to the show for more useful tips.

Discovery of the Week

If you are looking for some cool sounds to add to your podcast, then head over to FreeSound. It’s a search engine for sound effects.

freesound example

Click on the image above to hear an example of what is available on FreeSound.

Listen to the show to hear some examples and let us know if you give it a try.

Other Show Mentions

Social Media Marketing World is Social Media Examiner’s latest mega-conference—taking place at the waterfront San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina in San Diego, California on April 7-9, 2013.

As you’d expect, Social Media Examiner recruited the biggest and best names in the world of social media marketing for this conference. Only the best for you! Be sure to check it out.

Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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What do you think? What are your thoughts on starting your own show? Please leave your comments below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, and host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. He also authored of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.EntrepreneurOnFire.com/ John Lee Dumas

    Interesting post Mike. I think a lot of people who want to create their own online show will benefit from the tips you have posted here. I agree having a clear map of what you are going to do and to ask during the interview will greatly benefit the host of the show. 
    Keep rockin!

  • http://entrepreneurshowdown.com/ Joe Cassandra

    John does a great job because he keeps the questions pretty similar, but yet every interview goes different ways, it’s great!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks John – Fully agree that having it planned out in advance is key

  • Rick C.

    Nice overview with some specifics that are useful.  Can you follow up with an overview of how to effectively share the shows once they are produced?  What are the best vehicles to get these shows out to your prospective audience? 

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Great questions Rick.  This may be a future episode

  • http://www.facebook.com/affiliatevideoblogging JR Picklo

    Thanks for the tips in this post. I’ve been thinking about maybe a once a week show as my next step. What do you think about using Blogtv or Livestream to do shows? 

  • http://www.patcoakley.com/ Pat Coakley

    Michael, I think you specifically asked whether we would like to see more of this extended monologue format from you?  While I, like the others, enjoyed the tips in this broadcast, I think they would have been just as effective in a written format.  I realize that having an interview each podcast may be a scheduling nightmare, but I for one prefer that format over this weeks’. I have come to value your ability to present us with folks of a variety of proven skills and through your skillful questioning elicit something they perhaps have not shared before or you push them to clarify issues of interest to us all.  Many times while listening I have thought, “Oh, I hope he asks this…” And, you invariably do, or ask an even more astute question.  So, for me, I think your interviewing skills are very well suited to this podcast format and distinguish your podcast from others, and your extended monologue is actually more suited to your writing skills.  That’s my Lucy 5 cents.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey JR,

    Not familiar with Blogtv.  Video is much more challenging to get folks to watch than audio.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Pat – I fully agree with you and frankly enjoy interviewing much more.  I am my own worst critic when it comes to this stuff, but do like the interview format and know that folks simply love it.  You have affirmed what I am thinking and the good news is this, I have no plans for more extending monologues for some time. 

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  • Daryl_tagumpay

     Hi Michael, I’m naturally inquisitive myself.  But what if I don’t have a good voice?

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Daryl,

    You don’t need to have a good voice.  Can you talk?

    Finding your voice is a skill you can develop as you go.

  • TalkDiva2

    Once had did my shows from a real studio with a director/floor manager.. The whole she bang. Then the economy got sour–couldn’t keep it going. Have been thinking of going online but still not certain on the right approach. Your article provides some great tips/ ideas on what and how. Thank you.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Go for it TalkDiva – These days you don’t need all that studio jazz :)

  • http://www.VAforAuthors.com/ Sarah

    Hello Michael.  I have just opened an account with BlogTalkRadio so your article could not have come at a better time.  There’s plenty of advice and useful tips in your article which I shall certainly be taking note of and using.  Thanks very much.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Glad to hear you are starting your own show Sarah :)

  • http://twitter.com/ShanManOnline Shan Man of 98 KUPD

    Hi Michael, 

    As they would normally say in radio, “first time caller, long time listener.”  In this case, I’ve been following you and SME for a while now. I think I’ve maybe commented a couple of times, but that’s besides the point. :)

    I’ve been listening to the podcast since you started it. I was happy to see you moved to an additional format! :)  So awesome! :)

    Without trying to make it sound like I’m sucking up, this podcast was equally as great as the previous ones you have done.  You’re one of the few podcasts that I look forward to each week and have found myself excited for Fridays! Even though I didn’t get to listen to this week’s ON Friday, I was able to listen to it on the way to different locations while driving this weekend. I didn’t mind this monologue episode only because I knew what to expect when you prefaced it.  

    A lot of the tips you give in this episode are techniques we use in radio.  Think the basic idea is that you should be prepared when you ask questions to someone you are interested in talking with.  The other tip I’ve recently used is creating an icebreaker. I did this yesterday in an interview where I had my guest taste test three cups of coffee (all of them being the same coffee) only to have him tell me which one tastes the best.  It definitely loosened the interview and we chatted for a good 20 minutes like we were best friends.

    You’re doing great, sir and keep up the podcasts! I anxiously await Fridays!! :)

    Shannon

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Shannon – Appreciate your kind words.  I like your ideas of an ice breaker :) .  Where are you based out of?

  • Mike Saunders

    Mike, I would love to see if you or others could share some tips on interviewing small business owners that are members of our local Chamber to provide a fun and educational show that Chamber businesses can benmefit from?

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Mike – I think it is the same strategy I spoke about.  Just be sure to focus on their business and not the chamber.

  • Mike Saunders

    Thanks Mike, do you have a set of questions that you would recommend using? 
    Also, what about having one interview focused on the business so others can learn more about them thus promoting the business…and then another show interviewing an expert in an area that a local business would find helpful (no selling though) and then alternating back and forth like this?

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Mike – I would check out some of the questions I ask on my podcast.  There is no secret formula really.  Both ideas sound viable to me.

  • http://gplushow2girl.com/ Carol Dodsley

    Great article Michael, another great way to do your interviews now is using G+ Hangouts – I moved across from skype to G+ when hangouts on air were introduced a short while ago and find the quality is great and you can interview live on-air (not for the feint hearted) and your recordings are automatically uploaded onto Youtube for you to then edit, leave there, embed into your TV show website and also extract the audio to convert into an audio podcast too.

    You have shared some great ideas with people in your article that I am sure many new TV and podcasting hosts will find invaluable to them too.

    On my wishlist as one of my next expert interviewees is a gentleman named Michael Stelzner :)

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Carol,

    Glad to hear you are using Google.  This may (or may not) be valuable to you: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/google-hangouts-on-air-guide/

    MIke

  • http://b2binbound.com/blog Greg Elwell

    Hey Michael,

    As you know, I’m a big fan of yours! Seeing what you’ve done with SME, the book, “Launch” and now the podcast is truly remarkable and inspirational. A common thread, it seems to me, is leveraging the power of other people and working with outside experts (as you discuss in Launch and demonstrate in practice).

    It’s been a big factor in leading me to rethink and retool my own content marketing services, and to start my own podcast! I’m in week 3 of Podcasting A to Z with Cliff Ravenscraft. My show will be The Expert Interviews Podcast (already on iTunes) and I will do deep dive interviews and share stories of experts, authors, copy writers and thought leaders in the area of content marketing to help B2B marketers excel at building their platform.

    Perhaps you’d consider being on my show at some point in the future?

    Keep doing the talk show format, but please do sprinkle in some extended monologues from time to time. You are a leader in building a platform and we can greatly benefit from hearing from the horse’s mouth.

    You platform whisperer you!

    Best,
    Greg

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Greg – Glad to hear you are starting your own show!  And say hi to Cliff :) .  I will be focusing primarily on interviews as I know it is my strength.  Feel free to email down the road.  

  • Gary Stockton

    Thoroughly enjoyed this podcast Michael. I love to read Chris Brogan’s newsletters and wanted to say that you and he have that ability to engage on a personal level in the way you communicate. You both make it look very easy. After listening, I feel inspired to try to build my own blog – or record my first podcast. Please keep making this show, it’s really excellent.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks so much Gary.  And here’s a funny side story.  I suggested Chris read his Sunday newsletter and now he is working it into his podcast :)

  • http://intranetfuture.com/ Jonathan Pollinger

    Useful article. Thank you very much.Agree with Carol above. Google+ Hangouts are definitely worth a mention. I chair a live weekly broadcast on horse racing in the UK and the Hangout format allows us to have ‘panel members’ from England, Ireland and the US. We broadcast live and the recording is available shortly afterwards. http://www.youtube.com/jpfestivalcom 

  • http://annacharlotta.com/ Anna Charlotta

    Michael, I really liked this show, I think it was just as interesting as your interview shows. A mix of both seems to spice things up.

    Pat, for me and people like me who rather listen to podcasts than read blogs it was great that Michael didn’t just present this in written format. :) Though I agree that Michael’s interview skills are stellar.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Anna – I guess the good news is I can always fall back on a solo show when in a pinch, but I know interviews are where my strength is :)

  • http://startupdadhq.com/ Joel Louis

    Mike the extended monologue really worked. Really enjoyed it. Thank You

  • http://startupdadhq.com/ Joel Louis

    Mike the extended monologue really worked. Really enjoyed it. Thank You

  • http://www.voicesofmarketing.com/ John Shea

    Great post, I am planning to start my own interview show and this post has some great information. I have started to follow David Siteman Garland and have been reading social triggers for a while now.

  • http://spectralightsms.com/ Mark Madere

    Hey Wolfman Jack – I mean Michael – I’m a “little late to the party” but I just listened to the podcast and really enjoyed it. Feel free to do extended monologues in the future. You ROCKED it!

    I’m going to be doing a presentation on the value of LinkedIn to my local Chamber of Commerce so now I’m thinking of doing a two minute interview with someone who found his job using LinkedIn as a commercial to gain more attendees.

    Keep up the great podcasts!

    Mark









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