The term authenticity is being thrown around a lot, especially in marketing but what does it really mean? So many brands are slaughtering their own brands by not being good to their customers and by not being authentic. It’s hard to hide your authentic self when you’re podcasting or video casting. Your audience who listen to you either on video streams or video or audio programs in a podcast can tell when you’re being authentic and when you’re not. The brands that are more authentic brands are actually doing better. Know more about what it means to be authentic and why that is so important in relating and connecting more with your audience, and learn some pro tips on how to be authentic in your platforms.
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Podcast Host Authenticity: The Single Most Important Thing for a Successful Bingeable Podcast
Today, we thought we’d talk about authenticity. It’s a big, hot marketing term like “Be authentic. Be authentically you” or I would say, “Be real.” You see a lot of that popping up on how to be more authentic and the brands that are more authentic brands are doing better. We really want to talk about that because it’s really hard to hide when you’re podcasting or video casting, the authentic you. It’s hard to be scripted. You have to be a really good actor or actress to be able to do that on an ongoing basis. Stay in character the whole time and do that. It always flips through.
When we started podcasting many years ago, we actually had more of I would call it a routine or shtick as to how we started our show. I think it was a bit contrived. It was over thought. We had a general business coach at that time who we’re working with and he listened to our podcast. It’s David Corbin, and he just wrote a fabulous book called Brand Slaughter. Really to the point here is that so many brands are slaughtering their own brands. They’re killing themselves by not being good to their customers, by not being authentic. Just so many things that they do in both customer service and follow up that aren’t authentic to their original brand message. They’re messaging out and selling you on something and then they’re not delivering on it. That’s the same thing we’re talking about here. Got to give David kudos for that.
David said to us, “You just need to be more real, man.” There’s real wisdom and experience in that. Very quickly after that, we changed it up and it’s just me and Tracy being us, doing our thing. I think that you can tell as a listener, and your listeners who will listen to your either video streams or video program or your audio program in a podcast, and they can tell when you’re being authentic, the real you, and when you’re not. It’s not to say that you air out your dirty laundry out on the podcast, you certainly don’t. You definitely can be real and authentic. We find that audiences and listeners respond to us so much more because of that.
We have a history of not just our podcast, which has almost 500 episodes right now, our other podcasts. Also, we have hundreds of podcasts episodes that have been done and the ones that aren’t scripted, the ones where the host are much more authentic. Sometimes they don’t even go and do an outline. I recommend at least setting a topic or setting a question or setting an intention for an episode. Even when we do guest interviews, we don’t even script questions. Sometimes people get very uncomfortable and come back to it and the reality is that they’re not going to be good guests because they’re not going to be authentic either. We found that across all of that, not just our stuff but all of our client stuff, that the ones that don’t do that, the ones that are authentic that just do a little more off the cuff, that have a little more of that realness to them, do tons better percentage wise than the others in terms of audience, in terms of stickability, in terms of binge-ability, which is a very important thing to get at if you’re going to grow your audience whether it’s on live stream or YouTube or on iTunes on podcast. Getting it that way is so critically important.
Let’s talk about a few ways people can be authentic. I think that certainly, especially as you’re starting out, letting your audience know a little bit about you, not too much. You really do want people to know you because this is what is going to make them respond more to things that you offer them, the calls to action that you will make either for you and your business or for sponsors and their business. Your audience will trust you if you are real with them and you let them in to a little bit of your life. We talk sometimes about our kids. We have an older and we have a couple of younger kids. As it’s appropriate and as it relates to what we’re talking about, we do talk about them and we let them know their names. People get to know us and know that we’re real people. They know that we live in Orange County, California. We give context to things. I think that’s really important. We give context this just happened to us and here’s why we think it’s important and it made us think about this. It shows that relationship between our real life and our life on the air.
One of the things that you struggle with at the beginning of being a podcaster or a video cast host is you want it to be well-produced. You tread a little bit on the side of the intro episode, the very first episode you’ll ever do, often they’re the worst one ever. You just got to rip the Band Aid off and do it. You have to jump in the deep end of the pool if you’re new to this. Because getting experience is really the most important thing. You will get more comfortable with it. You just have to accept that that episode is going to be your stiffest ever, but please don’t script it. That’s my number one thing, please do not script it. Because the ones that script it, it’s just they cringe so much more than everyone else later and they are the ones who can’t wait to redo it. You can tell the scripted ones.
I don’t even need to describe to you what it’s like but you can tell that they’re reading from a page. Have you ever heard of the authors that read their own audio books? Even the most recent one, I’m going to date this episode a little bit and this is in no way a political statement but we’re recording this just after some of the early recordings of Hillary Clinton reading her new book that she wrote about the campaign come out. When you hear on the news these clips of her, it’s even a little more mechanically delivered than her speeches from the stage around the campaign trail. It’s highly likely because they slowed down the audio, which they do that when your record. They slow down the audio to a very specific pace on audio books. That’s part of their process. It makes it even more the mechanical sounding. You got to let you be you and you can’t do that if you’re reading off a piece of paper.
Here’s a little pro tip for you. If you are listening to this and you’re preparing to start your podcast and you really haven’t done a lot of recording before, especially if you’re going to do any interview episodes, I highly recommend when you are a new podcaster, you conduct two or three of those interviews before you go and record your introductory episode. Because when you’re interviewing somebody and you’re having a dialogue, you’re having an interaction with someone, it is a little more real and natural inherently.
When we run our podcast workshops or our brandcasting workshops, when we run those with clients or when we even run through a client where we’re going to do the Done For You services. We actually set it up and it’s included in our package to do the first three episodes. That’s actually what we do is we reverse it. We make them do an interview first, a topic second and then third, do their intro. We work backwards on purpose because they get more and more comfortable into that intro episode.
When they’re a new podcaster, they don’t always completely understand all the types of things they’re going to talk about, everything that their show is really about. That doesn’t mean that your show can’t pivot overtime as to what it is about. It absolutely can, but to have experienced some of those interviews and some of those topics first, you feel it, you live it, you are it a bit more. When you record that interview episode, you’ll have an easier time not just delivering it, which is the first thing we’re talking about here, it’s delivery and being real. You are articulating it, too. You’re thinking it through and it’s jelling in your mind. It’s starting to feel like how would I say that when I’m introducing my guest and asking them and telling them what I’m about and what my show is about and what I want my listeners to gain from it.
All of a sudden, you’re refining that message for yourself. You’re getting that true brand as well come across, that brand messaging is coming across just as well for you in that process. That’s really one of the pro ways we do this. We know it works and it comes across really well. If you have already recorded your intro episode and it’s bad and you’re not happy with it, there is no reason not to replace it. I just want to throw that out there. It might mess up some of your statistics. We have ways and tricks that we’ll talk about in the future about ways to not do that. You just really re-record that because it is a critical episode. We find that when people come and find your podcast or find your video, if you’ve got a whole series of live streams on your website or however you’re hosting them and they go in. They’ll check out your most recent and then if they like it, they might go back to the very beginning again.
That’s where binge listening or binge watching happens, they go back to the beginning. They want to see if that was an anomaly or what you’re really about or if just that last episode or the most recent episode was good. Is this whole thing for me and should I spend the time on listening to everything that you have? It might shock you but it’s true. One of our podcasts have almost 500 episodes and still to this day we’ll have people say, “I just found your podcast and I’m up to episode 182.” Lately, we have them go, “I can’t find your first 100 episodes. Where are they?” It depends on where you’re listening to it. iTunes only has a maximum of 300 that they will show. When you get to a certain point, you have to archive and have multiple feeds, or better yet, have it available on your own website. Which is what we do, that’s where we send them so that they can find any of the episodes there. That’s such a compliment and that’s so great. It says that you’re relating to your audience.
The next big tip that I want to give you is that the whole idea is to pace yourself. This is not like I’ve got one shot at talking to you and I’m going to spit out everything about me so that you know so much about me so you’re just going to want to listen again. That’s not a good path. We’re building a long term relationship over many, many, many episodes. We want to not only do that with our personality and ourselves, we want to get us through be real over time, but we also don’t need to give them everything in our first message.
I’d like to add to that in terms of being authentically you also doesn’t mean you reset your resume. That is another rookie error that I’d like to caution you against. There are times and places to drop relevant aspects of who you are and where you came from and why people should be listening to you, absolutely. But I would caution you against your intro episode making it all about you. I would recommend making it enough about you to give you credibility as to why they should be listening to you but really making it about them, about the listener, about who you want to listen to your show, and how you plan to serve them. How to plan to provide that and get that to them and continually to serve them.
Things come up over time. This will happen on this podcast series. You’re just getting to know us but we have been podcasting so long that I forget we haven’t mentioned that we have three daughters or something. It might come up and we’ll be like, “By the way, we have three daughters.” It doesn’t occur to us because we’ve been podcasting so long that we feel like we’ve talked about it before. It happens all the time because I give a lot of speeches all over the country. As I’m giving speeches, I’m like, “I didn’t talk about it with this audience last time I met with them.” That was six months ago and probably, there’s a whole different set of people here so I got to mention that again. I forget it. “By the way, I’m an Inc columnist.” It sometimes becomes an aside for me. You do have to remember that there are new listeners all the time, so you do want to make sure that there’s something for them. There are listeners that have been loyal followers from the beginning of your series of videos or podcast. They are always there and you got to give something to them as well by not boring them with constant overview and redoing that. That we hear happen all over the place.
The reality is that they can find you. They can find your bio. They can find you on the website. It is not time to keep doing that in every single episode or in the intro of your podcast, which we do recommend for most podcasts you have an introduction that’s prerecorded and with an announcer or some voice over artist of a style that you like, that introduces you. It sets you up as the authority. The point here is we’ve had some clients who make their intro of their podcast, that prerecorded one that remember, when people binge listen, they’re going to listen to that intro over and over and over again. Keep it short and sweet. It has to be good. It has to be to the point. Entertaining if you can, especially because it’s going to be repeated over and over, but especially don’t put your resume there. We have had some people we’ve experienced do that and it’s not helping them. It’s really not helping their user experience of their listeners.
They’re providing great content in their episodes and sometimes that’s enough to keep people coming back to listen despite having that repetition. I would caution you against having that. If you really want to have your resume and credibility stuff in there, I would recommend putting it in the outro, the end of your podcast. Because then those who are listening for the first time and are interested will listen through that but it’s pretty easy for everybody who’s heard you 50 or 100 times to then, “I’ll stop listening at that point. I’ve heard that.”
If you’re doing that in a video cast format, you can put it in the click through on the end or put it into the comments field. This is a really good way to do that. “If you’d like to know more about Tom Hazzard, click here.” You’ve written it into the comments and not as a part of the video. That really helps to keep thing moving along. They can connect to you on Facebook. There’s already a lot of ways for people to get in touch with you. It’s not like it’s a mystery. There’s about ten different ways that your listeners should be able to find you. They should have no problem finding you if they want to find you. You don’t have to make it all part of the audio program.
Here’s one thing that will happen you. For instance, this happens to me all the time, is that I’m pretty clear in most of our episodes about things that LinkedIn is my preferred method of communication because I mix my Facebook with personal and some professional and other things like that. I prefer to keep it personal. It’s not my fastest response time. People who send me business there, I don’t get back to them fast. I do get back faster on LinkedIn. People get to know that over time because I’ll mention LinkedIn constantly and say, “Get in touch with me via LinkedIn. I invite you to connect with me via LinkedIn.” Because you say that, your preferences are coming across authentically in the process, to go back to our topic, it’s happening. They’ll find the best way, if they really want to get in touch with you, it shows that they listen. It shows that they paid attention. It shows that they want to. When they reach out there, I always personally answer.
That’s how it really goes with people, is that they get to know you. They tap into that if they really are listening and they reach out to you that way. It goes both ways. Now, they’re being real back to you. It becomes a relationship. The more real you are, the more authentically you that you are on your show, I think that there’s a certain consistency there with the communication that happens when people write in to you. Maybe you have an assistant answering a lot of those emails, and that’s okay too. But I think that there’s an integrity there, an authentic integrity.
I just want to mention one more thing. One of the things that happen is we tend to head towards something. We have a podcast on 3D printing called WTFFF. We expected there might be a bunch of techies on there. When we started it, we really had an interest in addressing design. Because we are designers and we weren’t really sure, were they going to respond well to it? Was it going to be a problem? We found over time that because we also have such business and marketing skills that are a significant part of how we design, that those came across too as well. We would tap into and occasionally do an episode or a segment or we deviate and go off on a little tangent about a marketing lesson or a business lesson we learned from something that happened in the 3D printing world. Those happen to be some of our better episodes. They are some of our more popular episodes, most listened to because it’s where we’re most original.
We started out our careers as designers. The reality is we are entrepreneurs. We have our own businesses and we have designed those businesses, just like we actually have designed this podcast for you. Those of you that are interested in bringing your unique message to the world in the most effective way possible. We have business lessons we’re going to share with you too here that are not just strictly about always the details of getting your message out and getting the biggest return on your time you invest in your original message, in creating that. There are business lessons that are going to apply. I certainly hope you now appreciate that as we go through it.
My main point to bringing it up is that that originality that you express because your view point is different is exactly why people are tuning into your show, whether it’s your live streams every day. We have this wonderful friend that I absolutely adore, Aaron Scott Young whose podcast is called The Unshackled Owner. On the first and third Wednesday evening of every month, he has this thing called The Freedom Call, which is a live webinar style. Really, it’s him giving a business lesson. His whole thing is becoming an unshackled owner, meaning having a business that works harder for you than you work for it. That’s the goal. He teaches a whole course on it that you can buy and take course and he’ll teach you how to do it for your business. The Freedom Call is a less expensive, entry level way to get a lot of those lessons in a group format and not quite as much of a one-on-one format.
Aaron had come to me at one point and said to me, “I have these listeners but I don’t know why they’re listening.” I said, “Aaron, it’s right in front of you. They’re listening because it’s you, because you’re awesome, because you have such great experiences, because your stories are fascinating. I could listen to them all the time.” That’s why people are listening and it has everything to do with him being authentic and of course he has great lessons and it’s a great program that he has going on there. It’s that authenticity that is really resonating. I think that you are going to find that the more original you are, the more authentically you you are, the better the response will be.
I do think you also though have to have the content to back it up. I don’t think you could be all personality without having really good experience that you’re sharing, wisdom you’re sharing. You are talented at something, especially if you’re in business for yourself, you must be. That fact that you are willing to share that knowledge, you have some good quality content there. You combine that with then the authenticity and the integrity of being you and then you got a dynamite combination.
I hope that you found this really interesting and exciting. As always, you can find information on our podcast, this is Feed Your Brand at FeedYourBrand.co or at BrandcastingYou.com. You can find us on Facebook at Feed Your Brand. I just want to mention one more thing before we go. This is a new show for us and it is also a very, very busy high growth time for our businesses so there might be some episodes where you get one or the other of us. We prefer to have it be both of us talking because it’s more dynamic. It’s just one of our preferred ways to do that and if that’s authentically you, then you should do it. I wanted to let you guys know that sometimes you’re just going to get Tom and sometimes you’re just going to get Tracy. That’s a choice that we’re making but it’s also scheduling issues and we just don’t want to miss out in bringing you good content or good interviews or good messages all the time to help you continue to grow and feed your brand.
It’s something we do together and we’re in business together, and we’re married. Our whole life is together really, but yes, Tracy especially is speaking in a lot of stages over the next few months and is travelling a lot. We may still be able to do episodes together when she’s on the road, just remotely, getting us both into the same recording. Consistency of creating new content is one of the most critical things. We highly, highly recommend you publish your show on a regular basis with consistency. Your audience will expect another episode at that same time of the week or on those same days of the week if you’re doing more than one day a week. You need to do that. To the extent that we need to, to be able to provide you that content on time, it will be only one or the other of us, but hopefully not too often.
We don’t want to sacrifice that because we want you to have the information, we want you to have all the great tips and tools. We want to keep you moving forward with interesting interviews as well. That’s going to be coming up in the near future. We’re going to talk a little bit about that in the couple of weeks. You’ll hear that about how we manage guests as well and how we manage that interview process in our busy schedule. It doesn’t have to take over the main focus of your business.
We hope this really helps you out and we’d love to hear your feedback and hear what you would like us to cover in the future. Things that you’re struggling with and other ways that we can help you. Please reach out to us at BrandcastingYou.com or FeedYourBrand.co and on social media, especially Facebook at Feed Your Brand. Thanks for listening.