It Just Takes Too Long…

John Alexander Ball
10 min readMar 2, 2023

In a world of instant gratification and constant entrepreneurial hustle, it’s hard to play the long game and invest your time appropriately for growth

Every business owner has at least the same 2 key personal assets: yourself and your time. If you don’t take care of one of these assets you’ll negatively impact the other. However, most of the business owners I know are spending way too much of their time in the hampster wheel of constant content creation instead of working their zone of genius.

Let me know if you can identify with this coach: “ I’m making content all the time and it just feels like I’m shouting into the void. I started doing YouTube because everyone told me I had to be on YouTube. I started a podcast because everyone told me I needed a podcast. I started making content for Instagram and TikTok because everyone told me I had to be on them. I started live streaming because everyone said I needed to be doing live content. I started a blog because you’re supposed to be everywhere, right?

Hustle culture. Grind all the time. That’s just how it is if you want to succeed, right?

For most, the reality is that you end up working your arse off and not seeing progress, not building your audience, and not making enough sales if any at all. I don’t know about you but whenever I find myself working my arse off for a long time and not seeing the results coming from my efforts, I get disheartened. Something has to be wrong. Either you’re doing the wrong things, doing the right things but not in the right way or quantity or maybe it’s just not possible to get the results you want.

If you’re doing all this, I don’t even know how you have the time for the work you want people to pay you for. It’s a path to creative and physical burnout. I choose to do far less of those things and focus my efforts instead on the two areas I believe are most important for coaches and speakers (or anyone with a personal brand business); podcast guesting and email marketing.

I’m not going to go too much into why I think email marketing is so important other than to say that the big squeeze is already happening for marketing on social media platforms.

Email marketing allows you to build your business on your own virtual property rather than someone else’s. It means you don’t have to compete in an increasingly expensive marketplace with rapidly diminishing returns. Also, it still works and most people just aren’t doing it.

Podcast guesting, however, is an easy way to create evergreen content for your brand and if done right can bring you a consistent stream of sign-ups to your email list and prospects for your courses and programs, as well as speaking opportunities and more besides.

You will build a network of people who actively want to promote you and your message, want to see you do well and are delighted for you to share your messaging with their audience. It’s a sweet, sweet deal.

If it’s so sweet, why aren’t more people doing it?

Look at it this way, being a successful podcast guest takes effort, dedication, and time. Because of the effort involved, most people shy away from it and yet, in the long run, it could be saving you time and money. Imagine being able to stop the daily grind, get off the hustle train and let other people promote you and your message.

What if, instead of costing you more time that you don’t think you have, it gave you more time and saved you money?

I know it’s scary getting off the hustle train when that’s what so many people seem to be doing and what it feels like you MUST do to become successful but the reality is, trying to be everywhere is just exhausting. One of the key things I’ve learned from successful people over the last year is that they don’t start off being successful on all platforms, they choose one and they go all in.

Getting to 10k followers on one platform is way easier than trying to get there on all of them.

Working hard is good but not if you don’t work smart too.

One thing I’ve historically not been great at is asking for help when I need it. I’m getting way better at it. In fact, I’m becoming somewhat shameless in my asks and discovering that many people really want to help and are glad to be asked.

Doing this podcast thing will get others promoting you, creating assets for you to share on social media and building a powerful community & network for yourself and your business that very few other promotional strategies (if any) can do for you.

The reason there are not already more people doing this is that it’s not a quick way to results. Many people are going for viral posts and videos, which is fine but usually fleeting. Some viral social media content may or may not lead to some additional business coming your way but once it’s passed, you’ve got to try and strike gold again and again. Not easy and certainly not reliable for most entrepreneurs.

Podcast guesting is a strategy for business owners who are playing the long game and not going after every shiny object and trend that comes along. Frankly, it was kinda cringe-inducing to see so many professional people awkwardly doing those dumbass dance vids on TikTok. I mean, if that’s not really your thing or vibe, leave it alone. It’s so important to do things that fit authentically with the professional image you choose to project, which is another reason why this strategy may not be for everyone.

If you’re going to do this, and I do recommend you to start doing this if you’re not already, there are 3 basics you need to get to have any success with it:

1. Preparation

When I interviewed Lee Carter from Maslansky & partners, one of the things she said was key to her success in national news media appearances was that she was prepared. She admitted that she used to be overly prepared with pages and pages of notes but now she has 3 key points laid out and sticks to them. It has allowed her to stay on point and get her messages across clearly without getting lost in the discussion.

Over time you will get a sense of the kinds of questions often asked in podcast interviews but it’s worth taking a little time to prepare for the ones you’re most likely to be asked. The interviewer may help you with this but you do need to make sure you’re not reading your answers in the interview. Bullet-point the key things you want to be sure you say. Make sure you’re clear on the host’s objectives and what value they want you to bring their audience.

Try to have some short but relevant stories to share, your own or your client’s (with permission) can be terrific. Practice them in a way that gives just enough set-up as close to the action as possible, so they don’t become boring and long-winded. Personal stories are amazing so long as they are not about something you are still dealing with. As my storytelling friend Simon Raybould says, “ scars not scabs “.

It’s essential that you are able to demonstrate knowledge and competence with ease. As communication and charisma expert Vanessa Van Edwards teaches, we want to aim to deliver an energy of warmth and competence. Preparation will make it easier and the more practised you are, the easier it will be. Once you have this stuff locked in, you’ll be able to riff on things more and sound more spontaneous.

2. Build relationships

My preference, as a podcast host and as a guest is to connect before the recording, ideally a week or two before. For the guest, this gives an opportunity to check what the host is really looking for, to build some rapport and be clear about what the win is and any CTA you have.

It’s rare to encounter people in the podcasting space who are purely transactional about it and on the few times I have, I’ve backed away. Whilst there is always going to be some quid pro quo in podcast guesting and hosting, you’re unlikely to have any beneficial long-lasting relationships with highly transactional people.

Connection matters. That warmth and competence feeling needs to be there from the get-go. If you’re not so good at it, get better at it. I’d say it’s essential unless you really don’t care about building relationships. I’ve made some amazing friends in podcasting, some have been guests, others hosts and others still through the general podcast community.

It’s been said that people don’t care until they know how much you care. So, show you care. Be interested in the host, in their audience and where there are opportunities for you to add value. Beware of making assumptions and of ‘othering’ your podcast connections.

I often get people assuming I’m married to a woman, have kids, have conservative values and (mostly from Americans) have some sort of religious or spiritual faith. There is nothing wrong with any of those things but they are not true for me.

Assumptions are a barrier to good rapport.

I don’t get offended by them but I do find it unreasonably presumptuous to think the world is so homogenous that everyone is just like us.

We can do far better by allowing an environment of psychological safety to flourish where everyone can feel comfortable being their authentic selves and feel accepted for who they are.

Saying something along the lines of “it’s okay, I talk to anyone, even libtards!” is not good relationship building, it’s clear ‘othering’ and it’s a real example someone said to me last month after inviting me to be a guest on his show. It was hard to refuse such a charming invite but I managed.

3. Professionalism

This one should go without saying but so often it does need to be said. I can tell you from personal experience that it’s so much harder to recover from not making a good first impression than it is to make the effort in the first place.

There are some simple things that will help like being on time for recordings and pre-interviews, dressing appropriately if it’s a video interview, and having some basic mic and video set up beyond your laptop or mobile inbuilt mic and cam.

Remember that this is the host’s show and their audience they are presenting you to. Have good energy, be communicative and present with the host. Try to pick up on cues and don’t take too long to answer questions. Involve the host, use their name often but not too much, smile and speak from a place of warmth, confidence and competence. The more you do these, the more natural it will become.

Make sure the host has everything they need.

If you have a book, send them a digital copy. If you have a CTA, make sure they have the link and that it works. Stay on a few minutes after the interview to debrief. This gives the host a chance to ensure everything was captured correctly, to let you know when the episode is coming out and they may even ask you if there’s anyone you would recommend to be on their show. Offering something like that in advance of being asked is even more powerful.

You will often find opportunities for expanding your network, future collaborations and sometimes clients just by showing up in an open, caring and professional way. I heard a podcast recently where the guest was citing particular episodes of the podcast for the audience to check out that were relevant to the discussion. That is a dream come true to most podcast hosts and shows you’re really done the work and want to be there. (I’ve invited her to come on my show).

Despite the benefits of being a successful podcast guest, many coaches and speakers are neglecting to invest the time and energy required. Please understand this, podcast content is evergreen unless a podcast gets taken down. Many top coaches and speakers are already using this strategy because they know it works. I’m already regularly having conversations with people who have built 6 and 7-figure businesses on the back of strategic podcast guesting. If they can do it, so can you.

To wrap things up, if you’re not using podcasts to grow your business, it’s time to start. I believe the best way to start is as a guest, so here’s the action I want you to take: find one podcast to be a guest on.

If you’ve done this before you may already know what to do but my suggestion is to start with your network. Whom do you know who has a podcast? Could you add value to their show or might they know someone with a show that could be a better fit for you? If you run into a wall there, try a service like Podmatch.com which you can use for free, although you will need to create a guest profile first.

Remember, the 3 key areas are professionalism, building relationships and preparation. Even doing the bare minimum in those areas will have you standing out above the majority of podcast guests but you’re not a scrape-by kind of person, are you? Why scrape by when you can be exceptional instead? Investing your time into these 3 key elements will pay dividends in the long run and if you really want to stand out, let’s have a quick chat about how I can help you.

In the meantime, take a listen to the latest episode of Podfluence with veteran podcaster Tim (Timbo) Reid. Tim made his podcast into a profitable business 13 years ago and it’s still going strong. He shares with us how you can do the same and the 3 core questions any podcaster or business owner needs to be able to answer in order to be successful. Curious?

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

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John Alexander Ball

Host of the Podfluence podcast. Professional speaker & ethical influence coach. The James Corden of podcasting, a chubby British guy who thinks he’s funny.