In this episode we speak with Terry Lin of Build My Online Store. This episode is a podcasting case study of sorts… we go behind the scenes of how Terry went about starting his own show a little over 6 months ago. So, join us and sit back, relax and enjoy this weeks episode while sipping on a nice cup of freshly brewed coffee…or maybe it’s tea? Whatever takes your fancy.
Terry Lin is a successful online entrepreneur. An expert in e-Commerce and the host of Build My Online Store, a successful show for e-commerce store owners.
- e-Commerce Guru– How Terry became an e-Commerce Guru by leveraging the authority a podcast lends.
- The ABC checklist for starting your own show – Get out the pen and paper, you’re going to need it for this episode.
- Tips and Tricks– Help with connecting with influencers, running a smooth show, getting better quality audio plus more.
THE FULL TRANSCRIPT
Introduction: Welcome, to the brave new world of cost effective communications, tips, trips and tricks, how-to’s, why-to’s and what-not-to-do’s, and using the power of web based content marketing to easily promote whatever you’d like. Welcome to The Multimedia Marketing Show with, Jake Hower.
Jake: Welcome back, listeners. I’m Jake Hower, your host. You’re listening to The Multimedia Marketing Show. In this episode we’re speaking with Terry Lin from buildmyonlinestore.com, which is a podcast for e-commerce storeowners and aspiring storeowners.
Now, we’ve had a couple of podcasters on the show already, in Dan Andrews, Tim Reid and a few others, but what we haven’t done is broken down how you can go about setting up your own.
Terry’s been podcasting for a few months now and he’s built up quite a good following, so we’re going to have a chat and really bounce a few ideas off each other about how you can go about setting up your own podcast and successfully promoting it and building your own audience as well.
I hope you enjoy this interview. Let’s go off and get straight into it right now.
Jake: Welcome back, listeners. As I mentioned in the top of the episode, we’ve got Terry Lin from Build My Online Store. Terry, how are you?
Terry: How’s it going, Jake?
Jake: Fantastic, and I’m so glad to get you on the episode tonight. You’re a fellow podcaster, and you’ve been going for … would it be just a year now, is it?
Terry: No, probably only about six months or so. I started in May of 2012, and now it’s January. I had stopped for a month also, so probably six months.
Jake: That’s great. In our previous episodes we’ve had a couple of other podcasters on. Mainly we had Dan Andrews talking about podcasting, and then Tim Reid from Small Business Big Marketing talking about podcasting as well.
What I’d like to do for our listeners is really dig deep into how you go about setting up and starting your own podcast. I don’t feel we’ve gone deep enough into that, and what I want our listeners to be able to do is really basically follow along guide to actually podcasting.
I think given that you’re relatively new to podcasting, you’ve probably got some great tips to share with the audience.
Terry: Yes. Certainly, let’s get into it.
Jake: Just before we get into it, for the listeners out there who don’t know who you are, Terry, why don’t you give us a little bit about your background?
Terry: Sure. I first got into podcasts probably around early 2000s. I’m a big electronic music nerd, and back then you had these people who would record live sets. They would go to a Trance concert and they would record Tiesto for an hour and a half. That’s why I first found podcasting.
Then sometime around last year I was at a day job, I’m still at a day job now, and I realized building a business, like Dan said, is really the best way to create more opportunity and freedom and to get a lifestyle that you want.
I sent him an email with a couple of ideas, and he was giving people basically yes or no ideas in terms of if they were dead on arrival. One of the ideas was in the e-commerce realm, and then I went with that and somehow ended up interviewing people that run e-commerce stores.
The idea came from this a little bit because I listen to Mixergy a couple of times, and Mixergy is very tech focused where you have the startup guys, you have people that do SAS, software. It’s all over the place, and so I thought, “Okay, if Andrew Warner can take this model and make it so big, why can’t I just focus it on something more narrow like e-commerce, that still has a lot of room for growth in the future too.
You also see a lot of podcasts online about making money online, and I didn’t really want to get into that. E-commerce is a tangent off that, and so that’s where I started off.
The show basically interviews people that run e-commerce stores. I even find them on blogs like Shopify, Big Commerce. These are the big SAS platforms that you can start a store on. I’ve also gone onto the “Shark Tank,” I don’t know if you guys get that in Australia. It’s a big US show where people go pitch people like Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran to invest in their startup. I do followup interviews with probably about three of them right now. Basically I ask people how they built their stores, what troubles they ran into and what platform technology they’re using just to show everyone, hey, starting an online store is not the huge black hole that it was 10 years ago.
Jake: That’s really interesting. The e-commerce – did you have any experience in e-commerce before jumping into starting the podcast?
Terry: Very little. When I was in college, when you buy textbooks from a university the most expensive textbooks are usually the chemistry, the physics textbooks and I guess legal books.
When I was a sophomore I was buying textbooks for an econ class, and I noticed the bookstore was buying a $100 textbook back from students at $20 but then they would just repackage it the next semester and sell it for $90. I went, “Okay, there’s a big gap here, like $70 for a textbook. Why I don’t I just buy it from my classmate for $20, and then I’ll post it on Amazon for $65?” That’s what I did for a whole summer, and I made so much money like that. That’s how I got into e-commerce very early on.
Jake: That’s fantastic. You’re certainly right in saying it. It’s a growing market and considering how many bricks-and-mortar stores there are out there, how the majority of these stores would benefit from going online anyway. You can just see we’re probably on the tip of the iceberg still when it comes to e-commerce.
Terry: Yes. Just to give you a crazy statistic, I was talking to the guy at Shopify and he was saying North America, in 2012, all the retail sales, only about 10-15% was actually on e-commerce. That’s still a lot of room to grow.
Jake: That’s crazy. That’s crazy. You’ve got yourself into a fantastic little niche there.
Let’s lay it out for the listeners for the rest of the episode. I’m going to sit here and I’m going to interrogate you about how you’ve gone through the process and you you’ve set everything up, and try and put it into I guess some sort of step-by-step system that our listeners can follow to potentially start their own podcast show as well. How does that sound?
Terry: Sounds good. Let’s bring it on.
Jake: Excellent. You mentioned that you’d shot an email across to Dan Andrews. Dan, of course, is from The Lifestyle Business Podcast and from Dynamite Circle, a forum that he runs. What was the next step from there?
Terry: The next step was just figuring out podcasting actually works. Basically a podcast is a like a blog RSS, but it’s audio. You subscribe to it either in iTunes or on a Google reader, and it automatically downloads through the feed.
To learn how the whole podcast works in terms of the backend, the hosting, the distribution, it would probably take you maybe two to three days at most. There are technicalities in setting up the whole structure, but just to get your head around everything it would probably take a day or two.
That’s how I started at first. The resource I used was Cliff Ravenscraft; he’s the Podcast Answer Man. He had six-step YouTube videos that were each 10 minutes long, and I just watched those one or two times. Basically, from that, you can understand how podcasting works in general. That’s how you jump into it at first.
Jake: Do you see that as vital for those that are less tech-savvy out there?
Terry: Yes. I would suggest his videos because he actually walks through everything assuming you are not a very tech-savvy person. He walks through what an MP3 file is, what an ID3 tag is, what FeedBurner is, why you shouldn’t use your hosting service as FeedBurner, and some of the tips and tricks that he’s seen for the past I don’t know how many years he’s been doing it, but it’s a very long time.
Jake: So you’ve gone through and you’ve learned, I guess, the inner workings of how podcasts work. Where to next?
Terry: The next step is to decide what topic you want to do. For example, me, I was on e-commerce so I wanted to find storeowners to interview. Basically, I knew I was going to go with the interview format because really, the guest is who has the knowledge and who has the nuggets to share with the audience.
Once you decided on … Tim Reid says it’s the spine of the show. You can decide the format too. Do you want to do an interview? Do you want to do a co-host? Do you want to do a single person like Pat Flynn in Smart Passive Income?
Basically, there’s no right or wrong way to choose it but it has to be something that you enjoy doing for a long time. For me, I enjoy interviewing because I’m intuitively curious about businesses so it allows me to interrogate an e-commerce store and how they got started and how they run everything.
Jake: Absolutely. I guess it also comes down to why you’re actually podcasting, and probably coming from a similar place that you have, Terry, and that’s … One of the goals for releasing this particular podcast is to build my authority. There aren’t too many better ways to do that than to build authority by association.
Terry: Exactly. The thing about podcasting versus guest posting is that it’s much easier to get someone to come on your podcast for 30 minutes than to say, “Hey, can I guest post on your blog,” which is probably what a lot of people are doing. Guest posting, I’m sure it still works but just the friction of talking on Skype like we are right now for 20 or 30 minutes is a lot less and is much easier too.
There’s also a kind of clout where you say … instead of saying you have a blog, saying you have an Internet show. Maybe five years ago this would sound crazy, but now it’s like, “Oh wow, you have a show.” There’s a different meaning to it, I think.
Jake: Definitely. There absolutely is. Let’s continue down. You’ve got all these different mediums or podcasting formats, but we’re going to follow your path here. You’ve chosen the interview path. How do you go about finding and getting guests to come on the show?
Terry: This probably breaks into two parts. I would say the first 10 episodes, finding guests is a little tough. I would say the first three to go with people you know, just to get the ball rolling. My first guest was actually a Shopify storeowner I interviewed when I was just starting out, asking for the problems and if we could just hop on Skype to talk it about it some more. Then naturally it became an interview and that’s how we did it, I branched into that.
Finding the first couple of guests is tough. You need to go with people that are buying into your idea of, “Hey, I could be on a podcast, this is cool to get my business featured in iTunes.” When people search for it it’s on the Internet, anyone who finds it can download it anywhere in the world. I think most of our podcasts get downloaded from probably 80 to 100 countries. I’m sure you’ve got your stats and it’s something similar too. It’s absolutely crazy right now. Anyone in the world can listen to your show.
Get people that are onboard with that idea first, and then as you get bigger you can use that as leverage to say, “Hey, here’s a sample of my work with three or four people. You can check it out, and you can come on my show. This is what you can expect.”
Whereas if you just went … Say I went to Seth Godin for my first episode, he wouldn’t care who I am, right? But after say maybe 100 episodes you had someone’s podcast he’s been on, maybe Entrepreneur On Fire or a couple of other shows, you can say the same thing, “Seth, here’s these three people, four people you know. Do you want to come on my show?” I think the friction would be a lot less than if you just started out right out of the gate. That’s a two-step leverage plan once you have a show just starting out and once you have a body of work built up.
Jake: What do you do? Do you just pick up the phone or do you send them an email or social media? How do you contact these people?
Terry: I have a standard template I can send you later. It’s basically, I include everything in the subject line. I say, “Hey, can I interview you this day, this time, on my podcast,” which is the subject line. If you just say “Hi,” in the subject line, some people might not click it, especially if you go to people that are very busy with a ton of email. If you can just summarize everything in one sentence in the subject line and they click into it, then you can get into the body of what your podcast is in the body.
What I do is I ask them for a time, tell them how the interview is done via audio Skype, what my podcast is about, and I link three episodes that I’ve done. Then I say, “Here’s what you can check out. Here’s my website. Here’s iTunes. Let me know what you think.”
Basically, the hit rate is probably somewhere 80-90% now. It’s very hard to get no’s once you’ve got a pretty good body of work built up, I think.
Jake: Absolutely. I’ve seen that exact same thing happen. It’s probably hardest at first trying to get those initial few interviews. I think really, all you need to be doing is doing just a bit of research in your niche and you’ll probably find potentially others in the marketplace who are also looking to get exposure as well.
They may not be the superstars, or they potentially are as well. I know someone like James Schramko, he’ll jump on anybody’s podcast, and he is a superstar.
You will find, in your own niche, a number of different people who are looking to get exposure. So if you just put your mind to it and do a little bit of research initially, you’ll probably find them pretty easy.
Terry: I’m speaking to Schramko tomorrow, actually. Basically the one I sent him was I sent him a mail through Dynamite Circle. I said, “Hey, here’s my interview with Tim Reid who he does Freedom Ocean with, Dan Andrews who has been on his podcast multiple times. I think he’s also the guy, the DC too. Then I sent one … Who was my third one? Oh, Dan Norris. He’s been on his podcast before. Basically, it’s an easy yes for him to say.
Jake: Yes, absolutely.
Terry: It’s actually a no-brainer. Basically, it’s knowing how to leverage content tactically to get bigger guests. The way you can look at it too, if you’re in a completely new niche, is that you look at the A-list bloggers and you look at who has guest-posted on their site.
This is what I do with Shopify too. I basically found the guest posters on Shopify, I found about three of four of them that their PR guy really knew, that they work with and publish on a constant basis. I got them on my podcast and then I interviewed one of their officers. I sent the PR guy, “Hey, here’s an interview with one of your senior officers. Would you like me to do a guest post?” He said, “Yes.” Versus if you just spam him back and forth. The friction is so much easier to go through.
Jake: That strategy is a classic networking strategy where you’re looking for the influences of the authority people in the marketplace and reaching out to the influences of them, and you’ll potentially get in front of the authority figure.
Terry: This comes from a book I used to read by a guy called Dick Marcinko. He’s a military … He wrote these fiction military novels. He was a Navy SEAL. He had this phrase where he says … It went something like, “Poop smells worse when it drops on your head versus if you step on it on the ground.” (Laughter)
Basically it’s like the corporate world. You leverage the decision-maker. If you want something done, it’s much easier to go to the boss than to keep trying to go through the secretary or the gatekeeper. You tell the boss, the boss says, “Okay,” then you CC the secretary and then everything’s smooth. It’s the way the world works, and you’re using that to your advantage.
Jake: We don’t need to talk a lot about the technical aspects any longer because you’ve probably covered a lot of that if you’ve gone and looked at Cliff Ravencraft’s stuff, but leading up the interview, how do you record an interview with a guest?
Terry: Basically the tools I use are Skype, like we are right now, and then there’s a plugin called Call Recorder. It’s $15 or $20, and it’s basically a plugin to Skype that records your Skype conversations. The thing that’s key about this is that it allows you to split the vocal tracks. For example, after you edit this it’ll split my track in a separate file, it’ll split your track in a separate file.
Therefore when you edit it, it’s not one file that you can’t cut back and look. If I cough right now and you’re talking, and they’re not separate files, there’s no way you can edit that out. Whereas if it was separate, you can cut it out, cut out the ums and ahs and piece it back together. That’s the key software that I use to record.
Jake: Exactly right. I’ll usually swear a little bit while my guest’s speaking, so listeners won’t hear a lot of that because I just edit it out.
Terry: Exactly. That’s the key software that gets you started in terms of your content production. After that you split it into software. It comes with Call Recorder and then you put it in your audio editing software, which I use is Adobe Audition. I know that people use Audacity too. I believe that’s free. Just like Dan Andrews from the Lifestyle Business Podcast says, “Audition is the Ferrari of audio editing.”
Jake: Let’s get going down along the lines of the interview process with our guests. You’ve got everything in place, you’ve set up an interview with them, you’ve got the software and all the technical stuff set up to actually interview them. How do you approach an interview? What sort of research or how much preparation do you do in interviewing a guest?
Terry: I would say average, it takes about maybe an hour. If you’re quick, 30 minutes. What I do is I actually ask a structured list of questions, but I let it go as the guest takes it. Some interviews are very structured. Mixergy is a very structured interview, right? He has a format and he has these set questions that he asks in a certain path.
The mentality I take is like a tour guide. You’re just showing your audience this business and you let the scenery explain itself as you go along the different parts. What I do in my show is when you look at a business, there’s basically two frameworks. There’s the SWOT framework that comes from the Art of War, it’s the strength, weakness, opportunities, threats of the business; and then there’s the other side, which is the external one, called Porter’s Five Forces. This guy Michael Porter is a Harvard Business School professor. The Porter’s Five Forces is your competitors, pricing, substitutions, competitive advantage and … what else? One other thing.
Basically, this is the framework I take when I look at a business. I come up with questions based on each of these points, and then when you combine all of these you get a real holistic view on a person’s business. That would be my take.
I also look at their social media platform. I look at their Facebook, what have they been posting recently? Is there anything interesting? Are they listed on … Have they been on Cosmopolitan, AskMen, big news sites? You take it from there, and the key thing is to find something curious that intrigues you. Because if it intrigues you it’ll usually intrigue your audience, and that’s I think what really makes a good interview.
Jake: Fantastic. Do you normally when you’re going through this process, do you know where the interviewer’s going to go in terms of are you asking questions that you know what the interviewee is going to answer?
Terry: What I do is I structure bullet points based on each aspect of the business I want to cover. If you look at my show, I’ll cover customer development, e-commerce platform, mindset, sourcing your product and social media or marketing. Basically, within those six or seven arcs you then make four or five bullet points that are interesting to you. You pass it to the guests, and then at least they know what they’re working with. Usually if it’s a business owner and someone that’s on top of the business, it’s really easy for them.
You want to give your guests an idea what to expect, but you don’t want to give them everything, like a long question, a 30-40 list bullet question. If you give them a whole list it gets very formal and doesn’t really flow naturally, in my view.
Jake: Yes, definitely. That’s important. You have to really sound like you’re having a conversation with somebody.
Terry: The last thing you want to sound is like on a news show where you’re going really for the … Tim Reid calls it the fireside chat thing. Most people when they’re listening to podcasts, they’re either driving or they’re working out. They’re looking for something that’ll keep them company, not necessarily a documentary that goes fact after fact after fact with a very rigid style. That’s my take on this.
Jake: Definitely. Moving on now, we’ve recorded a podcast episode. Do you do the editing yourself?
Terry: Yes, I do. There’s one thing I forgot to mention. A lot of the times on podcasts you’ll see people interview really big guests, and one of the mistakes I always thought was if I don’t get a big guest my podcast … who would want to listen to it?
The thing you’ll realize is that most people, they can relate better to lesser known guests in terms of say if you have a blog or I guess an e-commerce store. For example, if I interview a business that’s doing $100 million versus one that’s just starting out, the success gap speaking to someone that’s so high up seems very hard to relate to. If you speak with someone that’s been doing it for one to two years, actually some of those episodes resonate much better actually, which is kind of surprising.
If you’re worried you can’t get a big guest, I wouldn’t worry about that at all. Just work your way up as you get more experienced.
Jake: That’s a really good point. I guess if you’re looking long-term at your show, creating a stronger, I guess, emotional attachment with your audience is probably more important than getting some short-term traffic gains which I see as big guests.
Terry: The other thing is the big guests have probably been around on a lot of podcasts, which is not a bad thing but they’ve probably heard them here or there. For example, how many podcasts did you hear Tim Ferriss on when The 4-Hour Chef was out? He was in my feed on like 20 podcasts, and I knew … You listen to four or five of them and you know what he’s going to talk about. Basically, by bringing someone not as well known you do keep it fresh a little bit.
Jake: Definitely. I think on a recent episode of Mixergy with Sheer Money Andrew essentially … He didn’t edit the podcast. He basically just threw up a quick intro and then got it out there, and the reasoning behind it was the same reason as Tim Ferriss. He was about to embark on a podcasting promotional tour, and Andrew wanted to make sure that he was the first one with an interview with him.
Terry: Those guys do it for a reason, which is … Nothing against that, but sometimes it’s just cool to do something a little different. Like Mark Twain says, that if you find yourself on the same side as the majority, it’s time to reflect.
Jake: Where do we go from here then? You’ve recorded an interview?
Terry: You asked me about editing. I do all the editing myself, which is something I’m trying to get out of. When you first edit, your first episode will take you forever. Because I’m a perfectionist, my first episode I cut out a lot of the ums and ahs. You know when you’re doing this well when you can see the waveform, which is the audio file in your editor.
Basically there’s these different spikes, and that’s the amount of volume I guess that’s in the recording. Basically when you see an um and ah and you can recognize it visually, that’s when you know you’re a pro at editing, I think. (laughter) You can see it before it comes, and you just cut it right away without even listening to it.
Basically, editing out the ums and ahs is probably big because I’m a believer that the quality shines through. I think while the content is important, the quality does matter too. It reflects on your professionalism. If you want to make this help your business, it does reflect off your image in the long run. I would say don’t skimp on your quality if you can, because it’s not like a website. You’re listening to a podcast. All you have is your ears. It’s not like a website where you have sidebars, you have different colors or a video where you can see different things. You’re using your ears. If the quality is bad, it can actually have an impact on your audience I think.
Jake: Let’s stay on that topic, and let’s look at what’s your stance on the intro and outro branding for your podcast. I know you’re using some commercial music in your intro. How did you decide to put in some commercial music and how important is it to have, I guess, good intro and outro music?
Terry: One thing about music is that I think you have to find one that the feeling matches the tone of your show.
If my show is kind of laid-back fireside chat and I had a heavy metal band come it, it would just seen very odd. What I would do, once you’ve decided on your show, if you want to do an interview show go look for three or four other shows that you really enjoy, other podcasts that you enjoy. Basically what I did was I found inspiration from the Adam Carolla show, Lifestyle Business Podcast and Foolish Adventure. Basically, you look at different shows that you listen to and you take pieces that work from each show.
The one that worked well from Adam Carolla is that he does a lot of sound walls in between. I think he starts out with a general intro, then he has a news section, then they have listener questions. Each section is blocked off by 2 or 3 seconds of audio.
Basically, once you have that structure copied you can then plug in different pieces of music or voiceovers that you can get on places like Fiverr or oDesk or any other places. I would say look at shows that you like, and then take inspiration from them.
Jake: What about the commercial music? Can you use commercial music in your intros?
Terry: Technically no, but you can get royalty-free music on a place I go called Pond5. They have music there for maybe $5 to $50. I think commercial music, if you do it once or twice then you credit it. We’re not like super, super-duper megamillion star podcasters. I don’t think we’re going to get sued anytime soon but each person has their own risk tolerance, right? That’s my take on it.
Of course, to be safe, you shouldn’t use any commercial music that’s not licensed properly by a lawyer or whatever all that deal is.
Jake: Very good point. Very good point. Let’s get into then … I guess the next logical step for me would be into the marketing and the promotion of your podcast. How do you go about doing that with yours?
Terry: This is a mistake I made in the beginning. I record an episode, I edit it and then I would do the next episode and edit. Basically, by doing that in the beginning you really cut yourself out of a lot of time in doing the promotion. If I would do it again I would basically record 5 or 6 episodes at first and then I would let the episodes drip out every week, and for that first month just focus on promotion, promotion, promotion.
I wasn’t able to promote that much, as much as I wanted, because I’m still at a desk job. What I basically did was I went through the Dynamite Circle, which is Dan Andrews’ mastermind. I went to the people I knew there to get them listen to it, then I also blasted it on Twitter about two or three times a week and that was about it. Probably a little lackluster effort, but I think you can definitely improve on that if you’re starting a new podcast now.
Jake: What you do differently then?
Terry: I would get all the guests that I’ve interviewed before to help me promote it too. Basically, those first 5 or 6 episodes. Basically then you can really steamroll yourself and make a big leap in terms of the exposure, instead of letting it grow slowly, slowly, slowly, week by week, month by month, which is a mistake.
It’s interesting. In the first month I released, it had probably 300 downloads now. I thought, “Wow, 300 people! That’s actually more than I thought.” As of December last year, it was probably like 9,000 a month. It’s not as big as some other podcasts, but knowing that you’ve grown 30 times in half a year is pretty good though.
I think one of the key aspects you should do is if your podcast is growing organically people will naturally reach out to you, especially if your content’s resonating with them. If you look at your opt-ins, your Twitter followers, if they’re gradually growing without you really pushing the content out, that’s how you know, kind of a subtle way, that’s it’s really resonating and people are finding it organically.
Jake: That’s a very good point. As you say, when the goal is the long term, having that really engaged audience is very important.
Terry: Yes. I think one thing I … another … I guess the counter-side of this is since I didn’t do much promotion, I knew that it wasn’t all just my Facebook friends and my family or friends listening to this in terms of getting the actual data starting out. Because if that was the case it would’ve just dropped after two months, because they would stop downloading or they would find other things to do. Whereas if you let it grow organically, you can actually see the trend of everything go up, which is a very encouraging sign.
Jake: Actually on that topic, one of the hardest things that I’m encountering is getting feedback from the audience. Do you have any suggestions about how you can actually try and get some feedback from your audience?
Terry: This is something I struggled with too. What I did was you know how the standard AWeber opt-in is you enter your email, you take another page that says, “Check your email for confirmation.” That’s the standard kind of thing you get.
What I did was actually created a survey after that page in the Google Forum on my website, and that’s actually after they click submit, that’s the page they get linked to. Basically on that page it has: How did you find this podcast? What’s your biggest problem in e-commerce? What are you interested in? Is there any feedback for me on this show?
Basically, anytime someone opts in usually they fill it out right away but the downside is they don’t click the confirmation to your opt-in list. The other side is if they don’t click that, they’ll see it later on their email. They don’t need to be removed. If they don’t click it, they’re probably not really interactive with their email and they may be somebody you don’t really want on your list too. It works in a dual way just to get feedback.
Usually if someone’s taking the initiative to opt in they will give you feedback, and that’s the channel I’ve found to automate getting feedback. Also, after they submit the survey I have another page with a video I recorded thanking them, and then there’s a link to iTunes on the bottom for a review.
Jake: How effective is that video for you?
Terry: It’s a little hit or miss but the thing is, knowing that they’ll see you on video, kind of in person, is more the aspect of the connecting with you as a person I think. It probably doesn’t work as much as I wish it does, but just knowing it’s there … If someone can go through this whole process, you know they’re a very engaged person with you. Basically that’s the key I go with.
Jake: I’ve gotten into the habit over the last two weeks or so of every email subscriber coming into the podcast, actually I’d record a quick video snippet and send it to them.
Terry: Yes, I’ve done that too. Do you also Google their email and try to stalk them and see where they’re at, see who they are?
Jake: I do. I do. I guess we can tie this into two things. We can tie this into probably the research for upcoming guests when you don’t know their email addresses or when you’re trying to search for their email addresses. I use a tool called Smarter Inbox, but you can also use another tool called Rapportive.
Terry: I use that one.
Jake: Essentially, if you enter an email address it will validate against social media accounts. Of course, it’ll pull in all the data from those social media accounts as well. You can often, if you’ve just got the email address, you can pull in first name, surname and maybe a Twitter or a Facebook feed and just give you a bit of an idea of who you’re actually speaking with.
Terry: It gives the LinkedIn profile, which is what I’ve been playing with the past month or two. Basically when you go on LinkedIn now, as of early 2003, when you visit someone’s profile they actually get an alert, like, “Someone’s viewed your profile.” What I do is if you optimize your profile about a podcast and then you visit the profile, usually they’ll visit you back. When they visit you back, if they’re someone you want to interview then you just connect with them and say, “Hey, I saw this was interesting on your profile. Do you want to come on my podcast and talk about X topic?”
That’s kind of like a ninja way to get guests and network with people too. If you’re a business show and you use it to grow your leads or whatever, LinkedIn is a much better place than Facebook or Twitter I would say, just because of this notification. It’s a more B to B professional social networking place.
Jake: We’re sounding a little stalker-ish, but let’s talk about LinkedIn for a second because again, this is relevant because we’re talking about podcasting and getting guests on your show. Many famous people on LinkedIn will accept your friendship requests or your connection requests. As soon as someone becomes a connection you can also export all of your contacts details, and that includes an email address. That’s again, another … I wouldn’t call it ninja, but it’s probably not utilized enough where you can actually get the person’s, in most cases, primary email address just by connecting with them on LinkedIn.
Terry: Most people that sign up, they don’t think that people can do this. I’ve got to start doing this too, now that you bring it up.
LinkedIn is a great way to network with people at bigger companies that maybe are still out of your league at first. You just search somewhere like a help spot, and you look for their vice-presidents or some officer, and basically you can ninja your way into the company that way instead of just going to website, clicking “Contact Us,” and submitting a form that goes into a corporate black hole.
Jake: Moving on, we’re probably getting pretty close to getting through the podcasting guard. Do you have anything else we should be adding?
Terry: I guess we could talk about mental resistances a little bit.
Jake: That’s a very important one.
Terry: Or we could do that later as we wrap up. Up to you, though.
Jake: I think we probably should, because that’s probably what’s stopping most people from podcasting. It’s going to either be the technical aspect or the mental aspect. How did that affect you?
Terry: The weirdest thing is hearing yourself on recording, I’m sure you would attest to this any day. Luckily when you’re doing an interview show and you’re doing it well, probably 20% of the time you’re talking and 80% of the time is your guest. When you listen to yourself doing that it’s not that bad, but when you record a whole episode by yourself and you have to edit your own audio you get very self-conscious to the stuff you’re putting out in the world and is it good enough, will people think this is stupid?
When you’re doing an episode by yourself, it’s all you. Whereas with a guest or co-host, you can bounce off each other and the dynamic is a little different. I would say the mental resistance is probably bigger than the technical aspect. The technical aspect, you can really get it down in a day. The mental aspect is taking that first step, putting your first episode out and then following up with a second and third and fourth and fifth episode. I think the biggest bottleneck that I’ve heard is getting really past the tenth episode in terms of the consistency and keeping yourself motivated and pushing forward.
Jake: How have you been able to break through that then?
Terry: One of the things that is when you get good feedback from your show, someone says, “Hey, I love your podcast. I love this guest. I learned a lot from them.” When you don’t publish, when you think about not publishing, you almost feel bad that you’re going to let them down. In some ways, that really keeps you going. The other way to do it is if you just record your content in batches.
What I do is I have a Whiteboard, about six or seven people on there now, and it’s basically I interview people … I do six or seven interviews a week and then I stop for a month. Then I can focus on some other stuff to build services around the podcast. Basically, by doing that, you have to publish it. Because you’ve interviewed someone, you owe them this interview, so it kind of forces yourself to actually publish on a consistent basis.
Jake: One thing that I struggle, I tend to do a little bit of batching as well, but I find, when something’s not in a consistent habit, it’s actually also hard for me to return. I might pump out four or five episodes in a week and then not have to go and record for two or three weeks, and it’ll get time to actually start recording again and it’s hard to get back into the mindset that I need to be recording. Has that been a problem for you?
Terry: Yes, the momentum, you do lose it once in a while but I think as an interview show I guess the pressure to create content is a lot less than say if you’re recording five episodes yourself I’m sure, right?
Jake: Absolutely. There’s no doubt about that.
Terry: I’ve been doing it for about 30 episodes now. It just comes back I guess, after a while. Maybe you’ll hit there at some point too, I guess.
I think most of the times what really gets me through is if I really find a guest that’s interesting. I think you really need to be curious about your guests and really want to learn more about them. I think that’s a big driver in terms of the long-term goals of your show too.
You have to enjoy publishing. You have to enjoy interacting. Otherwise, if you don’t really enjoy it, at some point I think it’s going to show, and then you start publishing later, maybe you skip an episode, then you start skipping two or three weeks, and then you just gradually stop.
You see that with some podcasts that started in early 2012 – a year ago. There’s some people I’ve followed, they’ve had maybe 10 or 15 episodes and I really like them but then they just stopped. It’s kind of disappointing.
Jake: Absolutely. I think it probably just comes down to the person you are and the business that you’re running. I know from my perspective, putting a deadline on every episode like, “We will release an episode on Fridays,” means that as you said earlier, you want to get that episode out. You don’t want to let your listeners down.
I think having that respect for the people that put you in their ears for an hour a week is very important. Because without that, it is likely that the show would just fizzle out and you’d stop recording.
Terry: Exactly. When I was starting on my website I was like, “Should I actually publicly say, ‘New episodes every Sunday?’” I was like, “Gosh, I’ve got to hold myself accountable.” So I was like, “Wait, I’m just going to put new episodes every Sunday and I’m just going to put it out there, and I’m going to hold myself to this.”
I think the big gauge is when you’re done with editing an episode are you really excited to press publish? Because if you are, that’s a good sign. If you’re not, then maybe that’s something you need to sort through. That’s my take on it.
Jake: Cool. Before we move on, I just want to roll back a little bit. You’re talking about the mental aspects and about listening to your own voice, and that’s something that yes, that really affects me. The way I’ve been able to break through that barrier is that I don’t edit my own podcasts. I actually have someone do that for me.
Essentially that means that I’ll jump off this call with you tonight, Terry, and it’ll be uploaded to Dropbox, and then it automatically gets edited. That means that there’s no time for me to think about whether or not I sounded good, because it just automatically gets edited.
Terry: Do you find that … Because I’m kind of anal and I like to edit my own stuff because I want to make sure it sounds a certain way. Did you have a hard time letting go and having someone else edit this?
Jake: No I didn’t, but I also prospected quite a bit for the right person. It was via oDesk. I got my audio editor off oDesk. I’m based here in Melbourne, and the person that I actually employed is living in Richmond, which is about two suburbs away from where I am here. I guess having a native English-speaking editor who I can pick up the phone and speak to or even jump in the car and drive and around and see him has been really helpful. He really gets what I’m trying to do.
Terry: That’s one thing too. I’ve been thinking about hiring an editor, like a VA, but I just don’t know if I can let someone do this at this stage. Maybe in the future once I have more on my plate.
Do you listen to your podcasts after they’re done?
Jake: I do. I do. I probably listen to each episode two or three times, and normally what I’ll do is … This is a perfect case in point. I’ll probably download this to my phone as soon as I get off the call, and I’ll listen to it for the drive home. I guess that just gives me a little bit of perspective about what I’m actually recording or where I can improve. Then I will usually listen to it a second time around once it’s been edited just for the quality control, and every now and then I’ll go back to an episode just to actually listen to the content that my guest provided.
Terry: I do that too. I usually take notes as I’m doing the interview, and then once I’m done with the whole uploading thing I’ll download it to my phone. Actually, before this, I listen to it once just to make sure there’s no gaps in my editing or in case I miss a block or silence here or an “um” here. Basically, I’ll edit it, listen to it once, upload it, download it to my phone, just to make sure the experience is what I want the audience to see and, like you said, just to get some perspective as an end user when they’re on your show.
Jake: That’s very interesting. It’s kind of like Googling your name.
Terry: Exactly. Since we’re on this show, do you want to talk a little bit about artwork and the ID3 stuff?
Jake: Yes, that’d be fantastic.
Terry: Sure. I think some podcasts you can choose to put your face on there or not. I think this is a personal decision. Personally, it depends on the business model we’re going. I think Schramko, Tim Reid, Dan Norris, myself, you, I think we all have our face on the artwork, right?
This serves a purpose because when you see someone on your phone and you’re listening to them, you make a connection. “Oh, this is someone that’s talking to me.” It’s funny when you go to a live event, like I went to Dan Andrew’s Dynamite Circle meet-up in October and there were three or four people I never met before. “Oh, you’re Terry Lin. I’ve seen your podcast.” I was like, “Whoa, this is a little weird.”
It’s interesting though, because if you don’t have your face on their you’re kind of just a voice. It works both ways, too. You’ve got some DJs you’ve never seen their picture before but you feel like you know them. I think this is a very important decision that you should make early on, because if you switch your artwork halfway through it can throw off the branding of your show.
Jake: Yes, it definitely can. I guess what’s the giveaway for people meeting you? You’ve got the right leg kicked out to the left and the arms up in the air the coattails swinging around?
Terry: That’s just my social media. The one on my podcast is just me holding a sign. I was at a friend’s studio just messing around.
I guess a lot of the podcasts are like the show’s name, something like “with Terry Lin,” and so I decided I’ll just print a sign of me holding this in the picture. It’s a little different and it looks a little cool.
Jake: For our listeners, this is obviously audio, I’m going to include links to the photos in the show notes of what I’m talking about here.
Terry: Will that be my caricature with a little James Bond twist?
Jake: I’m thinking it will be. (Laughter)
Jake: That’s I guess your image or your brand. What’s an ID3?
Terry: ID3 is … Normally when you have an audio file … This is something you’ll see in Cliff Ravenscraft’s podcast Answer Man series. Basically, when you save a file on your computer and you find it on your hard drive it’ll say, “Episode 26,” but when you load it into a player there’s a separate set of data that identifies it in a playlist. When you go to iTunes it has the artist, the title, the year, the album, artwork, all that stuff. That stuff is called the ID3 tag.
Basically, if you don’t have that in your file and you open it on your phone, what you will have is just a blank screen with the default no artwork image. Basically, you lose out on a big branding aspect for your business. What you want to do in your ID tag is you want to include obviously your name, your website, artwork, and you can also do show notes in the lyric side, which is what I do when I listen to the podcast again. I take notes.
I copied this off Schramko. He does kind of a timestamp topic. Basically every time he talks about a certain topic, he’ll say, “At 1 minute 30 seconds we’ll talk about this topic, and then he’ll go on listing it.” Basically, when you have that in your phone and your audience wants to just skim through, they can then just skip around to the general area versus listening to the whole podcast and having to go back and find where to take the notes.
Basically all this stuff goes into your ID3 tag and it’s like the branding aspect of the actual audio file, in a sense.
Jake: I don’t personally do this, but I think we must have something like that being done by the team. I don’t go as far as timestamping it, but I probably should investigate. That’s probably wise.
Terry: I don’t do an exact timestamp, I just listen to it and I jot down the general time area I heard it. I just do this while I do the second listen just to check the quality.
Jake: I think, just thinking it … Normally, the way I consume podcasts is usually when I’m doing something like driving or taking a walk, and usually it’s from start to finish of an episode. I guess where the timestamping would become important is when somebody has heard something and they want to reference it.
Terry: Or it could be as a good way to entice people to listen to it. Sometimes if you just go to a podcast episode, no one knows who your guest is but you talk about interesting stuff. There’s no way to give them a preview, right? I think Dereck Halpern from Social Trigger, he calls this the information gap. Basically, you tell people, “Here’s what we’re going to tell you, here’s a preview, and if you want to find out the rest you need to subscribe to my emails, listen to my podcast or watch this video.
Basically, it serves as a way to give people an idea of what to expect, and if it’s enticing they’ll probably listen to it. It works both ways too, I think.
Jake: It certainly does. I think we’re getting close to wrapping this up. We’ve covered quite a lot in the episode, and I’m conscious of taking up too much of your time, Terry.
What I’m very interested in though, is what have you gotten out of podcasting for the last six or so months?
Terry: Podcasting is a great networking tool I would say. Like I said earlier, it’s much easier to chat with someone when you’re promoting their business on the side too. In some ways they feel like, “Hey, if you need anything else after, you can just ask me for help.”
Basically what this has led to is some consulting gigs on the side, just starting out. People that are looking to start a store, they’re not really sure where to begin and so they’re willing to do a session with me on a one-on-one just to guide them through the ins and outs.
Basically, once you’ve spoken to 30 or 40 guests within the specific niche you’ll know the best practices, the mistakes they made, and you can piece everything together in terms of what can work for a beginner.
That’s where you can leverage that expertise into something else. Basically, you’re taking your intellectual capital that you’ve gathered and then you turn it into intellectual property in services.
Jake: Fantastic. Where’s the next 6-12 months taking you?
Terry: The next 6-12 months ideally is building a services business off the podcasts for e-commerce owners. A lot of them need help with things like PaperClick, maybe writing copy, maybe they need an SEO campaign. The idea is to build this one-stop-shop platform on the back of this podcast where you also have a consultant that can give you the best practices and what’s worked for him in stores, whereas if you just went on the Internet and found some SEO person or another person. There’s a little bit of differentiation here.
You also have the body of work of podcasts where you get a lot of value from listening to different guests too.
Jake: You say they build out the right brand, Build My Online Store, that plays well into the services market.
Terry: Yes, and that’s one thing you’ve got to think about too when you’re starting your show’s name. Do you want to start with a Google/Yahoo where you really have to build up the brand over a period of time, or do you just go with something that’s self-explanatory like Build My Online Store and like you’re the Multimedia Marketing Show. It’s very straightforward. You see it, you know what it’s about and you can engage with it right away.
Jake: For the vast majority of things, I think it probably makes more sense to do it like that because it makes it easier to build up a customer base.
Terry: It works both ways. There’s a branding person I talked to. If you look at Tim Ferriss and Chris Guillebeau, Tim Ferriss has the whole four-hour thing under his brand. He has The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef. It’s kind of under his name. Whereas Chris Guillebeau, if you look at him, he has The $100 Startup, The Art of Nonconformity and a bunch of other things. He’s not very in the forefront as much as Tim is. The advantage is that you can then do different projects and different niches, whereas if you’re focused on … If I use Terry Lin as the name for this podcast, if I decide to go into, say, Japanese steak knives, my audience will be like, “Whoa, what are you doing here? This is very weird.”
If you have a branding name off a company name, then you can hire people to join your team too. You can have different aspects within this brand. Whereas if you did it personally, you’re … not necessarily stuck, but the amount of pivoting you can do is stuck because once you have an audience that’s really resonating with you on this topic, if you want to switch it’s a more difficult thing to do.
Jake: I was having a conversation earlier with Dan Norris along these lines, about branding or going with a personal brand type of thing against going with a more generic type of brand. I don’t think there’s any one right answer.
Terry: Yes, I think there’s no right or wrong way. Another thing is too, if I was just to say, “Hey, listen to the Terry Lin podcast,” versus the Build My Online Store podcast, if no one knows who Terry Lin is they’re going to be like, “Who is this guy? Why do I need to listen to him?” Whereas if you see Build My Online Store and Multimedia Marketing Show, Web Domination, you immediately know what you’re going to expect. That’s the other ways to look at it.
Jake: Definitely. Definitely.
All right, Terry, I think that’s fantastic. We’ve got so much there that our audience can sink their teeth into and get stuck into it. Where can our listeners find out a little bit more about you?
Terry: You can find my podcast on buildmyonlinestore.com. I publish new episodes every Sunday. We’re always interested in talking to e-commerce owners, but if you’re also a service provider, you do SEO or copyrighting, we always bring different guests on just to bring another angle onto how to approach e-commerce.
So buildmyonlinestore.com, you can find me on Twitter, and it’s me, Terry Lin, and I’m also on LinkedIn. That’s how you can find me.
Jake: Excellent. Terry, thank you very much for coming on the episode. It’s been fantastic. You’ve shared so much awesome content with our listeners, and I’m sure they appreciate it. I know I certainly do.
Terry: Awesome. Thanks so much, Jake.
Jake: Okay, and welcome back listeners. I hope you enjoyed that interview. I enjoyed putting it together with Terry. He’s an awesome guy, and we seemed to click quite well. It was enjoyable putting it together, and I hope you get a lot out of it as well. Righty-O.
Tips and Tricks:
This week I have been playing around a little with some Facebook ads and using the custom audience tab in the power editor of Facebook. One little trick I’ve found is that with LinkedIn, with your connections, you can actually export your connections on LinkedIn. What I’ve done, I’ve exported my connections from LinkedIn, which gives you the email addresses. I’ve imported those email addresses into Facebook, the power editor in the ads component as a custom audience, and now there’s about 60% of the email addressed matched with a Facebook email address and I can actually target just these people to send ads to.
That’s a little trick for using Facebook ads and targeting a network of people who already know you. That’s quite interesting. I’ve shot a video, so head across to the site. You’ll see that up on the site, giving you a bit of a run-through for that.