AskPat 18 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up everybody? This is Pat Flynn, and welcome to Episode 18 of AskPat.
And this is where I answer your online business questions every single day, and at the top of the show here I want to mention my own podcasting tutorial, which you can find at PodcastingTutorial.com. Completely free, no login required, just six high quality videos that'll walk you through step-by-step how to start your own podcast, and I mention that because it has to do with today's question and answer. But also because a lot of people have been asking me since discovering the show, which was just release a couple weeks ago, “Well how do you start a podcast? How did you do what you do?” Well, PodcastingTutorial.com will help you out. And today's question, which is about podcasting, is from Zac and he asks about how I prepare my episodes. So let's get into Zac's question right now.
Zac: Hey, Pat. How's it going? It's Zac from ZacJohnson.com. Great podcast, love what you're doing. You're changing people's lives every day. My question for you is, how do you prepare for every podcast that you do? What's the steps that you take beforehand? Do you write down the questions that you're going to ask? How much time do you take to learn about the person you're interviewing? All that good stuff. Thanks.
Pat Flynn: Great question, Zac. I do two different kinds of shows actually for my podcasts. A solo show, where it's just me talking, and then an interview show where I have a guests, sometimes multiple guests come on. So let me tackle both of those for you because I approach both types of episodes in different ways.
With a solo show, where it's just me providing content to the audience myself, I first think about one very important thing, and that's transformation. That keyword: transformation. I ask myself, “What's the transformation I want my audience to have after listening to this episode?” By thinking about that question alone before you create any sort of content, not just podcasts, but blog posts, videos, presentations, it will be that much easier to put together when you think about that transformation, and it'll be easier to execute, and it'll be better received. Because your audience will have gained something from it first because that's the first thing you're thinking about. It's sort of like asking yourself, “Well what's the goal behind this piece of content, or podcast episode?” But I like thinking about it from a transformation point of view or transformation angle because it helps me put the focus on, “Okay what can I do for my audience?” And they are, of course, the most important part of the puzzle because without your audience, you know you have nothing, so think about their transformation first.
That's in a solo show, and I typically have a number of stories, examples, case studies, tips or tricks that go along with that transformation that support and lead up to that transformation. So, I outline the show from there. You know, transformation first, then I outline it, and I think about those stories, examples, case studies, tips and tricks that go along with that. I think about the order that would make sense with all of those things. Again always remembering what we're doing here, which is transforming our audience in one way or another.
I'll often use mind mapping tools to help me do this. I use a tool called MindMeister. That's my favorite mind mapping tool. There's also FreeMind and another one called Mindjet. All great mind mapping tools. And what they do is no matter which one you use, it pretty much kind of puts whatever is in your brain on the screen. You know you're kind of just spitting and puking on the screen whatever is in your brain, and it allows you to sort of organize that information, and then put it in a specific order and then into an outline. I mean that's the beauty of mind mapping. It's hard to figure out what's going on in your head, but when you see it on paper or when you see it on a screen like that you can put things in order. And that's the first step for anything I do, whether I'm writing an ebook or putting out another piece of content of any type, you know mind mapping is a key component of that.
So once I have that outline, which comes from that mind map and then ordering, and then creating that outline for whatever it is I'm going to do, I know where I'm going. I have that roadmap. But here's the thing. I used to script my entire episodes. I used to script the whole thing, and I did this at first because I was scared. I wanted to make sure I covered everything I wanted to cover, and I didn't trust myself to deliver the information myself, so I wrote everything down. That was a bad idea. It took forever, I wasted a lot of time, and most importantly, I didn't believe in myself, or even give myself a chance to use the knowledge that I had to become the content for me.
One of the cool things about podcasting is that you can just talk and let the content come out and have it be like a conversation, which will often actually help you produce content faster than writing a blog post sometimes, but because I didn't trust myself in the beginning, I wrote everything down, and, like I said, I wasted time. And at first the shows sort of just seemed kinda robotic because I was just reading what I had already written down. They didn't sound natural at all.
Now, I have my outline to guide me, and I just talk based off of that. That outline is the guide for me and for that episode that I'm creating. And I have to know and trust myself to just go with it. If I know a story for example that I'm going to share, I just write down the story that I'm going to tell, and when I get to that point in the episode, you know I tell the story like I'm telling a friend. I mean, when you talk to other people, do you script the stories that you tell your friends? No way. You just tell it. And that's how it should be on your podcast. It becomes more natural that way.
Now I will say, there are still a few things that I do script in my episodes even today. I script my intros, and I script my outros, and let me tell you why. I do this because, well first the intro, it is the most important part of the recording. If it doesn't pull in the listener and tell them, “Okay, this is what you're going to get.” Or, “This is why you need to stick around and listen.” If it doesn't do that, then people won't be compelled to stick around and listen, and they'll leave. You're asking people to devote a lot of time, sometimes between fifteen minutes and sometimes up to an hour or even more than that, out of their day to listen to your voice. That intro needs to be there to get them to commit to sticking with the show, and then you're good. Without that intro and getting right into the meat of what they're in for, they'll just leave and that's why I script a compelling intro every time in a way that I know will get more people to commit to listening through.
So the most important thing to think about here is this what's in it for them? What will that transformation be, and what will they gain from listening to the show? The outros are just as important as the intro and I script those also, because it's the last thing people hear, and their last final impression of the show and episode. And also that's the place where I want them to take action, right? That's where the call to action should be. And they can take that info they just learned in that episode that you've just created and put it to good use. It's important to have that instruction be precise and clear and motivating, and that's why, you know, I don't take any chances there and I do script that part. But it's so much easier than scripting the whole thing, so I script the intro, I script the outro, and if there's maybe a piece of the middle that's really important or you know parts where I'm quoting someone else, obviously those things will be scripted as well.
So those are my solo shows. For the interviews, I personally like to approach them as if I'm going to be sitting down with that person I'm interviewing at a coffee shop, and just have a regular conversation where I know that my job is to just ask questions and figure out as much as I can and learn as much as I can form that person I'm interviewing or sitting with at a coffee shop. This approach, which I'll call the “Coffee Shop Approach,” for me personally I feel it helps me ask the same questions that my audience on the other end listening is wondering too. You know I'm on the same level as my listener and can speak and ask questions at the same level as them. Not, on the other hand, if I already knew exactly what was going on and because of that knowledge, sort of have my listening wondering more or feeling like I'm already ahead of where they're at as far as understanding what's going on. You know, I want to be on that same level, so that's why I don't really spend too much time preparing questions.
You know I may prepare a few, if there are some key things I really want to make sure I cover, but I don't prepare too much with questions or research about the person I'm interviewing because I want the conversation to be natural. And like I said I want to be my own audience member. You know, and ask the same questions they probably have too. And I think it's just more entertaining for the listener, if it just free flows, like that. And is less structured.
But that's my style, I know people who prepare for days before an interview. You know, they read all the books and material that that person they're interviewing has written, and I mean, yeah, it's a bit scary going into an interview not really knowing about someone, and I do figure out a little bit of course you want to know sort of why they're on your show and what they could bring to the table but you know I let my natural conversation abilities . . . and again you'll get better over time, but just like we're sitting down at a coffee shop. And I find that I ask better questions when I sit there and pretend, when I'm recording my podcasts, just like I'm having a real conversation. But again that's my style, what works best for me and my podcast audience might not work best for you and yours, so you'll have to experiment and try things out and see what works for you.
So, Zac, I hope this answers your question and I hope my answer helps you. I'm wondering if this means that you'll be starting podcasts soon and if you are, best of luck. Let me know when the show goes live. I'd love to have a listen. If you are interested, the listener, in podcasting and want a free tutorial, you know I don't ask for anything in return not even an email. If you go to PodcastingTutorial.com, like I mentioned at the beginning, you'll get that there. You'll get the all the information to start a podcast. Good luck to all of you. Thank you so much for your question, Zac, and an AskPat t-shirt will be headed your way very soon. If you have a question you'd like answered here on AskPat, head on over to AskPat.com.
Of course, I'll leave you with a quote of the day. And this quote is by Maya Angelou. She said, “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.” And that is why I love podcasting. Because there's just something about the power of the human voice. So you have one, now is the time to use it. I'll see you in the next episode.
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