The Winning Formula for Successful Podcasting

Can you imagine interviewing the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company without being afraid?

Today, we have Michael Krigsman. He’s a good friend and the person I consider to be the Larry King of interviewing executives, having run the CXO Talk Podcast and interviewed more than 800 business leaders.

What really impressed me about Michael is that he has such poise when interviewing. I have never seen anybody be able to produce podcasts at this level, and that’s because he’s so meticulous with his team and his processes, so there’s no one better to be able to learn from than Michael Krigsman.

Aside from that, if we just look at the people that he’s been interviewing, it’s the who’s who, and if we look at B2B marketing, there is no one who has a stronger podcast who knows how to bring on the right guests, how to extract the best thing, the best information, and be able to grow his brand not because he is talking about himself, but because he’s a really good listener.

So how do you make that happen?

Be very specific about your guest criteria.

There might be people who are great at what they do but be very specific on your guest criteria for your show and your brand. Don’t be afraid to say no to those who do not fit that filter.

Determine and focus on your business model, and in order to attract your first guest, begin by asking those you know.

Have your questions prepared the right way.

Begin with the guest.

The important thing is to recognize that when you interview somebody, it must be genuinely about them. It’s not about you. It’s not about you as the interviewer and showing all of your greatness. You have greatness, but it’s not the place.

And so that means researching the guest. What have they published? Have they written articles? Have they appeared on other podcasts? Have they been interviewed by the press? Have they released videos? Whatever you can get your hands on, immerse yourself in the guest and their world, and really, that’s the starting point.

What do you do when you have a list of questions, but then the guest engrosses you and you lose track and you forget what question you want to ask next? What do you do?

How do you balance between queuing up for the next question and trying to think ahead versus listening intently to what the guest is saying?

Deal with your guest the right way.

The most challenging guest

The hardest guests are the ones who think it’s about them. Now, from our point of view as the interviewer, yes, it’s about them, but really, it must be for the benefit of the audience that we are serving, and so when you interview folks who are walking-talking brochures and they just want to describe their personal greatness, “I’m great because I’ve done this and this,” without giving you advice or sharing insight into the challenges of how they went about doing it, or “My company does this, this, that, and the other,” that’s not very interesting. It’s pretty much useless for the audience.

It doesn’t matter who the guest is; if they approach it that way, it’s tough for you as an interviewer to deal with.

Interviewing an executive who has been coached by their public relations team to give sound bites and canned responses? How do you get them out of that zone into a more authentic, fun conversation?

They have a genuine need to be cautious in what they say because they don’t want to harm their stock price by saying the wrong thing.

So how do you get them to open up and be authentic?

So the first thing you should do is try to make the guest feel at ease by

  1. making them feel safe and that you have their back, and that you are not there to catch them off guard and force them to spill things they don’t want to spill.
  2. When somebody is really stuck on that PR talk track as you’re doing the interview, you need to be thinking about how you can ask the question in a different way—an unexpected way that doesn’t map to their preparation, which will then force them to think and be spontaneous in their creativity and their thinking.
  3. Develop a certain kind of empathy or intuition about where the guest’s comfort zone lies.

Because if you know that, you can push the boundaries of their comfort zone, and they’ll go there with you.

But if they get the feeling that you’re trying to trap them or that you have a hidden agenda, they’ll just close up tight.

How do you get the guests when you don’t have the connections?

How do you find people?

What happens when you have an a-hole on your podcast?

Prepare your audio and video setup accordingly.

A lot of people, because of social media, especially young adults, are saying that production quality is only 10% of it, and 90% of it is the content itself.

Learn to read metrics to know what’s going to be a hit.

So it always falls back on a few different things:

  1. What’s worked in the past? So when choosing topics, regularly go back and look at YouTube analytics to figure out what has been successful.

What’s had the most number of views?

But remember, views are only part of the equation, and what you really need to look at are the metrics like the average view duration.

For example, if 10,000 people watch a video, how much time do they actually spend watching it? Did they spend 30 seconds watching?

And so YouTube ranks it as a “view.” But did they spend 10 or 15 minutes watching?

2. Average View Duration

The second piece that you want to look at is the average view duration. What percentage of the viewers watched the full video? If a 45-minute video is watched by 10,000 people, how many of those 10,000 people sat there for the full video?

So be very meticulous in evaluating the success of your videos, and always try going back and figuring out what worked well in the past and identifying what may work in the future because making hits is a constant evolution of trying to figure it out and experimenting.

3. Completion time and average view time

Use of Different Outlets

Put clips on social media—Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and all others—but don’t think about this stuff in terms of a magic bullet or a magic formula.

You might think that there are some people who just know how to make hits, like the Beatles, but we are not the Beatles. So for us mere mortals, it’s best not to rely on flashes of genius.

Sometimes it’s best to rely on a process-driven strategy, and that means consistency in

  • How do we promote the videos?
  • The type of content creation
  • The types of graphics that we create
  • The editing and how we spent a long time with the first 20 seconds of every single video

Just figuring out how to do it and sticking to it is the winning formula.


What does it do for the brand, business, and sponsors? How do you look at that?

From a personal brand standpoint, it’s great. It establishes trust and credibility. A podcast is a way of establishing connections and credibility for you and your network and getting you out there. So it’s great for your social media presence, too.

For most people, the business model may not include the podcast, but the podcast is a tool to promote their brand and company while also assisting them in building a network, which in turn increases their authority.

So how would podcasting help your brand?

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.