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Jasmine Star Shares Her Journey and Experience As a Top-Rated Podcaster

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How are you doing in podcasting as a guest, host, or both?

Jasmine Star is one of the most successful podcasters in the world. But, she started with no listeners, just like the rest of us. In this post, Jasmine shares her podcasting experience and how she’s achieved so much success, both as a podcast guest and a podcast host.

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Jasmine, it’s a pleasure to interview you again. Welcome to Podcasting Made Simple.

Thank you so much. I am very happy to be back for part two. I am honored to be here. I think we created magic last time. And I hope we have some of that same alchemy this time.

Last time we talked about social media and how to incorporate it into business. Today we are going to talk about podcasting. You have done exceptionally well in the podcasting space. I want to talk to you about your experience on both sides of the mic as a podcast guest and as a podcast host. To kick us off, what was the reason behind starting the Jasmine Star Show?

Everything in my life leading up to October 2019, when we launched the podcast, had become very strategic. I missed and craved a creative outlet where there were no rules or expectations. That was a turning point for me. I realized that I was consuming most of my content through podcasts. Despite that this was an area in my business where I was severely underrepresented. But I could not figure out why I should start a podcast. Why would I take on more when my time was already as limited as it was now? It was not until I gave myself permission to say, “What if there was no strategy? What if I did it because I love it and want to serve people the way I was being served?” That mentality was so liberating because I no longer had to hit a specific metric.

Were you also appearing as a guest on shows before you started one?

If I was, it was infrequent. At least not often enough for me to say, “Yeah, I was a regular guest on podcasts.”

When you launched, I actually listened to your first episode. You talked about why podcasting was the last thing you wanted to add to your business. It was a really nice episode, and I recommend people listen to it again. (Link) How long did it take for you to decide, “I want to start a podcast.”

Here’s the link to Jasmine’s first episode. I would say at least three years. My boyfriend at the time—who is now my husband—knew I was into storytelling. Public radio personality Ira Glass was on a national tour recording a live podcast at UCLA. So we bought tickets to Royce Hall and watched him produce a podcast in real time with real music. It was the most powerful, creative, artistic, and beautiful thing I had ever experienced. It was a bit like watching a tightrope walker. Will he make it to the end of the episode? After years of listening to and consuming podcasts, I finally made the decision to start my own podcast. When I decide to do something, it’s all systems go. Do it in the scrappiest way humanly possible and give myself the freedom to not worry about metrics. I just want to get it out there. I think I did six episodes in advance of the launch, gathered a small group around me to get the word out, and off we went.

I really respect that you feel like you have to do something and just go for it. So did you set a firm date where you said, “I am going to do this for X episodes or X months/years,” or did that never come to the table?

That was never an issue for me. I know my personality. That would have been a reason for me not to get back into it. I always joke that my dad raised a quitter. That drives my husband crazy because he was raised to be the complete opposite.
But my dad came to this country from Mexico and he said he was forced to do so many things he did not want to do so his family could survive and thrive. His whole goal was to just say, “I am not going to force my children to do anything they do not want to do.” So my whole life it was, “If you do not like soccer? Quit. You do not want to read? Do not do it. Now when I strategize as an adult and say this is a creative outlet, I have no expectations. My goal was to publish an episode and keep on going. We are now up to two or three episodes a week.

What was the hardest part for you in the beginning, in the middle of the road, and even today where you are with the show? What have you found difficult about podcasting?

That I have to show up on days when I do not want to show up. Creating content is like going to the gym. We like the results when we go to the gym, but actually being disciplined sometimes feels like work. Because of my schedule, I batch content.
For example, today is a guest podcast batching content kind of day. I am locked in my office for eight hours doing podcast after podcast. And as a guest, it’s a whole different exertion of energy. There’s less prep time. But as a host, I have to do so much research beforehand. I have to read books and press kits. It’s so much work and some days I do not feel like dealing with it. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that if my business was built on motivation or inspiration, I would not be in business. It’s been built on discipline. I can do things I do not feel like doing to get the results I want. I think that as a podcaster, you have to have that genuine moment. It’s not going to be a constant state of creative content creation and inspiration and butterflies and fairies. It’s going to call for discipline.

I love that. I mean, discipline is kind of my middle name. I want to shift gears. You mentioned that you do not necessarily care about subscriber downloads. Yet since the launch of your show, there are now millions of viewers, listeners, and downloads. What have you done to get the show to that level?

I have been consistent. There’s no magic. We never run ads for the podcast. However, we are at a point where we are thinking about testing it because I have heard other podcasters are doing very well with it. That being said, if I had three hours to spare, I’d build a social media platform for podcasting. The discoverability of podcasts is so important. How do you actually search for podcasts? One does not. Podcast hosts have to create blog posts to get them indexed for SEO. So hopefully when people search for content, they happen to find the podcast. If you use Spotify, Apple, or Stitcher, how do you find the topics you really want to engage with? I have found that people often have to search through an industry expert or thought leader. So if I wanted to learn about branding, I have to type in Seth Godin on Apple and it would bring up a list of podcasts he was a guest on. And then what? Should I just search aimlessly? Also, there’s no mechanism for us to organically promote other podcasts.

I want to talk about what works for you from a marketing standpoint so that people not only choose to subscribe but want to continue listening to your podcast.

Doing a face-to-camera story. A lot of times I’ll interview someone on Zoom. That way I can record a video clip of that person sharing a 15-second powerful piece of impact. Since more than 75% of people consume social media without audio, it’s very important to caption your posts and audio files. Then you should include CTAs with very clear calls to action, such as “Hey, if you liked this episode, be sure to tag Alex and me on social media. We want to reach out and connect with you.” The average Instagram account has about 300 followers. When they post a story, only about 2% of the followers see it. That’s a really small amount, but the more people share it, the more that 2% is amplified across all of your listeners. It really comes down to listeners sharing your podcast.

I was just at a conference and they were talking about how the most important way podcasts get discovered and grow is through organic sharing.

Exactly. When I repurpose Instagram Stories from people listening to the podcast as they go about their day (like watching their kids in swim lessons or being stuck in traffic), I have found that those Stories resonate really well with people and encourage them to share what they are doing as they listen to our podcast. I think that’s pretty effective.

That’s really sound advice. I have noticed that a lot of us podcast hosts, myself included, just share the ad. Now I am wondering if you have a call to action on your show to convert people into leads for Social Curator.

There is always a CTA in every episode. At the time of this post, the podcast had not been monetized yet. First, I wanted it to be a creative project. I also wanted to see to what extent it would serve as a lead generator for the Jasmine Star brand and for Social Curator. Each episode has a CTA and most of the time we have more than 25 opt-ins or freebies or leads. The content we create for the podcast is geared towards small business owners, helping them get more followers, convert them into leads, and get sales. I also started a micro-podcast series about Web3 and crypto. While that was very interesting to me, I do not claim that people responded well to the Crypto series. My own podcast producer said, “Jasmine, we should not do these episodes anymore. That’s not your lane. That’s not what people are listening to. Look at the statistics.” I said, “Number one, I agree. But I actively choose to ignore it because it’s my podcast and it’s free. If people do not want to listen to it, they do not have to.”
To me, this is a method and a mechanism to show the messy middle. To show how to innovate in the business world, and to prove to people that I have been doing the work for years. The happy compromise we came to was that we guaranteed two podcast episodes a week. If I happen to do a third, I get to pick the topic. Then we created an opt-in specifically for that purpose.

podcast CTA exampleYou are really good at meeting your dream customer or client where they are. That’s something I have always appreciated about you. How does your podcast lead? Not in terms of quantity, but from a quality standpoint.

I am so glad you added that qualifier. The stark reality is that it’s so hard to get a lead with a podcast. It’s so hard. Podcasts grow so slowly. Podcasts are long-form content, and if you include a CTA, it’s usually towards the end. People start a podcast and maybe stop halfway through. Not everyone finishes it. So they do not really hear the CTA. We created specific links that differed by podcast episode so we could track podcast leads through their journey. We get the fewest leads through the podcast, but they are the most qualified. They convert really well. Often a podcast listener has already made the decision to buy something. They are different. They are fully engaged. They understand the vision and do not need to be persuaded. But it’s a lot of work to get them to convert.

Now I want to talk about your experience as a podcast guest. When you started this show, I assume you developed some sort of strategy for appearing on podcasts as well.

Oh no. Quite the opposite, I did not set out to be a guest on so many podcasts. The crazy thing is, in the beginning, nobody really asked me if I wanted to be on their podcast. So I said yes to every podcast. I did not ask about how many downloads or listeners they had. It was the best investment of my time but in the beginning, it kind of sucked. I found it difficult to get to the point. In audio, you can not hide emotions or BS like you can on social media. Also, people want you to get to the point and provide actionable steps as quickly as possible. “Ugh” means nothing in audio. You better find your words and fast. So I was able to cut my teeth on podcasting early on. So essentially, I started with small, similar listener groups, and then slowly the listener groups got much bigger. Now I am in a position to say I can not accept every invitation. But in the beginning, I said yes to everything and it paid off.

Now, of course, you have to be a little more selective about which podcasts you go on. And that has nothing to do with what you think of the host. It’s just that you have to protect your time.

Right.

When you are a guest on a podcast, the hosts often ask, “Will you share the episode?” What are your thoughts on that?

I never have the expectation as a host to have a guest share the episode. So I want the same to be reciprocated. I do not expect anything, and I do not want the host to expect anything. But my opinion counts for very little. I am a guest on at least six podcasts a week. I can not share every single podcast, because then I’d suddenly be linking to a thousand different things in a thousand different ways. My job as the owner of my social accounts is to be the wall. I have to be very careful when I say, “This podcast is a really good investment of your time if you are interested in this topic.” I also want to build my listenership. If anyone has to choose one, I want it to be mine. That being said, it’s nice to share, but I do not have any expectations when I bring somebody on my podcast.

protect your social media audience

I have listened to some of your podcasts and not once have I thought she was trying to sound like she knew everything. You are completely open and comfortable saying “I do not really understand this, or I just learned this.” How important has that been in your podcasting journey?

I am a self-taught entrepreneur. I have no business starting a business, and yet I did it and it ended up taking off. I know I am here to serve people, but as far as the deeper mechanics of business, I need it to be broken down in layman’s terms. Maybe we should all give ourselves the opportunity to say, I have no idea what you are talking about.” I am confident enough to say that and I believe it frees people to do the same. It is the people who admit their absolute truth who invite other people to pour into them.

This is something I struggled with early in my podcast career. People started thinking I knew more than I did. I didn’t mean for that to happen. So I started pretending I knew more than I did, which is a terrible vicious cycle. Eventually, I sat back and thought, “I just need to be fully transparent.” It’s better that way, but it’s also scary. What advice do you have for podcast hosts or guests who struggle with this? How can you show up knowing what you know while being completely transparent and honest?

Jasmine: Your brain is a muscle. It similar to your calf or your biceps. When you exercise a muscle, it gets stronger. You can no longer turn a blind eye to the fact that it’s hard for you to admit that you do not know the answer. As a podcast host or as a podcast guest, the most powerful thing you can do for your time and for your brand is to admit that you do not know what you do not know, or make a joke about it. Say, “You know what? I’d like to pretend I know what you are talking about. But I do not. Would it be possible for you to phrase it differently?” That’s power. When you think of it as a tool of power, you become a champion for understanding truth, truthfulness, humility, and the vulnerability of being human. People respect that and trust you more.

I love that!  Jasmine, this has been a wonderful conversation today. I am so grateful for your time. Before I let you go. Do you have any final thoughts about being a podcast guest or host that you can share with us today?

Yeah, do not wait so long to get a press kit. I did not know it would be helpful. I did not even know what a press kit was. One day someone said, “Okay, Jasmine, we want you on the podcast. Can you send us a press kit?’ I figured if I just waited, maybe they’d forget about it. I mean, do you really need a press kit for the podcast? I am already not out there really pitching myself. Time went by and I invited someone to appear on my podcast. Their press team sent me their press kit and I thought, “Oh, that’s really nice. It’s very helpful. That’s when I said, “Hey, team, let us get something going.” So do not wait that long to get a press kit. That will really set you up for success. Second, if you are sending a gift to a podcast guest, send a gift that you think they can use, not a giveaway from the podcast. Send something that is not self-promotional.
I remember one of the nicest things someone said to me was, “I know your time is valuable and we can not compensate you for it. But what we would like to do is make a $50 donation to a charity of your choice. And I was very moved by that.
It does not have to be $50. It can be $20. It’s amazing what something small can do. And it says a lot about who you are and what you stand for.


About Jasmine Star

Jasmine Star empowers entrepreneurs to market their business on social media, build a brand, and create a life they love. After dropping out of law school, she became an internationally recognized creative entrepreneur before the age of 30 and later founded Social Curator, a social media marketing company in which she has helped over 35,000 business owners. Her top-rated podcast, The Jasmine Star Show, has amassed millions of downloads since its inception in October 2019, where Jasmine educates entrepreneurs on how to turn their passion into profits. Some days you’ll find her featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and INC magazine, while other days, you’ll find her going Live for “Coffee and Conversations” on Instagram, hosting “Ask Me Anything” sessions on Facebook, and interviewing leading business and industry experts on The Jasmine Star Show.