December 14, 2023

Mastering the Mic: A CMO’s Playbook for Podcast Guesting

Want to be the best podcast guest?

Rachel Downey, the mastermind behind Share Your Genius, unveils her secrets to help you amplify your voice—and your brand—via the power of podcasting. Whether you’re aiming to bolster your personal brand, widen your company’s reach, or attract fresh talent, hopping onto a podcast could be your game-changer.

This episode is your all-access pass to mastering the art of podcast guesting, including how to:

  • Select podcasts that align with your vision. 
  • Find the right tech for a flawless audio (and video) presence. 
  • Craft compelling narratives that captivate audiences. 
  • Measure the exposure and reach of your show appearance.  

And for the visionary CMOs out there, we’ve got something special—as a B2B podcast production expert, Rachel shares exclusive insights into starting and hosting your own podcast, tailored for the B2B space.  

Ready for the mic? Tune in now!  

What You’ll Learn 

  • How to decide which shows to be on 
  • How to rock the show interview 
  • Post-show promotion and measurement  
  • and… Bonus: Podcast production tips!

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 375 on YouTube 

Resources Mentioned 


  • [3:40] Pre-show: Is this the right show for me?  
  • [7:48] Tech for podcast guests: Mics, lighting   
  • [13:13] Show Prep: Getting your story straight 
  • [19:07] It’s show time! Top tips + common mistakes 
  • [22:21] When a question stumps you 
  • [24:16] Likes, ums, you knows, and ahs! 
  • [26:32] Be mindful of background noise 
  • [30:02] How to be a great podcast HOST 
  • [32:24] The 3 reasons to start a podcast 
  • [37:59] Working with a pod production firm 
  • [39:51] Release day: Share, share, share! 
  • [41:48] Measuring success as a guest 
  • [43:51] Audience Qs: Production value, cadence, backgrounds  
  • [48:20] Words of wisdom: Up your podcast game!

Highlighted Quotes  

“A great guest is a selfish guest. You want to make sure that the shows that you choose to be on put you in the best light.” –Rachel Downey, Founder & CEO of Share Your Genius 

Think about the stories that you can tell, as opposed to the advice that you can give.” –Rachel Downey, Founder & CEO of Share Your Genius

“The number one thing to be great at podcasting—I would hang my entire career on this: Be Present.” –Rachel Downey, Founder & CEO of Share Your Genius

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Rachel Downey


Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m excited that you’re here to listen to another episode of Renegade Marketers Unite. And if this is your first time listening then welcome. This show is brought to you by CMO Huddles, the only marketing community dedicated to inspiring B2B greatness. And that has a logo featuring penguins. Wait, what? Yeah, well, a group of these curious, adaptable and problem-solving birds is called the Huddle. And the B2B marketers and CMO Huddles are all that and more, huddling together to heat up the coldest job in the C suite. And now that CMO Huddles has three membership tiers, we’re ready to inspire B2B Greatness at all levels. To learn more, check out Now before we get to the episode, here’s a shout out to the professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with them over a year ago to make this show even better and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers! Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite the top-rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing-obsessed individuals.

You’re about to listen to a recording of CMO Huddles studio, our live show featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles, a community that sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness every day of the week. The expert at this particular Huddle was Rachel Downey, founder and CEO of Share Your Genius. She joined us to delve into the intricacies of being a standout podcast guest. Let’s get to it. So most CMOs have the opportunity to be guests on podcasts and many do a good job representing themselves in their companies. The question that our special guests and I will be talking about today is how you can consistently be a great guest, one that is invited back over and over again. And one that helps you establish your personal brand, your distinct voice in the marketing universe, and most likely help your company get the exposure, which is part of the reason that you are on the podcast in the first place. And with that, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Rachel Downey. Rachel is the founder of Share Your Genius, a podcast production company. But with them, it’s never just a podcast. That’s just where it starts. They exist to create meaningful connections tell stories worth sharing and build community. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Rachel and her team over the last year as they’ve become the producers of Renegade Marketers Unite. So with that, hello, Rachel, how are you? And where are you this fine day? 

Rachel: Hey Drew, thanks. I am in a suburb outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

Drew: Atlanta, Georgia. Alright. So in our prep session, we talked about sort of breaking this into three parts, the pre-show, during-show, and post-show, since all those stages are an opportunity to sort of elevate you above others. So let’s start with the pre-show. How can CMOs evaluate what shows to be on or to avoid?

Rachel: So I like to say a great guest is a selfish guest. And what I mean by that is you want to make sure that the shows that you’re choosing to be on put you in the best light. And a way to evaluate that is actually to push back and ask more questions from the people who are asking you to be on. And that’s a good way for you to know how serious they take the production quality of their show, and how much homework and research did they do before just asking you to come on the show. So that’s kind of a rule of thumb.

Drew: Let me just catch folks up on that notion alone. As a podcast host, I have a tendency to sort of do a prep call and then we do an outline of what the general points to talk about. But as a guest, I am often given really like, hey, here are four generic questions that I’m going to ask you. And that’s the moment where I have to decide, “Do I rewrite the questions? Is this my problem or their problem?”

Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. The other thing to think about too is how do I evaluate if it’s the right show for me outside of like, just the content and the audience and understanding why they asked you on, you can actually look to see how large their audience is and I would not say if they have a large audience, you obviously should go on it. And if you have a small audience, it doesn’t mean you obviously shouldn’t go on it. But there are tools that you can kind of use to identify the clout that the show carries. You can use tools like Listen Notes. I know Drew that’s one you look at but I also look at Podchaser. There’s a paid version of Podchaser, but it gives you some insights into how large the audience is. The other thing that I would do is I would evaluate the company’s LinkedIn presence as well as the host just to get you an idea of what kind of thought leadership they’re already executing on so that they’re taking your time more seriously.

Drew: And just to add to that, so yes, I do use Listen Notes. So for reference, Renegade, Marketers Unite, according to Listen Notes is in the top two and a half percent of the world, which is good, but not killer, it’s good. But if I see a show that isn’t in the top 10%, I have to have another reason to do it. That means they’re reaching less than 100 people a month kind of thing. I mean, the numbers fall off really fast. So is there a line there? Where we can say don’t bother?

Rachel: I think your point is a good 100 or less, I think. The only other way I would evaluate that is I would say if it were a speaking engagement, and I was able to sit in front of a room of X amount of people, what would that number need to be to make sure that it’s worth my time. For some people, it could be 15 people. So it really comes down to how you’re thinking about it. The other way to think about it. And this goes more into like post-production and stuff like that, which I know we’re gonna get into here in a little bit. But I would be thinking, how can I use this content as part of my own thought leadership? How can my brand be using this content? What else are they going to be creating from it? So those are some of the other things I would be evaluating is like the content flywheel effect that comes from me creating this content in partnership with this host.

Drew: Right? Because there are some hosts who I would say are not, I’m gonna call them not a-list hosts, but man, do they have big followings and big social presence and they can be worth from that standpoint, if reach against a certain audience. Now, I can’t help but notice that you have a wonderful microphone, you sound fantastic, your lighting is terrific. We had a little conversation about that. And it’s funny, I wanted to mention that. So Douglas Burnett, who does the Marketing Book Podcast, which I love that show, and I had the privilege of being on it. And he sends his guests his sound requirements, and basically says, “If you don’t use this headset, I’ll send you one for free.”. Now I did a test of this versus my headset. And this setup was much better. But nonetheless, I’m wondering, for the CMOs in this audience, what is a minimal standard of acceptance in your mind for tech?

Rachel: I have to say one thing, and then I promise I will answer that question. But I think it comes down to how important is it for yourself, how important is your personal brand and how you show up, like how much of that matters, because it is a personal standard on some level. The other thing I would say is like as a CMO, as a leader, I would at least invest in high quality mic and a high-quality mic could be a Yeti. I have my feelings about Yeti, but you could just use a Yeti, this is a Shure, I’m happy to share that. But I would invest in a high-quality mic at a minimum, because not only will it help you show up better when you get asked to go on other shows and things like that. But it actually helps create some type of gravitas even in like meetings with your team, just show some intentionality. And I think that shows credibility as well.

Drew: I think the main point that I want to make sure, and I’ve said this to Huddlers before is, first of all, wireless headset, no way. Don’t even think about that. Two, why not get a good mic? Why not, you’re gonna be on stage, you’re gonna be on videos, and why not get a decent mic, I have recommendations like 300 – $400 for a setup like this, or what you have, you’re going to do this, why not invest in sound as good as you can. We didn’t talk about lighting. That’s kind of important if there’s going to be video.

Rachel: If there’s gonna be a video and I think that’s part of the qualification of before I go on a show, I need to make sure that I’m going to look and sound my best. So I need to know if you’re planning on using video. Some shows aren’t using the video version of the podcast. And so it’s important for you to know that so that you show up in the way that you want to. From a lighting perspective, it really comes down to how was my office setup do I need additional lighting so people can see my face because if you create something that’s like dark and you make people think then they’re not going to be listening to what you have to say. And so I always make sure that you check your lighting beforehand, but first verify there’s going to be video. And the other thing with the mic before we totally move on is like you just need to know how to use it because you can see people spend $300 on a mic, $800 on a mic and they don’t know how to use it and then you also don’t look great. So just make sure that whatever you buy, you also know how to set up and use properly before you do your first recording.

Drew: For the Huddlers present, I will send out to you what’s on my sort of tested and recommended list. For folks that listen to this later, we’ll probably have that on, in our resource library. So, okay, ring has become sort of default as Oh, well, you got to get a ring light. Well, don’t get ring light. If you have glasses.

Rachel: I think the ring is temperamental. If you have glasses, it definitely reflects, you have to position it correctly. It’s just one more thing you have to think about. I know you were just telling me about this cool LED lamp that you have, I think I would love to check that out personally. So if you could share that amazing, but the ring light also hurts my eyes. So it can be distracting. So basically, you want to get the simplest tech setup, or equipment setup that you possibly can, so you don’t have to think so much. And it’s really as simple as your lighting in your room might be completely fine. Just get on a video screen. Look at how you look, ask somebody’s opinion and call it a day.

Drew: Right? But if your face is orange, or blue, or purple and not your normal skin color, you’ve got a problem. That’s your first litmus test. Okay, so we’re still not quite on the show. Are there other things that you recommend that guests on the show, particularly CMOs, do to prepare?

Rachel: So, I think number one is making sure that you know why they’ve asked you to come on the show. And if they don’t know, you need to push back and be like, well, who’s your audience? Let’s figure out why you’re asking me on so that I can be the most beneficial I can for the audience. And then again, like I said, be a selfish guest and make sure you know who you’re going to serve, and do it well. So that’s the thing that I would do. One of the things that we joke a lot about even Drew we’ve talked about is like, you get two types of hosts, one that will tell you, I just want you on because of your title or your name, right? The other is they’re going to give you 400 questions, and expect you to sort of be prepared for them, I would never do that I would never prepare to that depth. And then the sort of the sweet spot is somebody giving you a general theme or idea with a couple of goals. Like what are the goals of the conversation between us, I would be pushing back on the people reaching out to me to give me that information, like what is your goal of me coming on the show, what’s sort of a theme or a topic that I can land in. And then once you have that information, and Drew, you can cut me off anytime, I promise. But once you have that information, then think about the stories that you can tell, as opposed to the advice that you can give.

Drew: And I love that. And thank you both for the pause moment because one of my pet peeves is and this happened on one show one time and several 100 recordings, where I had to tell the guest, we’re going to stop the recording now and we’re going to start this show over because they spoke for seven minutes without pausing. And the thing about podcasts that are different than videos, not that it’s ever a good idea to speak for seven minutes without taking a breath. But someone’s working out, someone’s walking, they’re doing something else. And the host’s job is to help people hear and process things when they’re only partially paying attention. And so you’re continuing with the thing, you pause there and said, “Hey, Drew, you can cut me off,” which was a signal to me, I could have I didn’t need you, you hadn’t gone on too long. The second point that you just made is about stories. And let’s talk a little bit about the difference between advice and opinion and stories. Give an example,  tell a story.  

Rachel: Yeah, there we go. Um, I’m about to just eat my own words. But the simplest way you could think about it is stories are illustrative. And you can draw from actual examples of things. And so I always think if somebody gives me a topic that I can hone in on in a goal, I’m gonna think so I always think if somebody gives me a topic that I can hone in on in a goal, I’m gonna think about a time when I experienced that personally, or that I can draw even analogies from to help people understand the concept that I’m trying to communicate, as opposed to saying things like, don’t do this, do this instead, like you really do want to give an example. So Drew, you did a really good job just now, you gave a story of you saying I had to to stop my guest, I had to ask them to start over, then you’ve illustrated it further by showcasing me that is actually a story. And it’s very, very simple. It’s not like once upon a time this happened, it’s very much illustrative.   

Drew: So keeping with this conversation about preparation, over preparation, it’s funny, I want to see all the questions, I’d be very happy to see them all. And I actually go through the process of writing out answers. However, when CMOs on the show have done that if I’ve actually gone that far, it’s been a real problem because they have actually read their answers. And that doesn’t make for a good show. I can sort of have my notes up there. And I can be spontaneous, but I’m not going to read it. And so talk a little bit about this fine line of being prepared, knowing what your talking points are, but not reading answers.  

Rachel: I think there’s two things. One is you’re likely to get nervous a little bit. Even if you’ve done it 100 times you’re still a little bit nervous. And so I always challenge people like right before you get on the mic or right before you get on camera. Go like somewhere else. So step outside for five minutes, go stand in the mirror and do a Superman pose like whenever asked to do to mentally prepare yourself for the conversation so that you can actually be present and not all wrapped up in your head with what all you prepared. The second thing is, and this goes back to just being a good host, a great host really shouldn’t give you all of those questions in so much in advance that you have the time to scripted out verbatim. Just avoid doing that, because you don’t want people coming on and defaulting to I’m nervous. I’m just going to read what I wrote. Because that feels great. You’re you didn’t do that, to me. It’s all about having a conversation. And if you’re having a conversation, as opposed to an interview, you’re not going to script your answers, because you can’t have a conversation that’s pre scripted.  

Drew: So there’s two things happening at the same time in the podcast that a good host is listening to what you are saying. And the reason I actually have a full length of questions is, if I’m so lost in what we talked about, I need a way to come back. So that I have this there, but it’s just a way of facilitating this conversation. Okay, so we’re preparing by getting our story straight, we haven’t talked track, it’s not about getting through all the things that you want to say it’s about being in that moment and saying something pithy, that will capture the imagination of the listener, and they go, Aha, I got it, I can do that. I’ll take something. There’s one other thing if you have a challenging name, and this has happened any number of times with guests and me as well, because people often mispronounced my last name, have a pneumonic to make it easy for them, like nicer and wiser. And I tell them that you don’t have that problem. Rachel, most people know how to pronounce Rachel Downey. But is there anything else and in terms of if your name is challenging, I mean, I know that some folks put out phonetic spelling for their host, but don’t assume they’re gonna get it right.  

Rachel: I wouldn’t say don’t assume they’re gonna get it right. But again, like, you have to be a selfish guest. And what I mean by that is if you’re being intentional about the shows that you’re choosing to go on, and by the way, some shows can be practice shows where you’re like, okay, the downloads aren’t great, but I’m going on there, because this is my opportunity to practice. But you have to be really clear on the stories that make sense for you, that you can always draw from, and then sort of like your cants, and can dues. And so for example, like, sometimes you’re representing brands, and there’s things that you can’t talk about, there’s things that you don’t want to talk about, make sure you know those in advance, so that again, you’re taking care of yourself, so that it helps everyone else in the long run. And part of that should be things like my name, my company, if there’s other things I want to promote, like a side hustle or a nonprofit I’m really passionate about, make sure you’re intentional about having your own kind of media kit ready to go so that you can reference it, or you can actually send it to their production team or the brand. I would love things like that from guests like we would love that because it helps us just set you up to be successful.  

Drew: Okay, we’ve talked about prep, we’re ready. We know the stories, we’re going to tell we have the right equipment, we’re ready to shine, we’ve done our power pose to hit, and it’s showtime. I appreciate when guests arrive early like you did. So we can have a little chit chat. And so it looks like we’ve known each other forever, because we’ve already had a lot of conversation. What else can CMOs do to make sure they get started?

Rachel: Well, so the number one thing to be great at podcasting, the number one thing and I would like paying my entire career on this is be present, just straight up, be present. Because most human beings, when we’re just having conversation, and we’re fully present, it’s great. It’s engaging. We are connecting, we create synergy corporate jargon word for you there. But there’s so many things that happen when you can just be present. So that would be like number one.  

Drew: And by the way, it’s great advice. And I’m thinking about there was a brief moment in my life where I thought I would dip out of advertising and become an actor, it didn’t really work out because I wasn’t good at it. But there was one lesson that I took away and at least from the Meisner method, which was acting as listening and responding, and that’s what you’re talking about, be present. You’re listening to what they’re talking about, and you’re responding in the moment. Okay, let’s go through some common mistakes that you see guests making on your show or on other shows that you all produce. And you know, I’ve already mentioned my pet peeve, which is not being pithy, but what are your common mistakes that you see?  

Rachel: And I appreciate that that’s a pet peeve of yours, but not everyone is gifted with the pith. Not everyone is able to have those witty little sound bites. So because of that, I would say, make sure that you finish your thoughts and finish your sentences. And the reason that I’m saying that and Drew said it earlier is, like podcasting is a medium that’s designed to be on the go it’s designed to not be something that people stare at a screen to consume and engage with. And so what you have to be able to do is like even if you feel yourself going off course you can say, let me say like this, let me finish my thought because sometimes you have to externally process to get to a spot or you can land a plane. And so if you know that about yourself, just embrace it and be cognizant of did I actually finish that thought? The other pitfall that’s happening there is that you’re CMO, you’re coming onto somebody’s show, because you’re an expert on a very specific thing, topic, whatever. And so because you’re experts often talking to other experts, people stop, they say, like, forget to finish the sentence, because they already assume it, because they’re in conversation with somebody that is also an expert. That’s where you have to check yourself and make sure that you’re finishing the sentence, because you can’t go fix that and post more than often you have to end up cutting it.  

Drew: Yeah, it’s such a great point. And I tell you, because I look at the transcripts of a lot of both of some of the CMO Huddles conversations, which are a bit different, but also the transcripts of our episodes, and I will find that where it’s like, Wait, that sentence didn’t quite end there. And again, part of it is the host job to say, You know what, let’s rerecord that. And that’s something you can always do, right? You can say to the host, and that’s the beauty of podcasting versus doing a live show. You can say, Hey, do you mind ask me that question again, so we can rerecord? 

Rachel: Well, that and like Drew to your point, like the host job should also be keeping the audience in mind the host should be thinking about the entire time. And so if they hear you not finish a sentence or not laying the plan, if you will, they should actually do it for you, and be like, This is what I heard you say is that right? And then typically, that will spark you to kind of go, okay, that’s what I meant, and like finish exporting your thought. And by the way, I hate to keep bleeding going back, but it all builds upon each other as part of your own, like preparation of how can I become a great guest putting together your own type of media kit that you can use as reference or share. Part of that is knowing like your zone of genius, some people are amazing at improv, and it’s like, the less that I can be prepared, the better I’m going to be some actually like Drew need to write out all their answers so that they feel fully prepared. So knowing how you prepare best and show up best actually will help you become a better guest on the show, because you know what you need to be successful.  

Drew: I love that advice, your zone of genius, your superpower. And that comes back to part of the exercise here before you do if you haven’t done a lot, thinking about your personal brand or your brand personality, what shows would be a good match for it. And the stories you want to tell that will reinforce that. And again, this can be for the company or it can be for you as an individual and or both. Okay? So there are times where we don’t get enough sleep. And someone asks a question that stumps you for a moment and you need to think about a good answer. What’s a good way to buy time?

Rachel: Okay, I have so many thoughts on this. I will condense it to two though. Number one: silence is okay. And we live in a space where we feel like we have to just keep a movin’. Actually, it’s okay for you to be quiet, and really collect your thoughts to make sure that it’s what you want to say. And also producers love silence, because we can actually like use it. So silence is golden. The other way to collect your thoughts is restate the question back to the host to make sure you heard it right. More often than not, it gives that host an opportunity to give you more context clues. But it also gives you an opportunity to go. Okay, I gotta catch up with my brain and my mouth.

Drew: Well, let’s talk about one other thing that I hear a lot, which is? That’s a good question. It’s not the same as saying. Let me repeat the question back to you. Right. There’s a difference between that. Can you talk about that? Just comment?

Rachel: Well, it might be a good question that way. And that’s okay. This leads into something you’re not asking. And I promise I will lean into more of what you’re asking as well. But the other thing that I think we do when we’re doing conversation is we audibly affirm people, as opposed to just moving into what they’ve asked. And so I would also encourage you guys, like don’t feel pressure to acknowledge what somebody just said, like, that’s a good question or great thought, like, you don’t actually have to do that. And it’s part of that idea of like, silence is golden, and you can lean into it and respect it. The other thing is like saying, that’s a good question. If that’s a mannerism for you to buy time, there’s no reason you can’t use it. I would not avoid using it. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, I guess.

Drew: So what about like your nose? Arms? And we’re all guilty of that? Should we worry about that? Should we practice getting rid of those?  

Rachel: Here’s the take on that. And I used to be the one editing the podcast, okay, back in the day, I used to do editing myself. And so what would drive me crazy as people who just say ‘uh’ every other word, that is not what we’re talking about. There are some people who do need to practice because they say every other word, or they have little mannerisms like, you know, or right. But it’s so much that it becomes a distraction, and then an editor has to go through it cut it all, but in general speaking, no, it’s completely fine for you to say I say like all the time. I mean, when I hear For myself back, I hate it. But I say like all the time, that’s just the way that I speak. So don’t feel like you can’t not do that. I don’t know if that’s correct grammar, you are allowed to be yourself authentically yourself. The only time that we actually advocate for cutting it is when it becomes distracting. But most of the time we keep it because it’s part of people’s natural, authentic rhythm of how they speak. And that’s what we want to capture as people with as who they are not what we think they should be.

Drew: Yeah, I’m remembering a drill that I did way back in the day J. Walter Thompson presenting class. And every time you used a non word, they would clap. And eventually, you really would stop doing it, because it was so annoying, but it is something that if you want it to address it, and really, you mentioned you don’t like hearing it when you say that word, and only to get rid of that is work. And you have to decide do you want to get to that level? It is work. And there I am just using an Ah. Okay.

Rachel: Can I say something though, on that too? You all are CMOs, you’re not like junior people who are learning how to speak in front of audiences for the very first time, you know what I mean? So you just own the fact that you have the experience, to have the presence and the executive communication skills to be successful. If you have a gap, go on podcast to practice, because it is so forgiving of a medium, go do that. It’ll help you highlight those opportunities to improve your little mannerisms. But outside of that, just be you and don’t get in your head about oh, my gosh, I said, ‘um’ like 10 times. It’s fine. It’s fine.

Drew: There you have it. Okay, are there any other common mistakes that we should cover in terms of when you are being a guest on a show?  

Rachel: During the recording specifically? Yes. Okay. I would say just be respectful of the fact that everyone is putting time as an investment into the conversation. So turn off your stuff, if your host doesn’t tell you to do that, please be the one to do that. The other thing is, and this is something people don’t think a lot about is, if you notice, I use my hands a lot when I talk, that’s just what I do, I guess. But I intentionally move myself away from my desk so that I’m not banging on it accidentally. And I’m not wearing like jewelry, because all of that stuff you can pick up and it you can’t cut that you cannot cut that noise. So be cognizant of the way that you show up in terms of your accessories, and your own mannerisms. So those are like little things for you to be thinking about as well.

Drew: It’s so easy. And we have a checklist as a host that reminds folks turn off their phones to turn off chat, particularly that email sound if you’re doing it, it’s just terrible. And you’re right, it’s hard to get. Okay, so not just question come up about hands. And since I am a person who uses hands all the time, obviously, we’re talking about recording video here at this point, we’re not talking about audio. So let’s talk about the use of hands.  

Rachel: Well, that also goes back to you being successful. So I would want to know if this is an audio first production. Or if it’s video first with some audio that they’re ripping out as a podcast, right, I would want to understand that. I don’t think you need to worry about minimizing hand movements I really don’t like, don’t get in your head about it. Like truly just be yourself. The only time you want to minimize hand movements is if you’re wearing jewelry. And it’s like all of a sudden you got like a band playing in the background while you’re speaking. Now. I’m like in my head about thinking like Talladega Nights, you know what I mean? Like, what do I do with my hands? Just be yourself. Seriously, the best way to be successful as a guest is to be present, be prepared and be you they wanted you on the show because of who you are. Don’t get in your head about things like that.

Drew: So, respectful is a good word. Again, if you want to know what annoys a host having a phone go off hearing an email come off. And obviously there are emergency things, but most of these, you blocked out an hour for the recording of it and you’ve done it. One last thing I want to say I’ve noticed that some guests will say well Drew baba, baba, baba bah. And they’ll do it multiple times. And I’ve heard some advice about it’s a good idea to acknowledge the name of the host. What do you think?

Rachel: Well, Drew, I think that in a normal conversation, you say people’s names. And so I’m just going to continually anchor everything that I’m saying to you back on, what would you normally do? If you would normally say Drew in the middle of a conversation and answer the question that way, please say Drew, if you wouldn’t, and that would feel like you’re forcing yourself to do something because it feels like a best practice. Don’t do that. I cannot stand the best practices and people just rip them like a playbook. Best practices exist, but they might not be the right practice for you. Well,  

Drew: Well, Rachel, I think that’s very good advice. And it’s funny. I think part of it for me is Oh my God, my phone is ringing off the hook, but you didn’t hear it on the show. Did you know because I have my phone on silent. Okay, so I have a tendency to not remember names. So I have to if I’m gonna acknowledge it, I put a big sign says Rachel. So if you want to do that, give yourself some hints to do it. Okay, let’s flip this switch here a little bit. And let’s talk about a number of Huddles, our podcast hosts, what can they do to make sure that their guests shine on their show? 

Rachel: Well, I think the number one thing, just like you probably did, when you decided to launch the show is you knew why you knew why you were launching a show you had a specific outcome to it, you need to have the same methodology and thinking as to why you’re having the guests on your show. We are content first production company like that’s how we think content first. And so what that means is, I’m not saying that, I’m telling you that so that you do this too. So what this means is like, plan out the topics, or the themes, or the goals based on the audience that you’re going to have on, and then that’s going to help you set your guests up to be like, way better for you. And the other thing is leaning into that conversation, we had the very top, encourage them to come to the table with actual stories. And to your point, like, oftentimes, what we default to is advice giving instead of anecdote giving, so make sure that you explain that to your guests so that they’re successful for you.

Drew: Yeah, as you talk about that I think about as you’re prepping for this thing, and let’s say you have, there are 10 things that you think you might want to share on the show, you can attach a story to each of those. And if you can’t attach a story to it, it’s probably not that good a thought. So that’s one on the guest side. And then in the host side, you reminding me a lot of how the host can prepare. And I keep thinking about that we could do a better job even there is why are we doing this show why we want you to look good on this show how you can look good in the show, and enjoy. And it’s funny again, Douglas fir dead is really good at that. He tells a joke in the sort of the prep call, and he’s constantly keeping it light. But he does prepare for how the thing is going in. And by the way, another way to prepare is either a host or a guest is to listen to that show. It’s a minimum. Yeah, it’s kind of obvious. But if you are having a guest that has been on multiple shows, I like to listen to the other shows, too. Because that way, I know what questions have already been asked, and what’s good stories in those. So there’s some of that I’ll want to plumb and others. I’ll try to find some new ground. But I have to laugh. I’m going back to something. When you say you had a good reason, when you started the show, I had no idea why we were doing a podcast, I knew I was already recording interviews. And podcasts is just started to get going. And I thought well, is there a way that I could do a podcast and still record these interviews to get the written stories, which was my main focus. And I have to tell you, I recorded 30 different interviews before we launched the show to pick five that I thought were good enough before. And ultimately, a lot of good things came out of doing the show and one was just all the learning that came and having the audio record of that was just so helpful. So but I didn’t have a reason at the very beginning, that was crystal clear. Now, there’s probably five good reasons why we produce the podcast.

Rachel: There are two things I want to pull react to if I can. One is the guest experience is the brand experience. So if you’re a host, and you are not intentional about your guest experience, then you’re not intentional about your brand experience. And I don’t believe that to be true. So make sure those two match up. The other thing I would say is there’s a million reasons you can start a podcast, I’ve distilled it into three outcomes, and you can steal them if you want, there are three outcomes that you typically are attaching the success of a podcast to one would be engaging and adding value to an existing audience. The other one could be I want to build relationships using my podcast as part of an ABM strategy are what my customers are blah, blah, blah, blah. The third reason is I need to use this content to compete for brands like logos and talent. If you just pick one of those three, your entire strategy will support that. And there are other reasons that you want to do it. I’m not doubting that by any means. But those are one of three outcomes. If you just pick one of those, you’ll be great. Let’s go

Drew: Lets go through them one at a time. Let’s start with the first one. So tell me what let’s go through them one at a time.

Rachel: So number one, you’re doing a podcast because you want it to support obviously brand awareness efforts. It’s all for brand, by the way, all podcasts activities for brand, but I’m going to attach a specific outcome to it one of those being I need to add value and engage an existing audience.

Drew: Okay, so it’s an awareness play for you as an individual and to say as a solopreneur for your company as a representative of your company. Okay, number one, number two.

Rachel: Number two, I am doing a show where I’m going on shows under the guise of guest experience because I want to build relationships. I want to tap into larger networks. I want to actually talk to these people who are hosting these shows or who maybe are a part of an ABM strategy, if I’m the host? Like, I want to use this to build relationships.

Drew: Thank you for that one. And I’m so glad we went back through these because that’s the hidden gem here is, in some ways a podcast could be your ABM strategy. There might be 100 people that you want to engage your company wants to engage at a very high executive level, well, there is nothing more flattering than say, Hey, come on, and be on our show. And tell us how great you are and how wonderful your company is, and all the wonderful things that you’ve learned along the way. Next thing you know, you’ve made a really good friend with this individual and you’ve gotten in in a way that a salesperson could never get in. So that’s number two, and a great reason to have a podcast. Okay, what’s number three?

Rachel: Number three is competing for brands and talent. The thing that podcasting does that I think is one of the most amazing things about podcasting is that it is the only channel right now that allows you to compete with the largest media brands out there. This is the only time by the way that you can do that. And so for me, I’m like, if you create an amazing show that has an amazing guest experience, you can literally have people that come on your show that you never would have had access to otherwise. And it builds so much credibility for you and your brand. And for people who might want to work at your brand, I can immediately associates you with that. On the talent side, I could go down a rabbit hole, but at the highest level, that’s what that does. And then the last thing I’ll say, by the way, just to tie a little bow on what you were saying too on the number two point, that’s a way for you to evaluate whether you go on a show, do I want to build a relationship with this brand? And this host? If you say no, do not do it? If you say yeah, I want to be associated with that brand or that host, then you should definitely do it.

Drew: And I have to say it’s funny, I’m thinking specifically chip Rogers, who his company is in partner, and he has a show where he interviews partners, and it’s been almost hit all three of the things that you’re talking about. So that question that drew me for a loop and allowed me to lose my train of thought was this one because I had to think for a second. The question was, as a podcast host, what are some of the best practices for not talking over your guest, and I was thinking that maybe I was talking over the guest.

Rachel: Know that you know what the easiest thing to do this is the easiest thing you can do is mute yourself, mute yourself after you’ve asked the question, because it will create the space for the guests to just speak. It’ll also create space for you to think before you open your mouth.

Drew: Right. And so another trick that I try, because I’m hoping I don’t talk over my guests, it’s probably something I am now going to be very self conscious about. So thank you for asking that question. I write a little note, one little note on the side on a piece of paper that allows me to pause and continue to listen and not talk over them. I think I hope. Okay, second question. If I wanted to start a podcast and work with a firm like yours to help manage or produce the podcast, what do I need to know and have ready to work successfully with a podcast production firm?

Rachel: Yeah, that’s a great question. The easiest answer is your outcome. Why are you doing it? If you know why you’re doing it, you should be able to find the right partner no problem. The other thing that you’re going to want to establish or at least know is what are you kind of willing to do versus what you need them to do? Loosely? Meaning they’re going to help you craft what those steps really look like. But that’s the critical thing. 

Drew:  Just to give you a sense of a little background on this question, this was before we actually started working with Rachel, we actually outlined 36 steps that go into producing a podcast. And I just want to make that really clear, there’s a lot from beginning to end from booking a guest to preparing the guest to making sure that you have the right technology to support you to following up with the guest. It’s just a lot. And so prepare yourself, if you’re going to go into this and be in it is commit to a certain number of episodes, you may have an opinion on that, commit to trying to record a bunch of them before you actually release one so that you know that you can do this well. And so that’s all I would add to that conversation. To those resonate.

Rachel: They resonate with me, I mean, I would tell you to steal my process, strategy development production review. And the reason I’m saying that is spend the time on the strategy. And then development means create a pilot, like create one so that you know what it’s going to sound like what it’s going to take and then roll yourself into that ongoing production like drew what you were talking about, like get several before you go to launch, and then review is just making sure you understand metrics and how it’s performing and all that good stuff.

Drew: Okay, so the show has been recorded. You did a great job. You brought good energy to hold great stories. You were pithy, you were engaged, you’re listening to the questions and in that moment, now the show was about to be released or it is released, what can CMO do at that point,

Rachel: they can share it, the number one way to grow podcast is still through word of mouth. And you should feel confident and excited to share the show that you were on. If it makes sense, I would encourage you, especially if there’s a thought leadership strategy supporting you as a CMO, or if you’re going on to talk about some stuff going on with company, have your brand share it as well, Drew, I think I know you probably have a good story. But I know that when guests share, we see spikes across our clients. The other thing I would say that would make you the best guest ever, is if you have distribution channels, or you run a community or you do anything like that, and you’re willing to put that episode in one of those channels, your host would be forever grateful. And if you liked going on, they’ll probably come back.

Drew: Yeah, I have to say so I have two stories real quick. So maybe three, one, we automatically tell the guests when the show notes, we give them images, and we give them little recordings, and we give them social sharing cues, all this other good stuff. And we tell them clearly, the number one determinant of downloads is how much they share it. And another example, which we haven’t shared publicly is one guest on our show actually shared the link to their episode on their alumni channel. And the result of it was they got 10 times the normal literally something like 6000, which is a extraordinary number for any show these days, but particularly for Renegade Marketers Unite simply by sharing it with their alumni network, which you know, you wouldn’t think to do. But that was awesome. Okay, so we talked a little bit about downloads, and how do we measure success as a guest? What should one look at for that,

Rachel: As a guest, I’m going to say there’s going to be some anecdotal evidence. And that would be people adding you on LinkedIn, people engaging with you that maybe didn’t know of you before. And they’ll tell you where they came from. The other thing that you should do, if you think about it, and a good host will ask this. But if you have something like specific that you can promote, or connect to the launch of the show, be sure to mention that and do that. So that you can have some type of conversion event, if you will, that you can track. The other thing I know we do this with Drew, because we verified but great hosts also will give you like a smart link that allows you to track whether or not you’re sharing generated results or downloads for the host show that you’re on. So I would actually ask them, like, how did this perform? I would wait a little bit. But I would ask especially if you’re intentional about your time and how you’re spending it like you want to know if it was good or not?

Drew: Yes. So you can ask that’s part of the engagement. But before you ask, do something. That’s right, share it as broadly as you can, as you’re comfortable with. By the way, here’s an important part about podcasting, podcasts have a long shelf life, we’ll still get downloads from shows that were recorded three years ago. So don’t just do one time effort, you know, maybe it’s Throwback Thursday, Hey, just wanted to do a shout out to my friend Drew was on his show two years ago, really enjoyed it. Here’s the thing. One, Drew will say thank you, but to say I wonder if it’s time to get him back on the show to find out what they’re doing. And by the way, Douglas for Dad, again, I’m going back to him because he’s just marvel at getting the community to support him and his show and his episodes. And what he does is direct people on the show to go like that person or engage with that person on LinkedIn as immediate drive to action, a call to action. Okay, we have a couple other questions that we’ll try to get to. How do you get good production value video and audio for guests who just have a zoom setup? Who are non technical who have limited prep time? 

Rachel: Don’t be mad if I say what I want to say. 

Drew: Go for it. 

Rachel: Don’t use Zoom. There you go. We use Riverside and we’ve tested all of them. Riverside is great from a quality perspective and a consistency standpoint. So I would say that and then I think it comes down to you and like what you’re willing to take, what are you willing to accept. And you can also part of the guest experience can be sending them swag, which could be a microphone could be headset, all that kind of stuff. I know that costs money, and a lot of people don’t do that. But if it’s part of an ABM strategy, it’s well worth it from that standpoint, but it’s also well worth it if you highly value the quality production.

Drew: Yeah, I think by the way, though, wired headset that Douglas recommends is either 15 or 30 bucks. I have it on my list of stuff you can do so that alone will make a big difference. And you can talk to him about lighting. And we’ll talk about zoom later. Here’s another question. What’s the optimal cadence of podcast to build the right level of content engagement weekly, bi weekly, monthly. What do you think?

Rachel: Well, you already know what I said about best practices. So it’s okay. But I will say, if you’re looking to create a consistent audience and good content, I would say the minimum is two per month, you want to do like a two-per-month scenario, I always say that a season is 12 episodes. And that gives you six months of content. Or if you go weekly, that’s a quarters worth. I always say 12. And the industry is confused on what they think but because we’re content marketers first, I say 12 because it gives you so much runway for campaign building, and creating that content flywheel that so naturally comes from podcast production. Yeah,

Drew: Yeah and just so you know, for Renegade, Marketers Unite, we have been weekly, we decided we would be out every Friday. And then we added the Tuesday tips about three years ago on Rachel’s suggestion. And those little three or four-minute ones have really been amazing. And so think about also not just the long form, but how you might be able to over time, come up with a little companion piece. Because after a while, if you come out weekly, you can wear down your audience. So sometimes having those little things can help. Okay, question, is it better to have a professional Zoom background with a company logo on the podcasts are not have it? Let’s just start there?

Rachel: Well, I would say it’s better to look the most authentic you can. And so if you’re using a platform like Zoom, you have the opportunity to virtual background, I wouldn’t opt in for a virtual background. I think it looks a little inauthentic. Riverside, you don’t you can’t do that anyway. So it’s just about taking care of how you look around you and making sure you’re set up to be successful. And by the way, I’m so sorry, my dog is barking, and that’s annoying.

Drew: That’s okay, but it’s not coming through your mic. You don’t have a Yeti, you have a different type of mic, and it doesn’t pick up the sound just like mine wouldn’t if my dog barks, so good for you. Okay. So we’ve answered that question. What is the right type of posts when sharing a podcast, something like I was excited to join, so and so on this show, and thank you, nope. 

Rachel: It’s not because every single time you post about your podcast, it is noise that is lost, whether you’re a guest or a host, each podcast post that’s promoting content from that show should be standalone value-rich. And if they want more oh, by the way, you can go listen to my interview. So you have got to work on what is the story I told that my audience as a guest would want to hear. And then if they want to get more from me, they should listen to it. All it comes down to guys is planning and intentionality. And I know everyone is busy, I know that. But if you take the time to invest in those little pockets, you’ll be set up way more successful. And by the way, AI helps a lot with that stuff. So don’t just post Thank you, you can tag them, but make sure that it’s value standalone rich content.

Drew: By the way, speaking of AI, one of the things that you could do, it just occurred to me because I do this is if you’re bout to go do an interview with somebody, you go on chat GPT and say, write the questions that Rachel Downey would ask me for her show. And don’t give me answers just write the questions that she might ask in an interview about this. And the chances are you have at least a 50% match. And then if you really want to have fun and want to know what the generic answer to those questions is asked, yeah, TPT to answer those questions, because that’s your minimum bar, you got to do better than what they come back with. Okay, final words of wisdom for CMOs, who want to up their podcast game.

Rachel: Final words, I feel like I’m a broken record, plan and be present. And if you do those two things, you will be wildly successful. And planning, by the way could be 10 minutes, just take the time to take a beat and be present in the conversation.

Drew: Plan and be present to kill it on a podcast. It can’t get any simpler than that. All right. Well, Rachel, thank you so much for the show. I love the conversation. Boy, it made me think a lot about stuff. I also want to just make sure that people know how they can find you.

Rachel: LinkedIn is great. I’m pretty active there. So I throw my maiden name in there because there’s about a million Rachel Downey’s in the world. So Rachel Eltz. Downey is my full name and you can find me there. So Rachel ELSTS Downey on LinkedIn.

Drew: All right. And so I hope that a number of people both listening to this, and when ultimately this does become a podcast, we’ll find Rachel and of course, we’ll have a link to that in the show notes. All right. Thank you, Huddlers. For all your great questions. And until next time, peace out. 

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Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and our B2B podcast partners Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro Voice Over is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about B2B branding, CMO Huddles, or my CMO coaching service, check out I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!