For the 150th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast, we asked public relations and podcast expert, Brigitte Lyons, to talk about the best ways to build authority. Brigitte has presented to our Think Tank and The Underground, but we felt like what she has to share is too good to keep secret. In this interview, we asked her about:
• her early experiences as a PR specialist
• how she shifted her business from PR to specializing in Podcasts
• why podcasting is a powerful medium for building authority (and finding clients)
• how to get started pitching podcasts—what to think about before you pitch
• her advice to beginners and those who have “nothing” to say
• the elements of your podcast pitch—what you need to include
• what not to do when you pitch (the bad pitches she’s seen)
• what to do after the podcast goes live to maximize the impact
• how to make the interview successful—how to prep
• why you need a clear call to action to direct people to your website
If you’ve thought of using podcasts to build your authority as a copywriter, you’ll want to listen to this episode. To do that, just click the play button below or subscribe with your favorite podcast app. Readers can scroll down for a full transcript.
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Creative Live
Entrepreneur on Fire
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Kira: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits? Then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work. That’s what Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Rob: You’re invited to join the club for episode 150 as we chat with media strategist and podcast expert Brigitte Lyons about building a reputation, tactics copywriters can use to build authority and recognition, what to include in your podcast pitch so the host will say yes and a few details about her new business Podcast Ally.
Kira: Welcome Brigitte.
Brigitte: Hi. Thank you so much. Episode 150. I heard you saying in the intro. I feel like that’s a milestone episode.
Kira: This is a big deal episode. Yes.
Rob: Definitely a big deal episode. And I probably just said the business name wrong too, it’s Ally, right? Not Alley.
Brigitte: Yeah, it’s Ally. The naming of the business, that mistake right there was actually my biggest kind of fear. And there’s another company that has a pop-up ally and for years I thought it was Ali, so I’m like, it’ll just, it’ll be what it is.
Rob: Yeah. My apologies. Everybody check out Podcast Alli and yeah and learn more.
Kira: So we are so excited to have you here, Brigitte, because you have been in our community, you’ve already run a couple of workshops for our mastermind group and for our membership. And every time you run a workshop you teach, there’s so much you bring to the table and you teach us about podcasting and PR. So we knew we had to bring you on the podcast and I’m personally working with you too. So I’m clearly a big fan. So let’s just kick this off with your story. How did you end up in PR?
Brigitte: Yeah, well I got into PR really early in my career. When I was in college, I was a creative writing major and of course, like all creative writing majors, I thought I’m going to leave school. I want to do something really creative. I want to write. Of course, I want to write the great American novel, which I haven’t done, but there’s still time. And I stumbled into PR by accident, while I was still in school, I did an internship for actually a local sheriff’s department. It’s this crazy story where the sheriff ended up in the hospital. My mom was an ER nurse and they got to talking and she’s like, ‘Hey, do you have any internships for my daughter?’ And it turned out being a really amazing experience because by the end of that summer, I was writing a full newsletter. We were doing all these really cool events.
We did this whole event around not drinking and boating and we did some film spots and things like that. And I thought, ‘Oh, this would be kind of a cool way to spend my time when I’m out of school.’ And so I dove right into PR. I started out in the big agency path. So I did really political PR, so issue management, government relations, like if a company wanted legislation passed, I was in the agency helping shape public opinion about that legislation. If you’re getting the sense listening to this thinking like, ‘Oh, Brigitte, so you are one of the bad guys.’ You’re not entirely wrong about that. And so when I was doing that work, I just really realized that some of the things that I was working were entirely lined up with the beliefs and the values that I had.
And so I started looking for ways where I could take that experience and apply it to people and companies and business owners that I felt really passionately about and invested in. And so that’s how I ended up with the business that I have today. It’s been more than a 15 year journey from those first days of doing that kind of political based PR to what I’m doing now. But every step of the way I feel like has been led to this culmination of what my business does now, which is super cool.
Rob: I love hearing that. I have a similar experience early in my career where I was writing PR for a big agency and our client was into radioactive waste. And so I was writing some things about why the company was so good for helping with this and just felt really icky. And it was nice to leave that behind. But having said that, what are some of the things that you learned as a PR specialist that you use today in your business in order to get the right kind of customers and the right kind of attention on you?
Brigitte: Yeah. Well the more I’ve gone into my career and especially when I started building my own business, I realized that everything in PR is really about sales, right? We call it pitching the media because we’re selling our clients stories and ideas to the media with the hope that they’ll pick them up. And so when I started building a business, I realized that all of those skillsets really served me well. I mean, the number one piece of training I had was trying to identify what is the person at the other side of the table or the other end of the phone. What do they really care about and how can I convey my client’s message in a way that speaks to the heart of something that really concerns them? And in my agency days, we were dealing with these really technical issues. I dealt with things in the energy sector, so it was this really technical stuff and we had to work really hard to explain these things in a way that the general consumer would understand, ‘Why is my electric bill going up?’ Right?
And so being able to take something that was so dry and work so hard to translate it into a way that the average person can understand these technical models was so important to me in building my own business because I don’t have that gap now when I tell people that I do PR or I do podcast outreach for small businesses, they generally get it. But it’s not enough to just say, this is what I do for people, but you want to tell a story about why it matters to the person you’re talking to. So whether I’m in a one on one conversation trying to sell my services or if I’m representing a client and trying to pitch them a story, I’m always looking at, how can you dig deeper and relate it back to the person you’re talking to? And I think that that skill is something that serves you so well in your career.
Kira: And, Brigitte, your business has changed over time too. And now you’re focused primarily on podcasting. So can you just tell us a little bit more about that evolution in your business and even that moment when you realized, I’m really going to go all in and focus on podcasting.
Brigitte: Yeah. I love talking about this because it is something that is important to me in terms of the audience that I work with and how this evolution has happened because it’s really guided by what the clients I was working with needed. So when I first started my business I was very involved in the creative entrepreneur space. I was doing design blogging on the side, I was really in that design, sponge, decorate kind of space. And so I started out building PR plans for creatives. That was my first business evolution. And I did some creative live classes and then I started taking on clients.
But when I started taking on clients, product based PR was never my background. I’d done the government and the B2B PR. And so I started shifting in a little bit. It was still people who were kind of creatively inclined and had that spirit but more people who were speaking other business owners. So like your copywriters, creatives. But a lot of those sales are B2B. And so early on in those days, this must’ve been seven or eight years ago, a lot of what people were doing were guest blogging or they were doing things like contributions on fast company Inc. and entrepreneur. And so that’s where I started. Podcasts really were barely a thing if they were even a thing.
I think the very first podcast, maybe it started at that time. So we were working with people on that and helping them kind of get their message out and get media logos for their sites and things. And then about four years ago, I had a client who came to me with a really cool project and she was just saying I just want some media badges for my website. So she was really heavily invested in the Facebook advertising and she’s like, ‘I just need these for that social proof and we can do a couple of other things too.’ And we did some experiments with her so we got her those media logos, but we also pitched her to a little podcast called Entrepreneur on Fire and she happened to be on that show and she brought in tens of thousands of dollars of revenue just from that one podcast interview.
And I was like, ‘Oh, okay, this podcast thing, huh? Maybe we should look into that.’ And this was again, four years ago the podcasts were just starting to come up and people are just starting to become aware of them. And so it was mixed in with the rest of our strategy for the first few years. But I’ve really been transitioning out into only doing podcast outreach and it’s because of the specific kinds of people that I work with. So the people that I work with tend to be, like I said B2B businesses, very small businesses and they want to do traditional PR things like establishing their authority and their leadership and getting their message out and talking about their values. But they also really need to be attracting clients and leads with their interviews. They can’t just afford to do PR for PR sake which a bigger company can, but a smaller company needs to prove that ROI.
And what we saw time and time again was that podcast did all of the things you needed to do, in an hour long interview you were able to establish your thought leadership. You were able to share what you really cared about. But what I hear consistently from people who do podcast interviews, whether they’re clients or people just send them out and about talking to, is that they say to me, ‘Hey Brigitte, every time you do a podcast interview, I tend to have one or two people reach out to me and say, you know what? I’m ready to work.’ And those kinds of results are really important to my clients. And so we’ve just made the transition to only doing that because it’s the value and the benefit that people are seeing and that’s what we want to be aligned with.
Rob: So can we dig into this a little deeper? I know you’ve done some training for us, as we mentioned in the Think Tank and in The Underground, and so we don’t necessarily need a whole workshop, but if we want to pitch podcasts, if we want to get this kind of authority that you’re talking about and build that, what are a couple of easy steps that we can do to get started?
Brigitte: Yeah, so I think there’s a couple of things to think about when you start. First is identifying what are the kinds of podcasts that you want to be on? And really that’s an alignment piece, right? You want to think about what are the podcasts, what are the shows that my audience, my customer is really interested in? What are the kinds of pieces of advice that they’re looking for? So for a lot of the people that we’re talking about, or that your listeners are looking at they’re either looking for kind of advice on how they can grow or market their business, right? They’re looking for ideas that they can use or they tend to be looking for inspiration. So there’s a lot of podcasts out there that you kind of listen to, to get inspirational stories and you might not be looking to apply exactly what they do, but they kind of keep you going.
And both of those play a really important role. And so you want to think about okay, so these are the kinds of podcasts that my people can be on, do some research and find a couple that you think might be a really good match for the audience space you have. So things that you might want to think about are, are the podcast talking about really basic beginner level topics or are they tend to be more advanced and really specific? So in the marketing sphere for instance you can talk to people who are podcasting on everything from how to start up an email list or how do you develop your content strategy, right? Those are general beginner level questions. Or there’s podcasts out there that are really specific about like how do you optimize your Facebook ads?
Or what’s the next thing that’s happening with whatever content platform? So those are more things talking to advanced people. So you just want to find podcasts where their content really seems like it will appeal to the audience that you’re reaching out to. Then once you have just a couple in mind, I think it’s really good to think about what is it that you’re bringing to that podcast and the number one thing you can do to differentiate yourself when you approach a podcast about being a guest is actually doing the work to think about what would the show be about? So I actually love the two of you and your podcast as an example for this, because when you start your episodes with people, you give a kind of a summary of what the episode is about, right?
You tell people what we’re going to be talking about. And so when you’re thinking about what your content can be, it can be really helpful to just close your eyes and imagine I’m on this podcast, it’s my dream podcast. What would they say in 30 seconds to introduce me on the show? What parts of my background would they call out? Would it be your personal story if they’re interested in that, or would it be your amazing clients that you work with or another credential? And then what would they tell their listeners that you’re talking about? Because when you’re approaching a podcaster, that’s really what you want to convey. It’s like, what is the audience going to take away, learn, be inspired by in the interview? And I would say the biggest mistake that people make when they approach a podcast is it’s like all bio no content. And so you really want to think about, do the work and think about what is the content of this interview and suggest here’s what I’ll be able to share with your listeners and what they’ll learn from this.
Kira: What would you say to maybe newer copywriters who are listening and maybe have already tuned out because they’re just like, ‘I’m not ready for this. What do I have to say or share? I’m a new copywriter so I’m not ready to speak or pitch podcasts.’
Brigitte: Well, first of all, I would say that is baloney. I’m a tough love kind of person. You definitely can go approach podcasts as a beginner. So obviously there’s some shows that want to hear your rags to riches kind of story or only talk to people who have really established brands. So just don’t waste your time by putting those on your list. You can approach those later, but really look for smaller shows or shows who don’t tend… You can tell by the way that they talk about their guests, how important that is to them. If the podcast itself is always name dropping and you don’t have names to drop, then it’s probably not for you. And that’s okay. So in our database there are over 100 podcasts in the small business, creative entrepreneur copywriting spaces, so 400 I am sure there’s one that you can find as a match, as a beginner.
And we’ve definitely worked with beginners to establish them. And what you should really be focused about then are, what is it that is your point of view that you can bring to an interview? So I’m actually a really good friends with the host of the What Works podcast, which is a podcast with a great reach. And Tara is always talking about that she doesn’t care how big your audience is. She doesn’t care who you’ve worked with. What she wants to know is, are you willing to get into the nitty gritty of what’s working in your business and do you have a point of view? And I think that people really tend to think that the social proof matters more than your story and your voice. And I would really challenge you to flip that around. So when you’re thinking about then, okay, because I can hear the wheels turning like I don’t know, I’m new. What do I have that’s unique?
So my favorite question, my number one question that I ask all my new clients is, what are the biggest misconceptions that your clients and customers bring to your work? And I love this question because inevitably it goes to something where we’re going to have a strong point of view, right? Because we’re challenging the norms that people have. So if you’re a copywriter and you’re looking at those misconceptions, you’re challenging an established viewpoint and you might expect that all the copywriters will give the same answer to this question. But that is not at all the case. In fact, Kira, in addition to you, I’m working with another writer, Lacey Box and they both just filled out this question for me. And the answers were completely different. So I asked both Kira and Lacey, what are the biggest misconceptions your clients and customers bring to your work?
And their answers don’t even look at all like each other. And that’s because of their point of view. So Lacey, a big part of our business is ghost blogging. And so her answer was really focused on the misconceptions that businesses have about their blogs and the place that their blogs have in their content strategy. Well, Kira, like your audience is primarily other copywriters. And so your answer was very focused on branding and voice. And so I could give this question to 20 different copywriters and you will all give me a different answer. And that is such a good starting point to think about what it is that you bring to an interview that’s unique or enlightening that people won’t want to hear about.
Rob: So is that where the pitch begins then? Is the contrarian view or is there more to building that pitch that we need to know as we get started?
Brigitte: Oh, that’s such a good question. That is generally we tend to start with just about every pitch that we have because you do want to find that area of differentiation, what it is that you can bring to an episode. Sometimes it really depends on the client. Sometimes people, their area of differentiation can also be within their story. So I’m a good example for this. My story actually I don’t think is a good way to start a pitch because I started out in PR, I’m in a different kind of business, but I’m still in PR. It’s not that interesting, right? So if I were to pitch myself, I would really be focused on what it is that I think about podcast outreach or PR that’s different than other people. But that is not always the case.
We definitely have people who have done really cool experiments with their own business. Like Kira and her personas is a great example. But it’s really looking at that. So I would look at either what are those misconceptions? What do you have that’s different? Or if there’s something in your story and then the elements of the pitch then are really sharing that. So what is the audience going to take away? Whether it’s inspiration from your story, something that you’ve been able to do or it’s that kind of, I’m going to challenge this misconception you have and give you a major breakthrough, right? So what’s the breakthrough you’re going to give them? And then the other element is why you’re the best person to tell the story. So that’s where people tend to share what business results they have, who their clients are.
But sometimes this is actually about the things in the experiments that you’ve done with your own business. And so I think it’s best to build the way you talk about yourself around what is that breakthrough that you’re going to give somebody an interview, what are they going to learn? And then share with them why you. And when it comes down to writing the pitch then it’s really straight forward. So what you want to do is approach the podcaster and be very upfront that you are pitching them an idea for their story. So if I were to pitch to the two of you it’d be like, ‘Hi Rob and Kira, I’ve been listening to your show for a long time and I’m wondering if you’d be interested in bringing an interview about how copywriters can use podcast outreach to differentiate themselves and bring in more clients.’ Right?
So that’s the big kind of takeaway. And then if I were to talk about then that next piece of what the challenging convention is, is just say I know that copywriters as wordsmiths tend to really think about traditional PR because they’re really comfortable writing articles. But I’ve seen that going on podcasts can really elevate their brands and bring on a lot more leads than you would ever get from traditional media relation. Particularly, I think that people could, and I probably give a couple of things, takeaways and then why I’m the best person to tell a story, it’s really that bio that you guys share in the beginning. It’s like I’m the founder of Podcast Alley. We help CEOs, authors, and thought leaders, line up interviews on podcasts. We’ve worked with more than 100 podcasts. Here’s a couple of episodes. Let me know if you’d be interested in having me on the show.
Now, I’ve been doing this for over 15 years. I literally just made that up off the top of my head.
Kira: You’re in, Brigitte, we want you on the show. It worked.
Brigitte: But I wanted to do that just to show you how simple and straight forward and short this can be. You don’t need to give people your whole life story. You definitely can complement their show, especially if it feels genuine. But the bulk of what you want to focus your email about is just sharing in a really forthright way what it is that if they had you on their podcast that you would be there to talk about and why you, a little tidbit about why you’re qualified or what interesting story you have that makes you a great person to bring on.
Kira: Can we talk about the mistakes that people make and these pitch emails? Because I know I’ve made a lot of these mistakes already.
Brigitte: No way, you get pitch emails. You probably, you’re like a pro on seeing….
Kira: I’m better now, but I had some really bad pitches.
Rob: We’ve definitely seen some bad ones too.
Kira: Yeah, definitely.
Brigitte: I think one of the worst mistakes is actually when a pitch is too long, because there’s a lot more competition now to be on a podcast. And so podcasters are reporting to us that they’re getting way more pitches than they ever have before and they just don’t have time. So one of my biggest pieces of advice that I hold my team to and they hate it is, eliminate the scroll. So that means if you have an email window where you’ve copied and pasted in your pitch and somebody has to scroll down to keep reading, then it’s too long.
I would say if you’re pitching yourself 300 words is the absolute maximum. So ideally it’s even shorter than that. And that’ll force you to be really disciplined and thoughtful about what you’re including. And so I think that self-editing, we all know as writers how hard it is and how important it is. So number one mistake is just writing and writing and writing so much that people will never even read it. The other mistake that I see is pitches that are all bio and no substance. This is something I think that other PR people are more guilty of than individuals representing themselves. But I’ve seen a lot of pitches. So I have a few clients who are podcasters and they will forward me there bad pitches.
And inevitably they’re these pitches where it’s like a boilerplate bio about what your business is and who you are. And it’s actually totally focused in all those credentials and amazing clients you have. But there’s no substance, there’s no topic. It’s like you read it and you’re like, ‘Well that’s great. What would you talk about?’ I think that’s kind of a kiss of death for a pitch. So I kind of think those are the two extreme opposites because they’re too long or like people rambling and rambling and they want to suggest all the topics and then the other kind of extreme and there is when you don’t suggest any topic.
Rob: And can I add one more? The pitches that we see, at least that I see that I hate is when somebody reaches out and says, ‘Hey, the CEO of this company wants to talk about this product or whatever.’ And it’s so completely unrelated to what we do on this podcast. Drives me crazy.
Brigitte: Yes, the other rule that I have for my team is no stretch pitches. So if you’re like, ‘Well, they haven’t really had somebody like me on before or they don’t really cover this, but I think we could make it work because’ If you find yourself feeling that way, it is too much of a stretch, let it go, move on. Like I said, we have 400 on our database. You’ll find a better one.
Rob: I like that. So let’s say that you’ve landed the podcast, you had a good pitch, you’ve had a good interview. What comes after the podcast? Because it feels like if it’s all just about landing the interview, we’re maybe missing the real opportunity.
Brigitte: Yeah. This is the area where I think I tend to differ from what a lot of people would expect. So this would be one where I would have a misconception that I would pitch because to me what comes after the interview is about how you use that piece of content in your sales pipeline. So most people think about the interview is out and they come to me and they say, ‘Brigitte, once my interview is out, how can I use that for more promotion?’ And I’m like, ‘No, no. Let the podcasts do the work. Right? You’re borrowing their audience, they’re coming to you. Definitely share it on your social media channels.’ I always ask our clients to at the very minimum share the episode on social media because you want to show the host that you’re a good guest, right?
And that you’re giving back to them in the way they’re giving to you. But when it comes to leverage, to me, it’s actually more about how can you use this amazing piece of content, which now has become a form of social proof and social capital with the people who are already in your community and might be on the fence with working with you. And so if it’s a really amazing podcast interview where you come off really well, I would make the argument that you should email your list about it because it can be a great way for them to hear you do this hour long interview or 40 minute long, hour long and maybe make that transition from lead to customer. And so I think that’s a really great way to use it. I also know of some people right now who will do this really cool thing where they’ll listen to your podcast episodes and they’ll write blog content for it.
And since you’re all writers, you can do that. But it’s a cool business idea, right? Where they’re actually creating content out of the things that you do with your interview. And so listening to your own interviews, thinking about what kind of content can I have to come out of this can be really helpful because you will get questions in these interviews that you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve never thought about that. I need to write my people about that.’ And then you’ll forget about it. So that’s really important. And I think just thinking about it as that tool, like another thing that I’ll do sometimes if I’ve had a lead that has been on the hook, we’ve been talking for a while, they haven’t signed up yet.
If I have an interview come out, I’ll just shoot them a note and just be like, ‘Hey there, I know it’s been a while since we last checked in. I just had this interview come out that gives you a little bit more insight into our process and how we work. Thought you might want to check it out.’ And so that can actually be a way to reinvigorate leads that have gone cold. And so for me it’s really thinking about how now you use that content to make the sales.
Kira: I feel like we skipped over the actual interview, could we skip over that, so like-
Rob: That part is not so important.
Kira: That part it’s easy, but the actual interview, I feel like I’ve had interviews where I haven’t heard from anyone and then I’ve had interviews where I’ve booked a lot of clients so, and I can tell a difference of what I talked about. So have you noticed any trends as far as certain topics or certain ways you should leave in your service or offer into an interview in order to turn it into something with an ROI? What’s working, what should we make sure we include in the interview so that it does work for our business?
Brigitte: God, yes. I’m a big proponent of Stephen Covey and one of his maxims is, begin with the end in mind. And I think before every interview just spending some thought about, okay, what audience is this? What do I want them to do next? What are they going to care about? So before I got on the phone or not phone Zencastr with the two of you, I really spent some time thinking about, okay so we’re talking to copywriters, what are the stories that I have that are relevant to them? Because not everything I do is going to be relevant and kind of getting in the right frame of mind and making some notes for myself and thinking too about what’s next. So if somebody is on the hook after the interview, what do you want them to do?
So in terms of prepping for the interview itself, it’s just really helpful even to think about, like when I said, okay, so the copywriters, so I was like, okay, they might ask me for some specific examples and case studies. Okay, who can I think of that is relevant to this audience and that they’ll be able to relate to? Because again, like not all of my clients are going to be in that same space and are going to make sense and on the fly, if I haven’t prepared, I don’t know what is going to come out of my mouth. Lord, help us all. So I need to prepare and I’ll often write on a post it note like what are the two to three things that I really want to get across in this interview to the audience? What are the takeaways that I want your copywriters to have to make sure that they’re getting a lot of value and understand what we’re about?
And so doing that prep work I think is incredibly, incredibly important in terms of how your interview is going to go. And sometimes you might have a podcast where it’s a little bit, maybe not a stretch in terms of audience, but maybe what you’re talking about isn’t directly related to the work that you want to promote. And so there, it’s really thinking about how can I bridge these topics and weave in some client stories and not just telling your own stories but telling client stories or stories about your team or kind of dropping in what you do so that people do get a sense of it even if you’re not there to directly promote your work. So doing that prep work and I know this sounds like a lot of work, but I’m thinking like an hour where you’re brainstorming. Like what are some of the questions somebody might ask me and what do I know that I want to convey with this interview to make an impact?
Then the other thing that we work with on clients a lot, and it’s so funny because I’m rebranding and so I did not even do this for this interview, which is terrible, is actually to have a really clear call to action and a landing page where you can direct people after the interview and sometimes people’s home pages do the job. But when you think about what’s going to happen after the interview where I said like, people are generally kind of ready to work with you, I think it’s important that where you send people is a place where it’s really clear for them how. Right? Where there’s not a lot of barriers to buy and traditional PR advice and traditional content advice has often been, well, people need to get on your email address and I agree, they totally need to get on your email address, but also don’t put up barriers for them to buy from you if they’re ready.
And so I like to create a simple landing page with clients where it has two options and it says something like, ‘Hey, so glad you’ve got to listen to my interview. And we talked about a lot of great resources. If you sign up for my email list here, I’ll be able to give you a free PDF.’ You can brainstorm something you can give them. ‘And if you’re ready to work with me, here’s the next step with that.’ And so let them see upfront both options because often you’ll get people doing both. And that’s a challenge where I think people traditionally in our internet marketing would tell you that those people need to be brought into a funnel and warmed up. But a podcast interview tends to warm people up. A lot of people who listen are going to be ready to buy. So if you throw up a barrier in the form of a lead magnet and that’s their only option or a traditional landing page, you’re actually going to lose that person who is interested right now.
Kira: Yeah, I found that if you want to book clients from the podcast interview, it really helps to say in the interview, ‘I’m not taking clients right now.’
Kira: And then people really want to work with you. I’ve done that a couple of times and that’s when I had the most leads and I was sincere so I was not lying, but it did work.
Rob: So we should probably to make it clear, none of the three of us are taking clients right now.
Kira: No words.
Brigitte: Absolutely not.
Kira: We don’t need any work. We don’t need any business. We’re just good. But I want to ask both of you and I’m interested in Rob, what you have to say about this, but can we just talk about again what not to do in a podcast interview? Maybe Brigitte, what you, some of your clients may have some mistakes they may have made or Rob even in our interviews, maybe some mistakes that some of our guests have made. Not to call anybody out, but just as a learning exercise what not to do in an interview?
Rob: I’m going to let Brigitte go first. I think.
Brigitte: Well, traditional and my mind went two places, traditional media training would say that you should never ever talk about a competitor or trash talk anyone. So when we talk about differentiating ourselves, you never want to call out another person. And actually a big part of the reason we do that in traditional media training is because you don’t want to give your time to another company ever, right? So you don’t want to give them the free promotion. It’s not even about being a good person. So there’s that, you don’t want to trash talk people. I think from a perspective of like what works and what doesn’t work is I just think that all the mistakes are made when you don’t do any preparation and you just kind of get on their fly by the seat of your pants and you tend to put, like I can be a person who will really put my foot in my mouth if I don’t prepare or talk about things that are off topic or ramble forever. So I think those would be my kind of big ones.
Rob: Yeah, I think I agree with the prep as well. There are podcasts that don’t send out prep questions or there’s no discussion beforehand. And I think that it can be kind of rambly, like you were saying. The other thing for me is that we’ve had guests that give very short answers and want to make sure that they’re very concise. And that can be hard sometimes to conduct the conversation because conversations aren’t ask a question and get a two sentence reply, ask another question, get a two sentence reply. That’s not how people really talk. And so I think if people are going on podcasts, they should treat it as a conversation. They shouldn’t hog the mic. They shouldn’t go on for 20 minutes on an answer.
Rob: And we’ve certainly had a guest or two that maybe pushed that boundary just a little bit. But we’ve also had the guests that don’t, it’s harder to have that conversation because they’re not sharing their experience. They’re not sharing the things that they know or they’re keeping it short for whatever reasons. And I think treating it as a conversation is maybe the way to look at any interview.
Kira: Yeah, I like it. I was just going to add to that, just keeping it when you try to keep it too professional and almost trying to nail the elevator pitch throughout the entire interview instead of just relaxing, which it takes couple of questions sometimes to relax in an interview, but just, I enjoy interviews where the guest is just like, feels like a friend, is okay if they don’t nail the right language and get it all right and is willing to even get a little vulnerable. I mean that depends on the topic and the podcast and the host, but that’s what I enjoy more from a host perspective.
Rob: Yeah, I agree. So Brigitte, are there other secrets that we should be asking you about pitches, the interviews, the follow-up that you haven’t shared with us at this point?
Brigitte: Let me think about that for a second. I think I just want to bring back up one of the things that I mentioned in passing, which is the story telling. And so one of the most important things you can do is really try to think about concrete examples or stories. And so when somebody asks you a question get in the habit of saying, ‘For example, or there was this one time when…’ And I think that actually goes a little bit to what Kira, you were just saying about having a little bit, being willing to go off the cup, have something more natural and in depth and what Rob said about a conversation, but storytelling is something that people really connect with and they want to hear these personal stories. And so it can be your story, it can be your client stories. But preparing and thinking about what are one or two stories or examples that I can give in this interview to illustrate my points can really make the difference between an interview that’s memorable and resonant for people, or one that falls flat.
Kira: So, Brigitte, beyond podcasting, you have experience in PR, what else should we do as copywriters, especially knowing our strengths to build our authority online today?
Brigitte: Yeah, I think there’s a couple of different things with this. So on the PR side I started this out by saying we used to do cherishable media, people don’t get the leads, we don’t do that anymore. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe that things like guest posting or contributing content to top sites doesn’t have value. In fact, quite the contrary. I just think that the way you think about that value should be a little bit different. So public relations is just really about building up your profile in the public, right? It’s about people having brand recognition for who you are, understanding what you’re about. It’s not always going to lead or usually not going to lead to an immediate sale. And I think there is a lot of value for copywriters in particular, people who have a facility with writing to have making contributions to sites that their audiences care about part of the strategy.
So whether your clients are at a place like entrepreneur or Kira, you had like something on Canva talking about branding or for Rob, like there’s all those different software sites that you can be on. And so just thinking about where do my clients hang out and making sure you’re showing up. And then often we don’t think about our own content with PR, but I will say that the clients who we have the most success with tend to not just rely on PR to create their brand, right. That they’re doing the heavy lifting on their own platforms as well. So and that looks really different for every client. Like I worked with an author last year, Amber Ray and she has like this amazing Instagram because she wrote a book but she’s also an artist and her Instagram is just like really cool.
She had then 30,000 followers, I have no idea how many. That’s her primary content vehicle and she does really good work with it. A lot of other clients now are looking at LinkedIn, they’re obviously looking at their own platforms. But I think part of that too is just the more work you’re putting into building your own platform, then the more fodder a PR person might have for you. Or when we’re pitching we might link out like a client’s blog posts so that the podcast or other media outlet can see what they’re about. And so I think it’s both, it’s leveraging other people’s platforms to build that awareness and also make sure that you’re creating interesting content and a good brand in your own spaces.
Rob: Brigitte, will you talk a little bit about the challenges of building a location independent business, the kind of thing that you’ve been building over the last couple of years, whether it’s struggles with branding or hiring or what has been hard and what has gone really well as you’ve built your own business?
Brigitte: Oh, it hasn’t been hard at all?
Rob: That’s good.
Brigitte: I’ve always been location independent ever since I started my business. So very rarely do I have local clients. So I have a really strange perspective on this because the kinds of marketing and business building things that you do for a location independent business like going on podcasts or early on it was guest posting. Or going to conferences to meet people. Those are things that I’m really particularly suited and comfortable in doing. So part of that is just that kind of business model was better for me and who I am as a person. Like I’d much rather go to a conference and prepare for it and get in a conference room of writing then go to a weekly networking event in my town. I’m just a weirdo. So that part of it to me is just about picking the marketing strategy that matches who you want to meet and what your strengths are.
And I think that’s so important knowing yourself and how you can show up and being prepared to do it in the best way possible. I guess the biggest challenge is sometimes in team building. So there is something that happens when you’re in an office together where people have all these really natural touch points where they’re sharing ideas, they’re getting together, they’re learning from one another and they’re also just having casual conversations that build up a lot of natural trust between the team. And as I grow my team, it is something that I’ve always worked really, really hard on. And so I don’t know that it’s hard, but it’s something that you have to be conscious about and put a lot of effort into. And if not I think an independent team is just going to crash and burn, which is relationship building. So having the space to talk to people about their lives.
Like the other day, Christina who works full time for me, her air conditioning went off and we chatted about that for a while or she’ll share things going on in her life and I’ll share things going on in my life. And that is not a distraction from work. Management is about relationships. And so that’s all actually really important. And then also just making sure that you’re consciously making sure that your team knows that you’re open to talk to them. And that like when I was in an office, I would drop into my bosses office sometimes and be like, ‘Hey, do you have a minute?’ And just creating systems and structures for people to do that for you as the boss or do that with one another because it shouldn’t always be to you if you have more than one person that they should be able to talk to each other.
And so I don’t know if that’s specifically harder, but it is something that if you’re not thoughtful about it will really come and hurt you, I think in the long-term with your team if you don’t work on that.
Kira: Yeah. So Brigitte, I have a really have a question for you that I know we’ve given it some thought. What is the future of podcasting?
Brigitte: Yeah. Oh my God, this is a question I think about all the time. So earlier this year there was a report that Spotify was going to be having podcasts and they were acquiring I think, some podcast networks as well. So they were going to be broadcasting and doing some acquisitions and then we all know that, or maybe we don’t all, people in podcasting know that Apple is spinning off. So instead of having iTunes, which will be for music and for podcasts, they’re spinning off so each of these have a different channel.
And what I see this signifying are a couple of things, I think there’s a lot more corporate interests and money flowing into podcasts and that we’re kind of leaving that Wild West period of podcasting. And if you’ve been around for a while like I have, you saw this happening with the blog space a while, more than a decade ago where in the beginning there were all these people starting up these independent blogs. It was like LiveJournal, Blogger, like the WordPress, but not the one we all like, the other one that was for blogging. And people were just out there doing it. It was very easy to build up a blog as an independent person and rise up. And then what you see is that when more attention comes to it, you sometimes get more regulation and you also get more consolidation as money comes in and it becomes harder to have rapid growth as an indie
And I think those things will be true for podcasts, there’s going to be more money flowing in, but it also means that people who are resourced will be able to pull apart. However, I think with podcasting we always had that with the radio networks doing some podcasting. And so I don’t think we’re going to see the kind of complete reshifting that we had in the blog land because the radio networks have always been involved in publishing in the podcast platforms. And I think that the engagement and the fan bases for podcasts, like I don’t see any of that, any signs that those are going to slow down.
So there’s these annual surveys of people who listen to podcasts and how much they tune in and they really hold steady in terms of that. And so we might talk about podcasting like we do now sometimes with micro bloggers or micro influencers, and maybe that will be when an indie podcast is. But I do think that there’s going to be a place for it going forward. I’m just really interested to see kind of what happens with the consolidation and the money coming into podcasting.
Rob: Yeah, that’d be great. If more money float our way for podcasting, I’d be all in favor of that.
Brigitte: I think people like you have been doing it for a while and have a really strong editorial vision and are in an amazing position to capitalize on this. Our clients actually have started asking us about advertising which is something people were not asking me a few years ago. Like, ‘Should I be advertising on podcasts? What podcasts?’ And so we’re about to embark on a project where we go to all the podcasts and say, ‘Do you have a rate kit?’ I think that there’s going to be an amazing opportunity for that. And I am sure that there is going to be a startup that’s going to collect all the data for podcasts like there is on the PR side. So there’s this database called Cision and I can go look up this circulation and distribution of any kind of media platform. And then there is different ways to look at blogs and I think podcasts when that comes out and when there’s a standardized way for advertisers to know what audiences are, that’s when it’s the money is really going to flow in.
Rob: Yeah. Wow. Okay. I have one last question and that would be, what is your favorite Sim game? It’s not even a game. You’re a gamer, so what’s your favorite game? Yeah.
Kira: I was hoping you’d ask that.
Brigitte: So to give a little context, in one of the trainings that I did for Rob and Kira, I mentioned that I was a big Simmer. So people who play the Sims will know what that means, it’s a kind of a sandbox video game that has been around for God, I mean since I was a kid and they’re there all the way up to Sims 4 right now. There is a huge controversy in the Sims community about which one’s the best since probably two, three most people don’t like four. I’m definitely playing the latest in Sims 4 because I like to build and the building tools are really good. But lately I haven’t been playing the Sims as much because I’ve been playing my switch nonstop and I tend to play more serious games. But there’s this really cute game I picked up for $5 the other day called Cat Quest where you’re a little kitty cat and you’re going on an adventure to save your sister.
And when the cat gets damaged it meows and it’s just really cute. So I like being a kitty on an adventure in my downtime. It sounds really bizarre.
Rob: It is a little bizarre.
Kira: So if we’re new to gaming, right? I mean I did game a lot and then I’ve been out of it for a while. What would be a really good intro game for me to get back into gaming? Is it the kitty game or something else?
Brigitte: Well, Kira, what kind of games did you play when you were presumably younger in gaming?
Kira: Oh, Mario Kart. Yeah, I mean I liked driving with-
Rob: I can see a Mario Kart competition at the next TCC IRL. We got to figure out how to make that happen.
Brigitte: I definitely have Mario Kart on my switch as well as the new Zelda, which is the most beautiful… I had a friend visiting me when I got Zelda: Breath of the Wild and she was like, ‘Just play it because it’s so stunning.’ You’re just wandering around this open world. It’s really wonderful. And so the switch is a bit of an investment. You can also go on a computer on Steam and download some really fun games. But I think that in that case it’s like go back to your roots man. Whatever game you played, the genre you played either as a kid or a teenager is probably where to get started again if you want to get back into it.
Kira: Paperboy. I played Paperboy a lot.
Rob: Yeah. Asteroids too.
Kira: All right, we’re going to start, engage me now. So, before we wrap Brigitte, someone’s listening and they’re really interested in working with you or just learning more about the programs that you offer, where should they go?
Brigitte: Yeah, well definitely come over to my new site at podcastally.com and you can find out there how we work with people, see some examples of the podcasts that we work with and there’s a contact forum. I’m always really approachable if you have any questions about anything that’s going to be, that’s our new hub for all the things.
Rob: Thanks Brigitte for sharing your genius with all of our groups and now with everybody that listens to the podcast we love what you’re doing and the way that you teach and so we’re just thrilled to be able to share you with our audience and we appreciate you coming on.
Brigitte: Thank you so, so much. It is so fun to talk to you too and I really appreciate being asked back.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive available in iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.