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Mike Michalowicz Shares the Art of Attention-Grabbing Marketing for Podcasters
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With so many podcasts struggling for listeners’ attention, it can be challenging to stand out in the crowded market. In this post, Mike Michalowicz shares his insights into the art of attention-grabbing marketing for podcasters on either side of the microphone. He shares his tips and tricks for creating a marketing plan that engages your audience and makes your podcast stand out from the rest. Whether you’re just starting or an experienced podcaster looking to grow your audience, this session offers valuable insights into creating marketing that doesn’t get ignored!
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Read the Blog Post: Mike Michalowicz Dives Deep Into Marketing for Podcasters
Alex: Let’s dive into your book, Get Different, which focuses on marketing. The first topic I want you to cover is the importance of taking responsibility for marketing. Can you elaborate on that, both from the perspective of a podcast guest and a host?
Mike: Absolutely, Alex. It’s like the “build it, and they will come” mentality. Many people believe that having a remarkable product or service is enough, but that’s not the case. If you truly offer something valuable and beneficial to others, you have to actively market it and make people aware of it. I once attended a conference where I asked the attendees who believed they were better than their competition in some meaningful way. Nearly 80% to 90% of the hands went up immediately. I assured each person that they were right.
Small businesses, especially, have unique advantages over their competition. The owners possess more knowledge, experience, and passion. If you’re genuinely better but not being discovered, it’s a disservice to potential clients. Being discovered and engaging with you is what they deserve. That’s why marketing is a responsibility.
Alex: Absolutely, Mike. As a podcast host, I’ve come across shows that I would’ve never discovered if I hadn’t been a guest on them. Some shows are just outstanding. I’ve also heard from both sides of the mic where people love podcasting but feel unsure about marketing. What are your thoughts on that, considering your experience as both a host and a guest?
Mike: I’ve encountered that situation many times. When someone says they’re not a marketer, they usually mean they don’t know how to run Facebook ads or use Instagram for promotion. But let me tell you, that’s not what it’s all about. You don’t need to be like other marketers. Instead, you just need to be more authentic and express yourself in your own unique way. For instance, I’m a bit of a goof. It’s all about embracing your true self and letting it shine through.
If you’re serious, be the Spock of the industry and go where other geeks hang out. Find those congregation points where people with similar interests gather. Insert yourself into those communities and be your authentic self. By doing so, you’ll start getting exposure and attracting attention.
Alex: That’s a great point. Speaking from the perspective of a podcast host, one mistake I made was trying to create my own community from scratch. I should’ve joined existing tribes where I resonated with others and added value without necessarily leading. It’s all about finding that established community.
Mike: Absolutely, you just nailed it. That’s the hack right there. If you don’t do that, we can’t help you. Find the communities that already exist. They’re established because they share common interests and knowledge. When you’re present and someone discovers you within those communities, they start spreading the word about you. And if you consistently engage with one community, even if it’s online on Reddit or at conferences, people within that community will start noticing you everywhere. It’s all about being in the right spots where they’re looking.
Alex: That’s powerful advice. We could end the discussion here, but let’s keep diving deeper. I’d like to explore your DAD marketing framework. Can you give us a brief overview of what that entails, and then we can dive into each point?
Mike: Sure, the Get Different framework is based on the acronym DAD. The first step is to differentiate. Habituation is a biological behavior where we disregard stimuli we’ve seen before. To avoid being ignored, you need to do something no one else is doing. It’s not about being outrageous but rather being yourself in a unique way. The next step is to attract. Being different grabs attention, but you also need to be attractive to your target audience. Understand what they want and translate it into your message. Lastly, you must give direction. Have a clear call to action that’s small enough to feel safe for the audience but big enough to make a substantial impact in the direction you want to go. It’s about finding the right balance. This is a three-stage process that can make a significant impact.
Related: How To Create a Powerful CTA
Alex: So, we have the principles of differentiate for attention, attract for engagement, and direct for results. Let’s dive into each one. Firstly, when it comes to podcasting, whether you’re a host or a guest, there’s a lot of competition out there. With countless podcasts and millions of people trying to be guests, how can someone really stand out on either side of the mic? Let’s discuss both perspectives. As a host, have you seen any examples of someone doing a great job at differentiating themselves?
Mike: I think the key is to focus on micro-communities before aiming for the broader audience. Starting big and wanting to be the next Joe Rogan might be a great aspiration, but it’s unlikely to happen right away. Instead, identify a specific micro-community that you can resonate with. Take the podcast “My Favorite Murder” as an example. It targets middle-aged women and delves into crime stories from the past decades. They have built a strong connection with their audience, even giving them a nickname, the Murderinos. By catering to that specific community and caring for them deeply, they gained favor and eventually expanded their reach to a wider audience. It’s all about starting narrow and speaking directly to that community, making them feel understood.
Alex: That’s fantastic advice for podcast hosts. It’s important to really understand and connect with a specific community before trying to appeal to everyone. Now let’s flip the script and talk about guests. With the competition for podcast guests becoming increasingly fierce, imagine there are ten experts in the same field vying for attention. How can someone stand out in such a crowded space?
Mike: To stand out as a guest, you need to do something that sets you apart. It comes back to the DAD model. Personally, I receive many guest inquiries, but there was one show that caught my attention with a unique approach. They sent me a thoughtfully curated box of gifts that resonated with me. It wasn’t just promotional materials; they included new guitar strings, personalized picks with my name, and even a cigar box guitar, knowing that I enjoy playing guitar. They invited me to jam out with them on their show without any pressure to accept. They differentiated themselves by going above and beyond what others were doing. It was attractive because it spoke my language, and their approach was direct but not pushy. I felt compelled to accept their invitation because they stood out from the crowd.
Related: How To Become The Favorite Guest
Alex: That’s a remarkable example of how a guest can truly make an impact by doing something unique and appealing to the interests of the host. It’s all about standing out and creating that memorable experience. Now let’s talk about attracting for engagement. It’s not enough to be a weirdo or grab someone’s attention momentarily. We need to go deeper. Can you elaborate on this concept? I think it’s equally applicable to both hosts and guests.
Mike: The key is to understand the pains, challenges, and problems that your audience faces. That’s what truly attracts them. Being weird might catch their attention briefly, but it can also be off-putting. What we want is something unexpected that resonates with them and makes them say, “You get me.” I remember seeing a TV commercial that perfectly exemplifies how even discussing a difficult topic can be attractive. The commercial depicted a young man with his wife and young daughter. He was engrossed in watching something on TV, and the glow of the screen was visible. His wife and daughter were smiling behind him, proud that he was so captivated. Suddenly, his expression changed, and you could sense something traumatic was about to happen. In slow motion, his wife leaped up and wrapped her arms around his shoulders and waist, interlocking her fingers like a seatbelt. The daughter did the same around his lap, symbolically creating a seatbelt.
Then, in a split second, shards of glass flew towards him, but he was shielded by his family’s embrace. A message appeared, saying, “Seat belts don’t just save lives; they save families. Click it up or click up.” It was such a powerful and attractive commercial because it spoke directly to me. At the time, I was a guy with a young family, and it made me realize the importance of always wearing a seatbelt. It resonated because it addressed a challenge I could relate to. Attraction lies in speaking the language of the community and understanding their problems.
Alex: That’s a fantastic example. It shows how important it is to deliver on the promises you make. Whether you’re hosting a podcast or appearing as a guest, you need to fulfill the expectations set by the title and the claimed expertise. That’s how you truly engage people. If I bring you on to talk about marketing strategies and then we spend the whole time discussing guitars, I didn’t deliver on the promise, and no one will engage.
Mike: That’s a common mistake that often gets overlooked. I would even suggest trying out some front-loading techniques. This is something we do as authors: make a promise and provide early wins for the reader, or in this case, the listener. If they have to listen to the entire episode without finding a solution buried in the middle, they may never reach it, and they won’t be inclined to tune in again. Give them victories right from the start. Consider incorporating a minute summary at the beginning of the show or exploring different approaches to engage the audience.
Alex: That’s really insightful. Before we move on to the second “D” for direct, I think it’s crucial to address an important point here. When we talk about differentiation and attraction, many of us feel the immediate pressure to be someone other than ourselves. It’s a common trap. Can you emphasize the significance of staying true to ourselves?
Mike: That’s the biggest mistake we can make. The moment we start being inauthentic, it becomes noticeable, like when we detect a deepfake video and realize it’s not the real Tom Cruise. We’ve become so good at identifying frauds. So imagine if you’re not being genuine, people will sense that something is off. And even worse, if they don’t catch it right away, when they eventually do, they’ll perceive you as a fraud. It’s a disastrous outcome. If you fake it until you make it, people will eventually uncover the truth, and you won’t make it.
So, my advice is to embrace your true self. To be different, identify your idiosyncrasies and amplify certain elements. It’s still you, just a bit more accentuated. Personally, I reached out to people from different stages of my life—grade school, college, and present-day acquaintances—and asked them to share what they remembered about me, what made me unique. The response was incredible. I discovered common threads, such as simplifying complex concepts and my goofy sense of humor, which has remained with me since third grade. Recognizing these commonalities, I realized I could lean into those elements because they truly represent who I am, and they differentiate me from the noise that others are hearing.
Alex: That’s a fantastic life hack. It applies not only to the world of marketing, but also to understanding and discovering our authentic selves. It’s about being comfortable in our own skin.
Mike: Exactly! It’s about finding joy in being true to ourselves. I strongly encourage everyone not to look at other podcasts and think, “I want to be exactly like that show. Let’s copy it.” My website, for example, is unique among author websites. People often ask me who my designer is, and when I tell them it’s Liz, they reach out to her saying they want a website like mine. I give them permission, but it’s a mistake because they end up with a disjointed copy that doesn’t reflect their personality or sense of humor. It feels off and uncomfortable. The best approach is to amplify who you genuinely are. Take inspiration from others, observe different platforms, and see what resonates with you. Then, select the elements that align with your true self, creating something fresh and unique once again.
Alex: Man, that’s amazing. I love how you emphasize self-discovery for both sides of the mic. It’s something everyone should really dive into. Mike, let’s jump into the last point now, which is being direct for results. Can you elaborate on what this means?
Mike: Absolutely. Being direct means providing people with a specific, tangible, and actionable task that will either sustain the relationship or lead to the desired transaction. Ultimately, in any form of marketing, our goal is to guide people towards taking action. The mistake is leaving them hanging after saying, “I hope you enjoyed what I shared.”
It creates an awkward moment, just like when we started the show. We’re left sitting there, and the audience might wonder, “What are these guys doing?” It might seem cool, but without any clear call to action, there’s nothing to do. So we need to ask them to take a specific action. However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. If you ask for something too big, you’ll turn people off.
Imagine if, at the end of a show, you said, “Hey, I hope you loved it. By the way, I offer consulting services for $10,000 per minute. Please deposit the amount now.” I highly doubt you’d receive any responses. On the other hand, if you ask for something too small, like telling people to simply download the next episode, it’s such a minor ask that it won’t generate momentum or contribute to the desired transactions.
So what’s the appropriate exchange? It’s something you should test out. It could involve collecting contact information. For example, you could say, “I hope you enjoyed the podcast. I have a free bonus episode, and I’d love to stay in touch with you. If you’re willing to share your email, I’ll give you access to the bonus episode, and we can keep the conversation going. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.” This kind of ask moves you in the right direction and keeps the transactional relationship alive.
Alternatively, you could say, “Thank you for listening to the podcast. If you found it transformative, I’d like to offer you a 15-minute coaching session. It’s a genuine coaching session where I’ll be there to serve you. We won’t discuss anything about you specifically, but at the end, if you’re interested in further discussions, feel free to call this number.” Experiment with different transactional approaches that move you closer to your ultimate goal. That’s what being direct is all about.
Alex: Yeah, what I’m hearing is that it should be a single, focused ask. Trying to include multiple requests dilutes and confuses people, right?
Mike: Absolutely. It should be one thing. Introducing more than one request starts to dilute and confuse people. If you’re serving different communities, you can employ a split technique. For example, you might say, “Go to this website and let me know if you’re a podcast host or a podcast listener,” and then offer different things accordingly. But if you start off by saying, “If you’re a podcast host, go here, and if you’re a podcast listener, go there,” you’re already overwhelming and confusing your audience. Try to guide people along a narrow, singular path.
Alex: Yeah, that’s such valuable insight, and it applies to both hosts and guests. I have a question about being a guest. Do you think it’s beneficial for guests to have a different URL each time they appear on a podcast? That way, they can track where their traffic is coming from. What are your thoughts on that?
Mike: Oh, that’s a brilliant idea. Honestly, I haven’t really considered it before, but it makes perfect sense. You’re right, I should call Liz right now and discuss this. It’s actually a keying technique that stems from direct marketing. You might have seen it in marketing pieces where they say, “Act now, call this 1-800 number, and dial extension seven.” That extension serves as a key. They can track which postcard or advertisement led people to dial that specific extension. Similarly, in radio commercials, when they say, “Tell them Joe sent you,” Joe becomes the key. They can determine which commercials mentioning Joe are effective, and which ones mentioning other names aren’t working. We should apply the same principle. When we receive opportunities from being a podcast guest, we want to identify their sources. So, if you’re a guest on a podcast, definitely provide a unique URL, and you’ll be able to see which podcasts are generating traffic for you.
Alex: That’s a fantastic idea, and I’m not currently doing it either. Thanks for sharing that. Moving on to the final point we’ll cover today, you often talk about the importance of experimenting, measuring results, amplifying what works, and repeating the process. I want to focus on one specific aspect—engaging with people who listen to you on podcasts, whether you’re a guest or a host. How valuable do you find it to actually have one-on-one calls with them? Is that something you’ve seen value come from, and would you recommend it to podcast guests?
Mike: It can be incredibly effective, especially if it’s your target audience. When I used to host a podcast for a long time, we had over 300 episodes, and we would receive calls from fans of the show. Some of them would complain, saying things like, “I don’t like the swearing. My child’s in the car, and we’re driving to school, and you’re really a jerk.”
And I would respond, “Okay, tell me about yourself.” And they would say, “Well, right now I’m living off my parents’ estate, and I might start a business someday.” That’s when I realized they weren’t my target audience. On the other hand, there were calls where people would say, “Dude, you’re freaking hysterical. Your show is the only break I have from work. I work like a hound.” And then they would share details about their entrepreneurial ventures. Those were the conversations with my ideal customers. It’s important to qualify the candidates and understand if they align with your target audience. I truly believe that your best customers can provide you with valuable insights, so it’s worth seeking their feedback. You can ask for it at the end of your show by saying something like, “Hey, I’m constantly looking to improve the show. Whether you’re a fan or a hater, I want to hear from you. Fill out this form, and who knows, maybe we can even have a conversation on the phone.”
Alex: That’s a great tip right there. I’ve really enjoyed our time together. This marks our third interview, and it has been a pleasure once again.
About Mike Michalowicz
Mike Michalowicz is the entrepreneur behind three multimillion-dollar companies and is the author of Profit First, Clockwork, The Pumpkin Plan, and his newest book, Fix This Next. Mike is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal and regularly travels the globe as an entrepreneurial advocate.
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