When it comes to podcasting, all content is not created equal.
There are infinite topics and potential guests to feature, but if you want to be a great podcast host, you can’t just choose any of them and expect your podcast to resonate with your audience.
You have to go in with a plan to create episodes that will be valuable to the people you are trying to reach.
In short, you want to put out conversion content.
That’s content that turns listeners into clients, simply and directly, without being salesy.
Through my experience helping businesses start and produce their own podcasts with our Podcast Launch Program, I’ve refined the most effective techniques for ensuring your podcast content does just that.
In this article, I’m going to share my tips on creating your own conversion content that will not only make your podcasts valuable to your audience, but will also build up their trust in you until they feel comfortable giving you their business.
So before you hit record, here’s what you need to know to be a great host and tailor your content to turn listeners into clients.
What makes a great podcast host?
Whether you’re doing solo episodes or interviews, being a great podcast host really comes down to two major things:
1. Be human.
In order to create a feeling of connection with your listeners, you have to seem accessible.
Too many people make the mistake of trying to sound like an important authority figure that they give the impression of being out of reach.
This may sound too simple… but just be human.
Talk about your family, or your dog, or a cool trip you just took, or even how you were walking around in the dark and stubbed your toe.
Whatever the subject, personal stories make you relatable. You want people to look at you like a human being with a solution that can help them. Not someone who’s so exclusive they couldn’t work with you even if they wanted to.
One of our clients, Katrina Ubell, does this incredibly well. She shares things about vacations she takes, what her children are up to, when construction is happening at her house, and more.
These kinds of things make her audience feel more connected to her and position as like both a friend and a trusted advisor.
Let your own audience get to know you, and from there, the like and trust will follow.
2. Be a champion for your audience.
Your job as a podcast host is to advocate for your listeners.
That means either sharing incredibly helpful insights, stories and education based on your own experiences and expertise, or from the guests you interview.
A great way to make sure you’re following this rule is to ask yourself one question before every episode:
What do my listeners need to know, and how can I help them understand?
Any insight you or your guests can offer must be meaningful and impactful for your listeners in particular.
Just remember that if you are doing interviews, you have to make it your mission to uncover key insights during the conversations with your guests.
So if a guest gives a fluff answer, it’s your job to dig deeper. If they go off topic, you’ve got to gently guide them back to the important stuff that your audience needs to hear.
Ask why and how and get behind the scenes.
The idea is to keep guests talking about engaging and educational stuff.
As the host, you want to share personal stories to let your audience get to know you. But if you are interviewing someone who has gone on for too long about something that doesn’t pertain to the content, you’ve got to cut it short and move on to what your listeners need to hear.
Whether it’s you or a guest expert (or both!) sharing valuable knowledge, be curious on your audience’s behalf and dig into exactly what they need to know.
Pro Tip: The two main factors listed above for being a great podcast host apply to solo, co-hosted, panel discussion, and interview-style episodes. The fundamental pieces are all the same, but one additional thing that’s very important to remember is the power of teaching through stories and examples.
People connect with stories and the moral of stories really well. (Think of using fables to teach moral lessons to kids.) So if you can use a story to share your message, that will be a huge win for getting your audience to connect with it. The more stories, the better.
One of our clients has discussed the power of storytelling on his podcast multiple times, including his episodes entitled “Supercharge Your Content Marketing with Strategic Storytelling” and “The Science of Compelling Stories with Paul Smith.” Both of them offer more on storytelling and how to use it effectively.
What makes powerful conversion content?
Now that you understand what makes a great podcast host, you can start crafting content that turns listeners into clients.
The first and most important thing to note here is that conversion content is NOT salesy.
In fact, salesy content is one of the best ways to ensure that listeners won’t become customers.
Instead of direct selling and throwing out shameless plugs, conversion content does the following:
1. Educate and motivate action.
Give your listeners something applicable that they can do today to get a small result quickly.
Are your listeners trying to lose weight? Build a business from scratch? Create a profitable online course?
Let them know what they can do now to make some small progress toward that goal.
But keep in mind: the smaller the step, the better.
Offering your audience a tiny step they can take to get a small result will be much more effective than giving them a big step to get big results.
Why? Because people are much more likely to take an easy step than one that might feel overwhelming.
A small win will give listeners encouragement, progress and faith so they realize you know what you’re talking about.
It lets them know you can help them solve their problem or reach their goal.
That means when they’re finally ready to take that next step, you’ll be the person they think of doing business with.
2. Provide social proof.
Listeners want to know they can reach their goal or solve their problem by using your methods.
One of the best ways to let them know your tactics work is to share social proof.
Offer case studies and stories of people you’ve worked with, or better yet, invite past or current successful clients to come on the show. Paint a picture of what success can look like for listeners who want similar results but don’t have them yet.
Our client David Siteman Garland does an amazing job of sharing stories and testimonials from his students.
He regularly brings his clients on the show to open up about their success stories. He actively illustrates how every story is a little different and each student has a different background, but they are all moving in the same direction.
The key is to highlight the transformation.
How did your client(s) get from point A to point B with your help?
Let your audience see what it looks like to work with you to reach their goal and what it can look like for them.
3. Give a clear next step.
If you want your content to convert, you have to give your listeners a clear next step to take when they are ready to work with you.
This is where the call to action (CTA) comes into play.
A call to action is when you ask or tell the listener to do something.
Most podcasters tend to give way too many calls to action at the end of their episodes, asking listeners to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, check out their book, come to an event, etc.
This simply doesn’t work.
We’ve found that sticking to 3 core types of calls to action works very effectively.
Call to Action 1:
One CTA option is to ask your listeners to share that specific podcast episode with ONE person they think would find it valuable.
Make the request clear and simple.
For example, something like, “If you can think of one person in particular who would find today’s message really helpful on their weight loss journey, please share this episode with them.”
This CTA empowers your audience to refer you to other people—namely people who will be receptive to your message so natural, targeted audience growth follows.
Call to Action 2:
The second call to action, which should be in every episode, is a ‘Next Step’ offer for listeners who are ready to take the next step with you to get a bigger result.
Tell your listeners exactly what they can do when they are ready to work with you to solve their problem or reach their goal.
Keep in mind, anyone listening to your podcast is tuning in because they are interested in the topic you cover and growing or building in a specific direction.
That means they need a clear and easy next step to take when they are ready to start making more progress.
An easy way to add this into your podcast is to use a standard closing for each episode with a call to action that tells your listeners exactly what to do when they want a bigger result or are interested in learning more about working with you.
Our clients typically use a quick statement that tells listeners exactly what to do and where to get a “next step” offer to get more of your help.
This can be an opt-in (like a checklist, ebook or email series) or a way people can request a one-on-one conversation or consultation.
Here’s a formula we regularly use for this type of call to action, which is typically part of the outro of the podcast (Note: This is a rough formula you can play with, not an exact template):
“People have been asking about [PAIN], so I created [RESOURCE] for listeners to help them [DESIRE]. You can get it for free at [URL]”
“We have listeners asking all the time how they can get started with their own podcast, so I put together a Free 21 Step Podcast Launch Checklist that helps people finally know the exact steps to start their own podcast. You can get that checklist for free over at CashflowPodcasting.com/checklist.”
This lets listeners take the next step when THEY are ready. Usually listeners will hear this multiple times before they’re ready to take action.
And whatever that opt-in or resource is should then have a natural ‘next step’ or sequence that leads toward a sales conversation for qualified leads.
Call to Action 3:
The last type of CTAs are ‘mid-conversation’ calls to action where you share a specific action for listeners to take based on the topic of conversation at that moment, before you move on to a new topic or question.
For example, if I’m talking to a podcast guest about being unsure what topic their podcast should be about, I’ll mention that listeners should check out our episode 25 where I talk to Kai Davis about an easy way to market-test a podcast topic to see whether it will have immediate traction with your audience.
These calls to action can be anything from an article, person, or episode to an opt-in or even directly to a service or product.
The core principle though is that this type of call to action HAS to direct people to a resource that’s helpful for the specific topic or issue being discussed at the moment, not a salesy promotion.
These are golden when done right.
Now that you know how to be a great podcast host and what kind of content will convert listeners into clients, you know more than 90% of the podcasters out there when it comes to creating a podcast that will resonate with your audience.
If you want to know the success potential of your podcast, check out the Podcast Success Scorecard at www.podcastscorecard.com
Or if you want more direct help, our Podcast Launch Program may be the service for you.
We handle all of the heavy lifting with a 5-step process to help you plan, create, and launch a podcast in 6 – 8 weeks.
You focus on recording content (using the tips mentioned above) while our team handles ongoing production and publishing so you don’t have to do any of the grunt work.
Do you have more tips on being a great podcast host and recording conversion content? If so, leave your thoughts in the comments below.