No. 016 How to Apply the Principles of Guest Blogging to Grow Your Show

You already know that guest blogging can be effective as a strategy for building a blog audience. But did you realize you can apply the same principles for growing your podcast audience? We explain in this week’s new episode of The Showrunner.

We begin with a brief discussion about one of great perks of running a show: the opportunity your show’s platform provides for you to interview everyone from childhood heroes to people you look up to professionally. Jerod and Jonny have experienced both recently and share a few of their stories.

Then we dig into the meat of the episode, discussing the following ways that guest blogging principles can be applied to building a podcasting audience:

  • The importance of being a guest on other people’s shows, how to go about getting booked, and how to be a useful, engaging guest
  • Why you should jump at the chance to be a fill-in host on someone else’s show (if the rare opportunity ever comes your way)
  • The pros and cons of running a separate show for someone else in your niche — and who should actually consider doing so

We go into detail on each area of “guest podcasting,” and we hope you take away a few useful nuggets that you can apply to growing your show.

After our discussion, we answer a listener question. It’s from a member of the course — the great Phillippe Borremans, host of Wag the Dog. Phillippe asked us what URL is best to include in new show announcements: the link to the platform page or directly to iTunes?

Once we answer Phillippe’s question, we deliver our podcast recommendations:

  • Jerod: Shouldering the Burden of History with Dan Carlin and Sam Harris — an excellent example of pride and humility being well balanced in an passionate, opinionated, informed debate.
  • Jonny: Inspiring Innovation with Meron Bareket — Jonny helps yet another showrunner celebrate their 100th episode. 🙂

Listen, learn, enjoy …

No. 016 How to Apply the Principles of Guest Blogging to Grow Your Show

Jerod Morris: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at

Welcome to The Showrunner, where we have one goal: teach you how to develop, launch, and run a remarkable show. Ready?

Welcome back to The Showrunner. This is episode number 16. I’m your host, Jerod Morris, VP of Rainmaker.FM. I’m joined, as always, by my co-host Jonny Nastor, the host of Hack the Entrepreneur, who recently celebrated his 100th episode of Hack the Entrepreneur, which is extremely exciting. How’s it going, Jon?

Jonny Nastor: It’s going awesome. It’s funny because the same day, The Lede, your podcast came out with episode 101, and then it seems now weird to hear you say, “Welcome to episode 16.” We have so long to go, but it’s great. It’s awesome.

Jerod Morris: We have a long way to go. That’s why, in presentations, when I’ve talked about creating a remarkable podcast and the importance of sustainability and showing up over time, I always say, we hope that we’ve created some remarkable episodes of The Showrunner podcast. But it’s not a remarkable show yet. We’ve still got a long way to go, a lot of episodes to do. We hope that we’ll get there. Brick by brick, you just do it one episode at a time. That’s what we’re trying to do.

The Opportunity Your Show’s Platform Provides for You to Interview Everyone from Childhood Heroes to People You Look Up to Professionally

Jerod Morris: I wanted to share just a quick note, which I think is exciting and something I think you’ll be able to relate with. We talk a lot on here about how challenging running a podcast is, running a show is, and it’s true. We want to be upfront and be realistic about that with what people should expect.

But there’s also a reason why you do it. Some of those reasons are obvious, the direct and indirect profitability that can come from it, the business building that can come from it, the platform building that can come from a podcast. But, sometimes, you just get to do cool stuff. You get to interview cool people.

I know you’ve had this experience with Hack the Entrepreneur, and I’ve actually had it recently on a couple of my other podcasts, The Assembly Call and Podcast on the Brink, which are both shows about Indiana basketball — which I only do because I’m a huge fan. Next week, I’m actually getting to interview one of the best players in IU history, a guy I grew up watching, AJ Guyton.

This past week, I got to interview Jordan Hulls, who played at Indiana couple years ago. He’s played more games in IU uniform than anybody. Got to interview him. When I got done with it, I was like, “This is why sometimes when you don’t want to get in front of the microphone, you don’t want to put that next episode out, you get through those moments.” Because in addition to all the other benefits, sometimes you just get to do this really cool stuff that you wouldn’t have a way to do otherwise.

I just thought it would be good to share an anecdote or two about that. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, to overlook it when we get into that slog of putting out a new episode every week. I’m sure that’s something you can relate with.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah, definitely. Getting to, obviously, interview one of your heroes is really awesome. I was literally just saying this half an hour ago as my family was getting ready to go out for coffee and stuff while I recorded. I get to talk to Jerod Morris, and I was like, “I can’t believe I get to do this for a living. You guys are leaving. I’m just setting up my laptop and my microphone. Wow, this is really cool that I just get to do this. Talk into a microphone to a really cool, smart person and build an audience around it. A business comes out of it. It’s really, really cool.”

Actually, I just realized this now that you mentioned getting to interview your heroes. I get to interview Gary Vaynerchuk tomorrow afternoon.

Jerod Morris: Wow.

Jonny Nastor: I totally forgot about that. It was funny because he was actually supposed to be on my show in October, and it got cancelled that day. He’s a crazy-busy dude, of course. Then somebody else on Twitter, one of my listeners, was actually like, “Jon, for episode 100, you should have Gary Vaynerchuk on,” and tagged him in there. I was like, “Yeah, I know. He’ll get on the show one day.”

Gary, of course, jumps right on. He’s like, “Man, let’s do this,” and put his assistant into the Tweet. Then within 20 minutes, I had him scheduled for tomorrow to do it. I was like, “Oh man, this is awesome.” It’s super cool. It’s amazing. Even if it’s not one of my heroes, though, it’s a fun gig, I got to say.

Jerod Morris: It’s like last week, getting to interview Darren Rowse about his podcast coming up. Again, that’s why you work hard to build this platform. If there’s people that you really want to interview, they’re obviously going to be more likely to do it when you have a platform and you’ve built something that other people respect.

People that you respect are going to be more likely to come on with you. It’s one of those long-term, big-picture perks of running a show that can be easy to overlook sometimes — and even easy to forget. Sometimes we think, “Maybe, I don’t know if I should ask that person. Maybe they wouldn’t come on.”

Just ask. The worst that can happen is that they’ll say no. The best that can happen is you get to talk to someone that you really look up to. Like you said, could be one of your heroes from growing up, could be a business role model right now. There’s so many benefits for you and your audience if that happens.

Jonny Nastor: Totally. It’s crazy. I forgot about Darren Rowse already. That was so big to me. I was awestruck during it. Then, I got to interview both you and Demian for The Lede’s 101st episode, which I was also awestruck by. You were there. It was all in one week. To me, it’s almost a daily occurrence now that I can’t believe I get to talk to this person.

They’re not even all super big, famous names. That doesn’t even matter. It’s just I get to have really cool conversations. That’s a key, though, right? If you weren’t that engaged in these conversations, then it probably wouldn’t be an engaging show for your listener. Whether that’s big names or whether that’s just people you really like what they’re into, what they’re doing, or what they’ve done. I think you have to make sure to find those people that do engage you on that level so that you can have these exciting conversations.

That’s not all big famous people. It’s not all people with massive Twitter followings and stuff. Most of the time, they’re not those kinds of people. But you do have to make sure to be as excited still with all of the conversations if you are publishing them as a show. Otherwise, it’s hard to engage an audience if you’re not engaged. I’ve said that before, and I’ll say it again.

Jerod Morris: It’s very true. It’s good advice. Before we jump into the meat of today’s episode, a quick takeaway, call to action for you listening, would be this: write down on a piece of paper five people that you’d love to interview. Maybe they’re pie in the sky. You don’t really think you have a chance with him yet, but write them down. If you’re comfortable asking them, just ask them right now.

Just see what they say. Maybe your show’s not quite ready. Maybe you don’t quite have the confidence yet to do it, but maybe a month from now, six months from now, ask those people. I think you’ll be surprised probably that it’s easier to get them to come onto your show than you think. It’s such a rewarding experience when they do.

We just wanted to transfer some of that enthusiasm onto you. It’s been a whirlwind couple weeks for Jonny and I being able to interview some really, really cool people on all of our shows. We want you all to experience the very same thing.

All right, what do you say we hope into the meat of today’s show, Mr. Nastor?

Jonny Nastor: Let’s do it. I’m ready for this one. Let’s do it.

The Importance of Being a Guest on Other People’s Shows

Jerod Morris: We are going to talk about, today, applying the principles of guest blogging to podcasting. There are really three ways that you can do this. A couple of them are pretty obvious. One of them isn’t. The one that isn’t is something that I do. It’s something that I wrestled with a couple of months ago if I wanted to keep doing it. I want to share that story. I want to turn over to you, Jonny, just to provide an overview of what we mean when we say “applying the principles of guest blogging to podcasting.”

Jonny Nastor: What we mean is, being a guest on other people’s shows, that’s the platform. That’s the medium you’re pushing out to an audience from. Like you would with a blog and writing, when you guest blog on somebody else’s, you gain access to their audience. The fact that their audience likes them, knows them, and trusts them, you now get access to them. The person recommends you, so you instantly start off with way more of that know, like, and trustability behind you. Is ‘trustability’ a word? I think so. It is now. It is in Canada.

In podcasting, that would mean, you typically don’t get to just do a guest episode on somebody’s, but you can be a guest or you can co-host. There’s many things you can do to gain access to an audience that would be able to relate to you or would like, possibly, what you are providing. I don’t know if there’s a better way to get exposure, especially early on and then even later on, then to be a guest on other people’s shows. It’s interesting because you don’t have to be the guest on The Tim Ferriss Show or Marc Maron’s WTF.

Obviously, if you could, that would be big, but you’re probably the President of United States at this point to do that. Even on shows that don’t have massive audiences, if they have even a few listeners, those are people that are really into that show. To get into those people’s ears is a really, really, really big thing. It’s often an overlooked thing, I find, when people are trying to promote.

When people think of promoting their show, the first thing, it’s like, “Well, I could figure out a new Twitter strategy or a new Facebook strategy.” Sure, that all fits into your marketing plan, or it should. But once you can figure out the way to get onto other shows, you will definitely see growth way quicker and more effectively than you will in any other way that I know.

Jerod Morris: You’re right. It does seem to be overlooked. When we talk about blogging, I think we almost take it for granted. You’re starting a new blog, part of your launch strategy to really build your audience is going to be guest blogging. You need to go on other blogs that are in your niche, and you write an entire blog post. Maybe that’s where the disconnect is.

With podcasting, we’re not just going to let some guest podcaster come in here and do an episode of The Showrunner. Like on, for example, there may be a non-Copyblogger person who writes an entire article, so it’s a little bit different in that sense. But you’re right. It’s still the same principle of borrowing someone else’s audience, getting in front of them.

Hopefully, you say something that audience likes and appreciates. Then a small portion, or even a big portion, of that audience wants to find more. Maybe they follow you, they subscribe to you, or whatever. At least now they know about you. You get your name out there. What practical tips would you give to people who want to be on other people’s shows?

That they say, “Okay, I’ve got my show, I put 20 or so episodes out there. I’m ready to start building my audience. How do I get more people to find out more about my show? Okay, I’m going to go be a guest on other people’s shows.” Now how do you put out that vibe and let these other host know that you’re available to be a guest. Is that something that you want to be proactive about? What practical tips can you give folks for that?

How to Go About Getting Booked on Other People’s Shows

Jonny Nastor: I would be very, very proactive in it. But you have to do it right for it to work. First of all, move laterally within your marketplace. Meaning, if your show has 200 solid listeners, go to other shows that have 200 solid listeners. The biggest thing that I see the mistake is people, “I’m going to be a guest in other people’s shows,” reach out to Pat Flynn, reach out to John Lee Dumas, reach out to, again, Tim Ferris.

They try those shows, and they have a brand new show. They reach out to those three people, and those three people ignore them or just say no. Then they give up because, “Nobody wants me on their shows.” Well, no, the top three people don’t want you on their shows because you have to earn that right — you’re getting access to a massive audience that people have worked years and years to build.

But if you go to people who are at your same level and move laterally across the market in that way, you’ll find that people are way more willing to have you on, way more willing. One thing, because it’s hard to find guests sometimes when you’re starting, and psychologically, at least at the beginning, we get really excited when somebody’s like that. “They actually want to be on my show? That’s impressive. Of course you can be on my show.”

When you’re reaching out to people, too, you should do some research. Just Google it, ‘reaching out to people,’ ‘reaching out to big names.’ Even though you’re not reaching out to big names, figure out how to do this. Don’t make a giant long email. People don’t have time even in your marketplace. You have to do it right and do it cool.

When you reach out to them, say why you would be good for their show, not why it would be good for you. If you are going to do that, make sure you actually listen to their show at least once, and figure that out. Put some work into it. These are all things that aren’t really scalable, but at the beginning, you can really do this stuff.

There’s nothing I hate more than somebody reaching out to me and telling me they love my show and they listen to it all the time, and then they tell me exactly what we can do for an episode — which is absolutely nothing that could ever be done on Hack the Entrepreneur. I’m instantly like, “Don’t tell me you listen to my show all the time if you don’t. I don’t need to be liked by you. I just need to know that you can provide value to my audience.” I think that’s very key. It’s actually doing research on the show.

How to Be a Useful, Engaging (and Awesome) Guest

Then when they do say yes, which is a thing we’ve now covered in the course — indirectly, but we did — which is doing research on the person who’s hosting you. Doing research on the show you’re going to be on once they say yes so that you can be a really, really, really good guest. We often overlook this. We think, “Oh, I’m just going to go be a guest and just talk about myself. It’ll be really cool.”

Especially if the host isn’t an expert yet, if you can make them sound good, if you can perform really well, you will get on so many more shows. People will want you on shows. It’s just the way it works. But we often overlook it as guests — the fact that we have to research, the fact that we have to prepare for this interview, be on our game, and be really, really, really good.

It’s the reason Chris Brogan is on so many shows. One thing, because the guy’s awesome, but he does. He researches. He blew me away when he was on my show. He was my very first guest. It was crazy. He was saying things back to me, responding with parts of my business, things that I’ve done over the years.

I was like, “Woah.” Then he talked to me after, “Yeah, of course, man. I do research before this. It’s my job to be an awesome guest. The more I’m an awesome guest, the more people will hear it. Even if one person hears it and they have a show, they’re going to ask me to be on because they saw that I performed well.” Then it’s spreads virally in a slow way.

That is something that we overlook. We think that the win is just being the guest, but it’s being an awesome guest. It’s really making your host, then, look really good and feel like a great host. That makes them want to promote your show once it comes out more. It makes the whole thing just work better. Those would be my three tips.

Jerod Morris: That was awesome. You got into that. I liked that. You’re so right. What you explained is exactly what we’re talking about here, which is applying the principles of guest blogging to podcasting, to growing your audience. Because if you’re going to write a guest blog post on another website, you would do research. You would find out about that audience. Yet, again, I feel like sometimes there’s that disconnect. That’s why some people don’t think about being a great guest, and you just described why that’s so important to do.

I want to highlight that and make sure everybody listening really focuses on that. It’s so, so, so important. Now, for 95, 96 percent of cases, when we’re talking about applying the principles of guest blogging to podcasting, what we just talked about is probably going to be the extent of it. Going and being a guest on other people’s show, that is the vast majority of the opportunity that’s out there for you to do this. But that’s not the only opportunity.

Why You Should Jump At the Chance to Be a Fill-In Host on Someone Else’s Show (If the Rare Opportunity Ever Comes Your Way)

Jerod Morris: There’s a couple of opportunities that we both experienced here recently, Jonny, that are important to point out. You may not get them often, but if you do, take them. Run with them. Do the absolute best job you can. This can exponentially allow you to achieve the benefits of guest blogging with podcasting.

The first one is being a fill-in host on other people’s shows, which again, is going to be extremely, extremely rare. I actually first encountered this here in Dallas. There’s a radio station called The Ticket. They were the first all-sports radio station in America, consistently win Marconi Awards. They’re just an incredible radio station.

Frankly, a lot of what I do as a showrunner is influenced by listening to these guys. They’re excellent. One thing they do every year is they have what’s called White Elephant Day, where they basically put all the host names into a hat, they draw them out, and it’s all these different teams and different time slots.

The guys who do the Afternoon Drive, one of them might be on the Morning Drive, one of them might be in the afternoon. It’s different pairings, but it also exposes the individual people to different audiences. When we first started talking about Rainmaker.FM, this is an idea that I really wanted to do — have us, Jonny, you and I host Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer. Sonia host Rough Draft. Demian host this show.

Basically, mix it up and allow all the Rainmaker.FM post to be exposed to other people. Now this hasn’t happened yet, but it’s something that we’ve talked about. I really want to do it. Especially if you’re with a network and you’re trying to just increase the number of shows people listen to, I think it’s a great way to do it.

If someone from Sonia’s audience hears us on her show, maybe they like us, and they come listen to ours and vice versa. You and I both had this opportunity. You gave me the opportunity with Hack the Entrepreneur. You came on and interviewed us for The Lede. It was an opportunity for both of us, as the hosts, there’s a lot of Hack the Entrepreneur hosts who have never heard me before.

I really wanted to do as good a job as possible because I knew if I did that, people would say, “Hey, who’s this new guy hosting? Okay, he did a good job. Let me go find out more about him.” The same thing for you with The Lede. Now, outside of people who are in a network or have close relationships like you and I do, I don’t really know how to tell people to find these opportunities. But if you get them and if you see a sliver of where it could be, suggest it. Go for it.

Rather than just being a guest, if you’re actually the host, it immediately makes you a little bit different. It immediately puts a stamp of approval from the host of the show on you as saying, “Hey, I am vacating my chair for this episode and giving it to this person.” You interview someone, that’s somewhat of an endorsement, but it’s a smaller endorsement. If a host is actually giving you their chair, that’s a huge endorsement.

Do you have anything that you want to add about how that experience was for you with The Lede, and is there anything I’m overlooking in actual practical tips that people could follow to do this?

Jonny Nastor: I think you covered it really, really well. It’s true. We have the benefit of being part of a network. The cross-promotion of shows helps the network grow in general. Everyone’s very open. Obviously, if I send an email to Sonia Simone, then she’s obviously more likely to open it and look at it than just somebody randomly.

Jared Easley, I interviewed him for The Showrunner Podcasting Course. We talked specifically about this. He uses co-hosts and fill-in hosts to grow his show. That’s just what he does. He does once-a-week episodes. He used to have a co-host, but then he got out of it. He now has a guest co-host on every episode. He has a guest, so he’ll say, “Jon, do you want to be my co-host on this?”

Then, when he also does that, then he’s also like, “Jon, who should we interview? Who’s one of your friends or somebody else?” He gets this crazy three-way where I obviously can get somebody cool that he doesn’t have access to onto the show because I somehow know them or I’ve interviewed them before. So we could have that person on through me. Then, obviously, that person is more likely to say yes because now there’s a connection. Then I’m more likely to say yes because of Jared. Then there’s also now three of us can promote this show all together.

We’re all more likely to because we all kind of have a connection between each other, which is really interesting. I was like, “Wow, Jared, that’s epic what you just said.” It was a really cool conversation because his show was just from him. You could be listening and be like, “Well, that’s a lot of work.” Yeah, but one episode a week, it is a lot of work, but running a really good show is hard work.

This is just in a different way. This is an amazing, inventive way of cross-promoting and with the fill-in host/co-host so that Jared’s also in that conversation so that now he gets to get an introduction to this new guest. Then he already knows this co-host. He builds this relationship with people. He runs Podcast Movement now with other friends.

He’s all about these relationships. He knows the value even beyond just putting out that show and getting the cross-promotion. He knows the value of now having that connection to these two new people. It’s like finding profitability in a show in intrinsic ways, or is that extrinsic, how do we do this? Where the value doesn’t come necessarily exactly from maybe that episode.

He’s seeing the big picture. He’s like, “Now I have these connections to these people, and we were all brought together by other friends.” It’s an interesting thing. If you could do that once a week with two new people, by the end of a year, you’ve got some amazing connections with people. That’s really, really powerful for your show — not just for that specific episode and not just because this one person might have a big Twitter following.

I think that’s where some of us, we get small-minded, and we stop thinking at that Twitter following. That’s what it’s about, right? “If they could Tweet it out to a million people, my show will make it.” It’s like, “Well, not really.” You have to think above these relationships. Those are the things that will not only bring you new guests later, bring you maybe new potential co-hosts, or bring you being a guest on other people’s show, it’s a business.

Businesses are built on relationships. Although a podcast is different from a business exactly, it’s still based on relationships. That’s why, obviously, being on the Rainmaker network helps. Instantly that relationship is tight. With all these people that I’ve — well, I haven’t met them until I met them in Denver.

It’s amazing. That’s the reason why a network is good is because of the relationships. That’s really the only reason. The relationship between our shows, the relationship between the hosts, and the relationship between the promotion of all of it — that’s the only value of it. You can create these yourself without even being in a network. Just build these relationships, and think of them — should I say it? Just be human.

Jerod Morris: We all knew it was coming.

Jonny Nastor: Exactly. It all comes down to that. It’s always thinking a few steps further than just having that person on your show and that direct value. It always goes three steps further. Just think of where that relationship could go, where you could take it, or what you could do for that person later after the show, those kinds of things.

If you think that way, if you think about just helping other people and helping other people have access to your audience as well — even if your audience is 100 listeners. That’s amazing. That’s truly an amazing amount of people sitting there wanting to hear from other people. Hopefully, they will be able to benefit from it.

Just think that way. Always think that down the line, not directly now. If you do that, you will find ways. You will find people who want to be on your show, who want you on their show. You’ll be creative and come up with new ways to create this hosting entire shows, fill-in hosting, or anything. It comes down to just thinking of the relationship.

If you do that, you do that all the time, you do it effectively, and keep doing it, these things will come back to you in massive ways. Your show will grow from it. Not directly and not maybe today, but it will. Trust me. It really, really will.

The Pros and Cons of Running a Separate Show for Someone Else in Your Niche — And Who Should Actually Consider Doing So

Jerod Morris: Yeah. The last part here that I want to discuss is, again, probably the most rare, the most difficult to actually do and execute when we talk about applying the principles of guest blogging to podcasting. It would be hosting an entire show for someone else or another site that is in your niche. You may say, “Well, that’s crazy.”

It is a little bit, but it can also be very effective. Now, I will preface this by saying that, obviously, it depends on how much time you have to invest, what you’re going to get out of it. It’s an investment on your part that needs to have a return. What we’re talking about here would be hosting another show to help drive people to your show, so as a way to grow a show. This is exactly what I’ve done with The Assembly Call.

Again, it’s a post-game show for IU basketball games. There’s another site in our niche, Inside the Hall, which is the biggest independent IU basketball news site. I’ve known the guy, Alex, who runs that site for a number of years. They had a podcast. The host left, and he didn’t have anybody to host it. I don’t even remember how the conversation came about, but he offered to have me be the host. I said yes without really thinking about it, and all of a sudden now, I’m hosting two podcasts and have all this extra work.

It was a lot of work, but it also really helped. His audience was huge. Our audience was very small. It was a way for me to get myself and what we do with The Assembly Call in front of a much bigger group of Indiana fans. It makes perfect sense why, in one season, our email list went from the hundreds to the thousands when I started doing this. People heard what we were doing on Inside the Hall. The show is called Podcast on the Brink. Then the show at The Assembly Call is different. It’s a post-game show. They don’t necessarily compete with each other.

When you would listen to Inside the Hall kind of a mid-week, break things down on a macro-level type show. Assembly Call is very much a micro-type show where we’re analyzing the specific game. If you’re going to follow this model, you wouldn’t necessarily want to host Hack the Entrepreneur II if you already host the Hack the Entrepreneur.

But if it’s something where it complements each other but it’s not the exact same thing, and to where there would be a reason for the audience of one to come follow you over here and also subscribe to your show and listen, then it can be very beneficial. A couple months ago, I really sat down and thought, “Okay, I’m investing a lot of time in doing Podcast on the Brink. I could take that time and double down over here on The Assembly Call, do more work over there.”

I really had to think about, “Okay, what are the benefits here? If I’m going to keep hosting Podcast on the Brink, what do I really need to do to get more out of this?” What I ended up realizing is that, instead of going haphazardly and just doing an episode every now and then, to really get the benefit of hosting this other show, I needed to double down and treat it like my own show. Post once a week. Get on a consistent schedule. Use its strengths that I didn’t have, which is many more contacts, the ability to get interviews with different people — all those things.

I needed to really tap into that, so we doubled down. We do a new episode every week now. I went from thinking I don’t have time to do this at all on even a part-time basis to now it’s become a weekly thing. The reason is with a better strategy, now it’s going to actually help benefit The Assembly Call even more.

Again, I don’t know if you’ll have those type of opportunities. You may not have the time nor the inclination to do it, but I can tell you, that when it comes to growing The Assembly Call from something that was very small, didn’t have a very big audience, not a lot of people knew about us, not a lot of stature, hosting an entire podcast, in the niche for a different site, is one of the top two or three things that we’ve done that have really helped us build The Assembly Call now to the point where it’s on track to be a legitimate business platform of its own.

If those opportunities are there, think about them seriously. It’s not something that’s immediately obvious as an option, but it’s something that can really have a huge, huge benefit if you do it.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah, definitely. I just want to clarify. The Assembly Call, you’d been doing that for years at that point.

Jerod Morris: I have. This would be our fifth season. I’d already been doing it for two seasons before I started hosting Inside the Hall.

Jonny Nastor: Right. Going back to my point of moving laterally across your market. Assembly Call wasn’t a massive show and on the same scale, but you’d put in the work. You’d been there for years. If this was my only podcast, The Showrunner, and we were just starting. We’re on episode 16 right now. I couldn’t go to somebody who’s been podcasting for years and been like, “I should be the host of your show,” you know what I mean? It’s not moving laterally in that way.

Hosting an entire show obviously is super, super powerful, but again, the person has put in a ton of work to build up an audience, over years possibly. To give you access to that, one of the biggest prerequisites, I seem to see of that is that you’ve also put in the work. Maybe you haven’t built up an audience the same size at all, and that’s what the benefit can be from, but people do want to see that you’ve put in the work to build up your own audience — no matter the size of that audience. That’s still moving laterally to me.

It’s like, “We’ve both been podcasting for three years,” so the audience doesn’t matter to me at that point. It’s still that you’re moving laterally because you still put in the same amount of work. It’s not me just starting and then being like, “Hey, Gary” — when I talk to him tomorrow — “I should be the host of #AskGaryVee because you have this massive audience. I just started, and I would love to have access to that.” He’s going to be like, “No, man. You got to go build your own.”

That’s your job. I want to make that clarification. Obviously, if we were starting out and we’re at episode 16, I’m not going to go to somebody else on episode 20 and be like, “Can I be the host?” They haven’t really built up the audience yet. Their show isn’t even clearly defined enough I don’t find at that point.

I started it with Hack the Entrepreneur, I brought the first guest host ever on — which was you — on episode 100. At that point, the show makes sense. The show is formatted. The show is its thing. Now, to bring somebody else in, it’s not going to confuse somebody. It’s obviously a special episode. That needs to be made, that clarification, because people get excited. We all want access to these massive audiences, but moving laterally is big.

Jerod Morris: No, you’re right. That’s why, when we started this, we said this first part, being a guest in other people’s show is, for 95 or 96 percent of people in situations, that’s how you apply the principles of guest blogging to podcasting. These last two — being a fill-in host, hosting the entire show — those are far more advanced. And you’re right.

You’ve got to have put in the work, especially if you’re going to host a show for someone else. You have to have put in the work so that they’ll trust you first and foremost to even allow you to do it. You’ve demonstrated that you’re truly worth of it. Excellent clarification.

Do we have anything else on applying the principles of guest blogging to podcasting? I think we’ve covered the big issues there.

Jonny Nastor: I think so, yeah. I just want people to run with it now.

Jerod Morris: Yeah. Run with it. Exactly. Now, let’s continue running with episode 16. Let’s do our listener question, what do you say?

Jonny Nastor: Let’s do it.

Jerod Morris: This week’s listener question is sponsored by the Rainmaker Platform, which is the turnkey solution for anybody who wants to develop an online digital marketing and sales platform. I use the Rainmaker Platform. Obviously, we use it for The Showrunner, but I use it on my side projects as well. I was mentioning The Assembly Call earlier. We did an episode of The Lede recently where we were talking about thinking outside the box for online courses.

I’m actually using the learning management system inside of Rainmaker to put together this 50 greatest Hosiers of all time series. It’s going to be this really cool series set up where there’s a lesson for each player. The big idea is to educate younger fans on the guys who have come before. Just being able to have Rainmaker have the learning management system there to lay it out and put it in this cool visual way, which a series like this, I’ve never really seen done before online. I think it’s going to be really powerful.

What I’m going to use that for is then to start building The Assembly Call as a membership site. Instead of it just being publicly available — it’ll be free — people will just have to log in. Then logging in, obviously, I’ll have their email address. We’ll be able to use some of the marketing automation tools. It will just help me to deepen the relationship with the audience in that way.

All just with the standard Rainmaker features. It’s fun to have it, to think outside the box, try something new, and then see it start come to fruition because, hopefully, we’ll be able to release it here in the next four or five weeks. That’s something that I am very excited about.

You can try out the Rainmaker Platform for yourself. Go to You can get a 14-day free trial, test drive all the features, and see what works for you.

Listener Question: When you send out an email announcing your new episode, where do you send them to?

Jerod Morris: With that said, let’s go to our listener question. I actually pulled this from inside the course. This is Philippe who posted this. I thought it was a really interesting question that we haven’t addressed on our listener question section before. I thought we could address it here, Jonny. When you send out an email announcing your new episode, where do you send them to? Do you send them to the website, maybe your Rainmaker Platform site where your podcast is hosted, or do you send them to the iTunes page? What do you think?

Jonny Nastor: This is a good question. I actually don’t announce episodes via email at all. I haven’t done it with Hack the Entrepreneur. In anything that I do, which is my call to action at the end of any episode, or anything I use on social media, I’ve always sent people to The sole focus of is to get them onto my email list, to get further into knowing about me.

Once they get to an episode, if that’s where they were specifically led, they don’t get onto an email list. That sole focus is to get them into the show notes and then send them to iTunes from there to subscribe. That was the loop I have used since the beginning, which is call to action to the site, to or Then from to iTunes. iTunes, then, there’s episodes, always the call to action back to the site.

That’s my loop. That’s what I’ve always used. I think, probably, you will give me a better answer because you do use email to announce new episodes, but that’s what I’ve always done. It’s worked for me up till this point.

Jerod Morris: I think that’s a good loop. Yours is interesting because Hack the Entrepreneur, you put out three times a week. If I had a show that I put out three times a week, I don’t know that I would necessarily want to send out an email for each one.

Jonny Nastor: I’ve been struggling with that because that’s exactly how I feel. I then also send out a newsletter every Sunday. It’d be four times a week in people’s inbox. I think it’s way too much. If I had one show per week, I would definitely be announcing it via email. Because of the three, I think it’s too much. But I’ve also been dealing with, “Should I ask people, and start a new list?” So they can get the RSS version of the episode via email. This is something I’m struggling with. That’s why it is, and you’re right.

Jerod Morris: For The Showrunner, if you go to the Showrunner.FM and get on our email list, we send out an email every Wednesday when the new episodes come out. At the bottom of that, we give people the option. You can either go to the page and listen to it at Rainmaker.FM or you can go to iTunes. Really, that’s just about convenience.

There are certain types of people who like to listen to it with an on-page player and have the show notes and be able to read the introduction, the description. Some people just want to get it on iTunes. Whether they are on mobile, whether they’re on a desktop, we just want to make that as easy as possible for people. I like, in general, giving people the option of doing both.

With The Assembly Call, where there’s actually a video component to it, we post the podcast itself as an audio podcast, but we embed the Google Hangout on the show notes page. When we do our post-game shows and send the email out the next morning, typically, the first link that I will put there is the link to the actual show page for the people who want to see the video.

At some point, I always include the iTunes link in there, too. In general, my answer would be give people the option of both just so that they can decide. Now, if you have a sophisticated little loop that you like to take people through, Jonny, like you went through, then I could certainly see the benefit to that. I’m of the mind to give people the option.

Jonny Nastor: ‘Sophisticated’ is a bit of a stretch. I’ve never been called sophisticated in anything I’ve ever done before. So I will take the compliment, and I thank you. Here’s a question.

Jerod Morris: Yeah.

Jonny Nastor: Do you track the clicks between those two links. I don’t even know, FeedBlitz I think you’d use.

Jerod Morris: I haven’t. I could pretty easily. I haven’t.

Jonny Nastor: To me, that would be interesting to see if people are going straight to the site, if they’re going to iTunes, or if it’s a split between the two evenly.

Jerod Morris: Interesting, I don’t know. I’ll look.

Jonny Nastor: Test. Test. Test.

Jerod Morris: Maybe we’ll report that on episode 17 of The Showrunner.

Jonny Nastor: There we go. That would be cool. That would be interesting to know because it’s cool. I love the idea of giving them the option, too. But sometimes when we give them option, they’re all going to one anyway. It’s like we don’t need to anymore, give them the option. It would just be interesting to test.

Jerod Morris: Cool. That was a very sophisticated question that you just asked there. I will try to provide a suitably sophisticated response next week. All right, everybody, it’s time for podcast recommendations.

Jonny, would you like to go first?

Podcast Recommendations of the Week

Jonny Nastor: I would love to go first. This actually ties into our main topic, which is cross-promoting through co-hosting. This is my friend, Meron Bareket. I met him last year, and he’s going to be at Podcast Movement. So anyone who’s going will actually get to meet him, too. He recently celebrated his 100th episode.

His show is called Inspiring Innovation. Excellent show. It’s an entrepreneurship interview show. I kind of like those ones. For his 100th episode, he called it, Get Unstuck: Turn Clutter into Clarity with the Power of the Mastermind. He had somebody that he wanted to help. She was struggling with some things in her business.

He was having her on for his 100th episode. What he didn’t tell her was that he also had me and three other people on as co-hosts to create a mastermind. So we were all on, and she told us her problem with her business. We did in basic mastermind strategy. We all gave our opinions, kind of tore apart her business, and rebuilt it for her, that section of it, and give her direction on where to go. It was really cool.

It was the 100th episode and he got to have three of his friends on. Well, plus the guest, who’s also a friend. So four of us on, and then, of course, what happened was, not only did our relationship strengthen because I haven’t actually seen Meron in person for over a year now, so it helped build that bond back up between us, and then, of course, I promoted the show when it came out.

Now, even further, Meron is a smart dude, so he was thinking three steps ahead — which is now. Look at now he’s a podcast recommendation because he fit this topic so well. That’s further helping him and his show at this point, which it should. You should listen to Inspiring Innovation if you are into business and interview style. Meron is excellent. I’ve learned so much from him. Inspiring Innovation, Meron Bareket. We will provide a link in the show notes.

Jerod Morris: There’s a lot of shows reaching their 100th episode in a small window of time.

Jonny Nastor: Yeah. This one is actually about two and a half months ago, so he’s past that now. I thought, if I’m going to recommend an episode, I’m going to recommend the one that I was on. Come on, that’s sophistication.

Jerod Morris: Sophisticated self-promotion right there, I like it. Now, speaking of sophisticated conversation, that is what my podcast recommendation features. It is episode 293 of Common Sense with Dan Carlin. If you enjoy history and if you enjoy a man doing monologues about history that can sometimes go from 45 minutes to four and a half hours, then you will enjoy Dan Carlin’s shows, Common Sense and Hardcore History.

Hardcore History is the longer history show. He’ll do four-, five-part series on, say, World War II. Each episode is like three hours long, and it’s crazy. It definitely lives up to its name of ‘hardcore.’ Common Sense is more the current event show. The episodes are a little shorter, typically 45 minutes to an hour.

On episode 293, he had Sam Harris on. Sam Harris is a religious scholar, a theologian, philosopher guy. I had never heard of him before. He was on Dan Carlin’s show, and the two of them basically spent two hours discussing the source of the conflict in the Middle East, what can be done about it. They talked about issues with the Confederate flag, just a lot of the current event issues that are going on right now.

What I loved about the episode — it’s great listening to two people who are so well-read, so intelligent on these topics actually talk about them — but I thought it was a great example of two really smart, articulate, passionate people having a passionate argument and being very intelligent about tough topics, but disagreeing with each other.

And doing it without a hint of animosity, a hint of frustration. One guy would have a point, the other guy would call him out and say, “I think your thinking is wrong here, there, or there. Maybe you’re not seeing this correctly.” I kept waiting for one of them to get mad, for it to devolve a little bit. Especially when you can hear how, again, I’ll use this word again, ‘passionately,’ how passionately they believe in what they’re saying.

I thought they both did a great job at showing the way for how you can have a conversation like this, that’s very engaged, very energetic, and very opinionated, yet still be respectful about it and still give each person space to make their point. It’s a great, great discussion, very entertaining. It’s one of those I listen to over the course of about three days.

Doing the dishes, washing the car, working out, just every time I would flip it open, I would listen to it. But very engaging, and Dan Carlin shows, if you like history and like current events, he’s a good guy to listen to, very engaging. Very, very engaging.

Well, that wraps up another episode of the showrunner, Jon. Episode 16 is in the can. We are now only 84 away from 100.

Jonny Nastor: Nice. I’m looking forward to it. It’ll go by like nothing.

Jerod Morris: Yeah. It will. It will, and our call to action for you as we close up shop here is simply to get on the email list. Go to Showrunner.FM. Join the email list.

Here’s why. Here’s the number one, single most important reason why you should get on the email list. I don’t know why we haven’t really mentioned this before, but if you’re on our email list, and we send out our weekly email, if you hit reply to one of our emails with a question, we will answer you if it’s a question about your podcast, something.

The reason I know this is because we always do, don’t we, Jon? It’s not just for people in the course. If you’re on our email list and you ask us a question about podcasting, we will give you a good, detailed answer. We’ll think about it. We love taking care of the people who listen to the show and who give us a platform and a reason to talk about podcasting and showrunning.

In addition to getting the updates and everything else you get if you’re on the email list, that is the number one perk. There are real people behind the email list, reading the emails, answering the emails, and those people are me and Jonny.

Jonny Nastor: We’ve had some seriously epic conversations via email with people on the email list.

Jerod Morris: We have.

Jonny Nastor: We’ve gone back and forth. Just giant long things where it ends up being three of us in this conversation. It’s really interesting. It’s a lot of fun. I hope more people start to email us. It doesn’t have to be an epic question. It just can be anything. Just say hi if you wish. We’re totally here to talk to you, and that’s why we want you on the list. That gives you direct access to us.

Jerod Morris: Exactly. So Showrunner.FM. Get on the list. We’d love to engage with you in our inboxes. With that said, we will close up. We will talk to you next Wednesday with another brand new episode of The Showrunner. Have a great week. Take care.