Is it better to be a podcast host or a bestselling author? Which one has more authority? We think being a podcast host before trying to put out a book can have more influence nowadays. Having a podcast can actually help you when you do release a book. If you check it out, the number of podcast hosts being interviewed on regular late night shows and political shows are tremendously increasing in frequency and popularity. The same thing is happening in events. Podcast hosts are being sought after as speakers for events all around because there’s a significant difference and weight to them. When you have a lot of listeners and you can carry an audience for a long period of time, it says three things about you – you’re entertaining or edutaining, you’re delivering good value, and you have audience authority, all of the things event promoters want. So if you have a choice between starting a podcast or writing a book, start the podcast. It will help you write the book and also give you the authority to be able to pitch that book later.
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The One with the Most Authority Wins: Best Selling Author vs. Podcast Host?
We are going to talk something a little bit controversial today. It’s going to be fun. I enjoy this debate and I do think it’s a debatable subject, although I think we’re right about it. We’re going to talk whether you should be a bestselling author or be a podcast host, or both. Both is okay too, although I would say you should be a podcast host first. Which one has more authority? Does podcast host authority weight heavier than a bestselling author authority? I’d say right now, where we’re standing and what we’re hearing from booking agents, event promoters and all that, and if you check out just the list of all the late night guests on political shows, just your regular late night shows, the number of podcast hosts who are being interviewed by Stephen Colbert, by Jimmy Fallon and other late night shows, they are increasing in frequency and popularity tremendously. That’s on both sides of the aisle. It’s not a political statement. It’s increasing all around.
The same thing is happening in events. We hear people who are podcast hosts being sought after speakers for events, all around. That’s one of the things that we get coming back a lot that it’s actually a lot easier to be a podcast host and get an event invitation than it is to just be a bestselling author. I want to talk a little bit about why that is. We can all agree or at least admit that being a bestselling author today is a lot easier to achieve if you’ve got the money to pay for it. There are ways to game that system and be on the New York Times bestselling authors list.
They’ve made it more difficult. Just like what Amazon has done on the Amazon seller site of reversing the reviews and other things. New York Times has done something similar. They just changed their complete algorithm. I have been invited to hear Michael Drew, author of Pendulum. He’s done a hundred New York Times bestsellers in a row. It’s an amazing amount of New York Times bestsellers. He’s not the author. He represents authors. He’s the top agent to be able to get people to the top of the New York Times Best Seller list. They have changed their algorithm and made it incredibly difficult and they still have been able to do that.
It’s a combination of who they choose because they know that they can achieve it and get ahead of it because what they have is a platform underneath them. That is the big difference. Because the New York Times algorithm is also checking to see not just who you are as the author, do you have a lot of listeners? Do you have a lot of viewers? Do you have a lot of readers already? They are then checking and cross checking that against real social profiles. They’re making sure that those people who are buying the books and reviewing the books as a part of their algorithm actually exists.
Amazon was easier because they are in control of that. You have verified buyers, verified purchasers. When they skew heavily to that, they can do that as well but there’s still ways to game the system and end up in Amazon because of the category. You can be the bestseller in a category that only needs you to sell ten books in a day to outrank the top seller because they have so many categories.
It means less to me when someone says they’re a bestselling author. If you’re a real bestselling author and I know of you because you’re really a prolific author, like a Malcolm Gladwell, of course, you’re a bestselling and I’ve read your books and they’re fantastic. If I’ve never heard you before or your subject and you’re a bestselling author, that bestselling author tagline or qualifier doesn’t mean as much to me. You hear it all the time, it’s a glorified business card nowadays. A book is a glorified business card.
Actually, we have not put out our books. We have been this a long time and I get invited to events. I’m speaking in six events in the next eight weeks. We get invitations all that time, and why is that? Because there’s a significant difference and weight to podcast hosts. When you hear that we have a show that has 480 episodes and we have a hundred thousand listeners or downloads or plays, whatever that is, even if you don’t believe that statistic of a hundred thousand that people actually listen to all of it, even if you say, “A hundred thousand, she still got to have 10,000 listeners.” Even if they’re all listening to multiple episodes, you still go to have a lot of listeners. If we can command that in what’s happening in our case, in a bingeable way because listen to many episodes at a time or in a month. When you have that and you can carry an audience for that long a period of time, it says three things about you. You must be entertaining or edutaining. You must be delivering good value, or people wouldn’t stick around. The third thing is you can command an audience. You have audience authority.
All of those things are what event promoters want. You must know how to promote yourself because you’ve gotten yourself that audience. iTunes didn’t give it to you. Stitcher didn’t give them to you. We have to seek our own audiences as podcast hosts. All of those things hold a very high value with event promoters nowadays. They can also just really easily, much different than picking up a book and looking at it, they can see how articulate are you going to be on their show. How easily can you speak on the fly? Are you going to be able to answer questions? How good are you at what you do in an event situation? It bodes much higher speaker profiles.
A lot of people who write books today don’t actually write them themselves or write them all themselves, like the old school way. Oftentimes, it’s either a ghost writer or they’re recording their book and somebody is prompting them with questions to try to pull the information out of them. I dare to say, you can fake being an author and not necessarily be a writer. As a podcast host, creating an audio show, you’re you behind that microphone. People are going to hear you and know you and you can either do it or you can’t. That corresponds to being able to speak from the stage or not.
In our minds, I think that being a bestselling author is wonderful, and good for you and congratulations, but it’s not enough nowadays. It’s not enough, everyone is a bestselling author. I’ve met thousands of them literally over the last three years alone. I’ve met thousands of bestselling authors and I can tell you that, I read a lot, that there’s not maybe 2% that I’ve read their books. That’s the other point I want to make. I would bet that the majority of people who bought the books that were given them or bought them, who are in possession of those books, I think that a smaller percentage of those people have actually read that book or read it in its entirety. Contrast that with the hundred thousand downloads of the podcast episodes of ours in a given month, I guarantee you that all those downloads, the vast majority of them were actually listened to because people want to listen to these things. They want to hear what you have to say. Quite honestly, it’s a lot easier for them to listen to it, especially if they have busy lives, while they’re commuting or even while they’re at work, having lunch or something, that you can listen to it.
You can say to your Amazon Echo, “Alexa, play me the Feed Your Brand podcast,” and it will play you the latest episode. You can really do that, by the way, if you guys are interested. Go ahead and do it. Every one of our clients who has a podcast is also available over the Amazon Alexa. That’s one of the platforms that we put you on. It’s very powerful. We also put you on Google Play so that means Hey, Google would play you as well. You can do it on Hey, Google if you’re a Hey, Google person. We happen to be an Amazon Alexa household.
The point is that we’re getting this author versus host kind of dynamic going on and reality is that what we’re seeing is a much higher elevation and a much quicker adoption of podcast hosts as having authority. Podcast host authority translating into speaking engagements, into getting more stages. In a sense, if you’re already an author and a podcast host, getting more books sold. If you are an author first and either or not a podcast host or maybe have become one, I would argue that taking your book and breaking its chapters down into short subjects and making a podcast out of every one of them is going to be much more effective for you than just putting your book out there.
Please don’t read your book though. Please do not do that. Just use the same topic and then talk off the cuff about it. Expand on things you couldn’t put in the book on. The things that your editor would have cut out, that you should have cut out. Or tell stories that are in it or about it but tell them, don’t read them. Don’t be like Hillary Clinton reading her own book for the audio book thing. It’s just not very effective.
I just want to mention that we actually have many of our podcasters and we actually ourselves are producing books from our podcast. That is a very common occurrence here. We’re actually in the midst of building three books at once. We’ve done zero books up into this point and we’re doing three books all at one time. We’re doing a book that came from my column. It came completely from my column so all the articles are being repurposed into a book. They’re being sectioned into a way that makes a lot of sense for the way that I talk about innovation. That has nothing to do with the podcast. What I did was I took interviews that I did along the way because I recorded them and transcribed them. Even though I didn’t use them in the podcast which I could have, but I didn’t. I have those and I turned them into secondary chapters within each of them. There’s these asides about the interview subject that was written about in the article. I’ve created that and I created that completely from an interview and then the transcription from that, which you have if you have guest interview on your podcast. You have something like that and you can use them in conjunction with the stories or whatever the main topic is. That’s a great way to interject your podcast into a book.
Another way is we’re taking some of our top episodes out of our 3D printing podcast. We’re taking our top episodes and we’re organizing them into a way that makes almost like a “how to 3d print” kind of book. That’s one of the ones that we’re in the works on. I think we’re probably going to have to add of additional contact because there’s a lot of visuals required. It’s a little bit of a different book, so we definitely have to supplement that one. Reality is that the product launch, Hazzards Podcast that we are doing for our private clients, that has turned into a book in it of itself. That one just actually turned into a book and of course, all at once.
There’s so much power in speaking your content and being able to get so much more return for the time you invest in creating it and putting it out there in multiple different ways. It’s just so much easier to convert it and get more out of it than it is to get as much out of a book, plus the process is so much faster. If you are an author that really needs to appeal to its fans, the podcast is a great way to keep that fan base going in between books. That’s something you really have to understand, it’s like that die-off of they’re not getting notified anymore and that’s not happening. Being able to keep that fan base going. That’s one of the reasons Malcolm Gladwell did his little interjection of his Revisionist podcast. That really gave him such a great little boost and fan base audience. Then he is on his way to launching his next book which should be coming out early next year. The podcast gave him more fans.
You engage with an audience on a different level and they get to know you better hearing you. They think they know you. It’s emotional you’re connecting with an audience in different way and in a more meaningful way. I’m a reader and I think a really powerful book connects to you like that and I expect that from a book, but it’s different. Because it’s a one-time interaction, it’s not a continual interaction. I think that’s really where the podcast host authority is translating into more speaking gigs, more interviews, more press interviews, more articles written about you. If that’s your goal, and that’s what this podcast is all about. Feed Your Brand is about being that kind of brand authority. You being the brand, brandcasting you. We want you to have that constant authority and so it needs to be something that’s driving that all along the way.
If you had a choice between starting a podcast or writing a book, start the podcast. It will help you write the book but it will also give you authority to be able to pitch that book later. Not just authority, it gives you a lot more reach to be able to push that book later, promote that book later. More people are going to know about it because you’ve already got an audience who wants to hear what you have to say. You tell them you have a book, you’re going to move a lot more books than you would if you didn’t have a podcast. It’s a sort of versus. We’re saying that because we know it’s a little controversial out there because bestselling authors love their bestselling author title, and I don’t blame them. I’d be proud of it too. I have and many, many of our clients have found that that podcast host title is very powerful right now. You should use every bit of authority you can get in this marketplace, to be heard, be seen, be invited and then be sold. Have those books sold.
You may not agree with us and that’s okay. We can have that discussion. I invite you to leave a comment down at the bottom of this post or on the Facebook page. Let’s keep talking about it. That will be a fun conversation. Thanks for listening everybody. This has been Tom and Tracy on the Feed Your Brand podcast.