I wrote down 40 questions based on my podcasting experience and refined them by keeping in mind how to map out a podcasting life cycle journey in a simple and fun way, and someone who’s on any spectrum in their podcasting journey can take the bullets as the foundation and test their hypothesis. I didn’t know any better when I started in Jan 2020 and kept incrementally improving every week and as a result, I’ve interviewed 170+ world-class experts in different domains.
If you’re planning to start a podcast, or have already started and may want to tweak things, this post is for you.
I asked Teresa Quinlan who hosts a podcast TNT ESQ, has been on my podcast and we discussed Emotional Intelligence, Self-Awareness, and some Mindfulness. Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts , Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite platform.
Teresa Quinlan is a human first and an alchemist second. She believes that the synthesis of one’s intellectual quotient (IQ), personality, and emotional quotient (EQ) is the key to breaking through one’s talent quotient (TQ).
Please enjoy my conversation with Teresa on everything about Podcasting. Take what works for you and leave what doesn’t.
Nishant Garg: What was your motivation to start the podcast? What skills and lessons have you learned in podcasting that is transferable in other projects and life in general?
Teresa Quinlan: My motivation to start our podcast, along with my co-host Rhys Thomas, was to be able to contribute to the global community, in a positive way. We wanted to be able to provide our insights through the stories and lessons of our guests, to the bigger scale, the global scale. We believed that the best way to do this was through the podcasting platform. Second to this, our motivation included the goal to personally grow and develop through other people’s experiences – expanding our own perspectives and challenging our own status quo. This is how we determined the name of our podcast TnT (Teresa and Thomas) ESQ (exploding the status quo).
The skills and lessons I have learned are actually the other way around – the skills I have from other areas of my experiences I have applied to the podcasting platform. Skills in public speaking, listening, coaching, curiosity, compassion, assertiveness, organization, courage, and planning.
Nishant Garg: What’s your current guest recruitment process look like? How do you approach someone whom you don’t know? Any advice or template for cold-outreach that has worked for you?
Teresa Quinlan: We begin with an interest in the individual; their story. We do this because this is the foundation of our podcast conversation. And so, we decide who we would like on our podcast based on their story – which means that one of us needs to get to know the guest prior to our invitation. We do this by reaching out and establishing a connection. Reaching out can happen in any number of ways – social media and email are our two preferred methods for initial contact. We then move to a virtual conversation to get to know the person better and after at least one conversation of building a relationship, we ask if they would like to be a guest on our podcast. Often, since we(host and co-host) are meeting people individually and jointly know our podcast purpose and guest ‘profile’, we can make the decision of who to invite without needing to first confirm with our partner. We trust each other to make great decisions in alignment with our purpose.
Cold outreach/contact is definitely one way to go about inviting guests. My advice in using this method would be to first research your guest; learn about them. When you reach out, explain why you are doing so, what it is about them that interests you, and ask for their interest in participating as a guest. Oh…and stay diligent. When you ask high profile individuals, sometimes you have to ask several times over several months before you receive a response.
Nishant Garg: What’s your current recording tech set up- in terms of microphone, recording software, etc.? Did you have the same set up when you had just started? If not, what was your setup in the beginning?
Teresa Quinlan: We’ve taken a very low-investment approach to our podcast. I use a Yeti microphone for good sound quality. Rhys uses his laptop microphone. Our guests use whatever microphone they have (often times Apple headphones with built in microphone). We use ZOOM for recording. From the ZOOM recording we receive the video file and a separate audio only file. I use the video file to create promotional clips. Using Ocenaudio for editing, I can then edit the audio only for higher quality. For publishing our podcast, we use AnchorFM which then pushes the podcast out to the most popular podcast platforms including Apple podcasts and Spotify. This set up is what I’ve used since Day 1 – if it ain’t broke…why change it?
Nishant Garg: What advice people should ignore when they are just thinking to start the podcast and not quit after 7-10 episodes? Any best practices people should consider?
Teresa Quinlan: The best advice I can give for individuals wanting to start a podcast is to consider your purpose and commit. You can alter anything along the way because it’s your vision and your purpose. You can change who you speak to, how long your episodes are, the artwork you use, how frequently you publish/launch episodes, intro and outro music, sponsorship ads, etc. Basically, just start. Don’t worry too much about how quickly, or not, your listenership grows. Do it for you first and your authenticity will attract your audience.
Nishant Garg: What information do you request the guests before the day of the recording? Before hitting the record button, do you have any sort of pre-conversation with guests? If so, what does that conversation look like?
Teresa Quinlan: I provide our guests with an overview of what the podcast conversation will entail including the kick-off question (What’s your passion/obsession and the story of how this came about?) and approximately how long we will converse. In advance of the recording we ask for 1 thing only – their introduction bio. We schedule 1 hour with our guest(s) and spend the first 10-15 minutes getting comfortable with each other, discovering what’s on their heart and/or mind, and deciding what the theme of the conversation will be.
Nishant Garg: How do you prepare about the guests before the recording? What’s your research process look like? What do you keep in mind to make the experience enjoyable for the listeners, guests, and yourself? Do you have a team to help you with the guest’s research work? If yes, what kind of research do you expect from them?
Teresa Quinlan: We really don’t do much preparation before our guests arrives UNLESS they have highlighted their topic of interest in advance our pre-podcast recording conversation. If they do have a topic already decided, we will ensure that we are ready to discuss intelligently by listening to their TEDTalk or reading their book or article. This is often left up to the guest as well; if they would like us to read anything they will reference, in advance, they are welcomed to send that to us. Our decision to limit preparation is based on wanting to have an authentic conversation that is unscripted. This allows us to be in the listeners seat and often ask the same questions our audience would also want to ask during the conversation.
Nishant Garg: After you record the podcast, what’s your editing and sound leveling process, hosting platform, etc. look like? What software(s) do you use? Do you give edits rights to guests? What things do you usually consider in the editing process?
Teresa Quinlan: From the ZOOM recording we receive the video file and a separate audio only file. I use the video file to create promotional clips. Using Ocenaudio for editing, I can then edit the audio only for higher quality. For publishing our podcast, we use AnchorFM which then pushes the podcast out to the most popular podcast platforms including Apple podcasts and Spotify. All of the editing is done by myself and decided by myself; no rights are given to the guest. When editing what I consider is ease of listening for the audience. I edit out long pauses, filler words (um, ah, so, like), any stuttering, and tangents not related to the theme of the conversation.
Nishant Garg: In your podcasting journey, what are some of the things you did earlier, and don’t do it now? What are the questions you used to ask and now you don’t tend to ask? What are the good basics questions you usually ask the guest to get an authentic response?
Teresa Quinlan: The evolution of our podcast has been to change the intro and outro to personalize the experience from both Rhys and myself, to our audience. In season 2, we changed the Rapid Fire Q&A from season 1, to keep things fresh for our guests and audience. Since we don’t prepare any of our questions, the entire conversation is authentic and fresh – we never know what we are going to get or where we might go and that creates an incredibly ‘on your toes’ experience!
Nishant Garg: At the time of launch, do you ask guests to promote it as well? If guests volunteer to promote it, what promotional materials do you provide them?
Teresa Quinlan: 24 hours before an episode launches, we provide the heads up to our guest. We ask them to promote the podcast video clips and episode through all of their social media channels, their website, their weekly newsletter, etc. We provide them with the raw files if they would like to create their own promotional materials!
Nishant Garg: What’s your favorite social media platform that gets you the most traction and visibility, and why? If someone doesn’t have much social media presence or an established audience, how should they approach the promotion and marketing? What advice should they ignore?
Teresa Quinlan: The decision to use LinkedIn as our primary social media platform was because it’s the right audience for our podcast purpose/intention. We gain the most amount of traction from LinkedIn. In second place, is Facebook, followed closely by Twitter. Rhys and I both promote the podcast through our LinkedIn profiles and our personal business websites. Here’s the thing about podcasting…most of the time, traction and visibility comes from being well known. If you aren’t, your guests need to be. If you are, your guests can be whomever you want them to be. If you aren’t and your guests aren’t, your traction and visibility will likely be limited. Your approach to marketing and promotion, how much time, energy and resources you invest, will depending upon how important traction/visibility/listenership is to your podcast investment. If you want to go big – then I encourage you to go big!
Nishant Garg: How did you find guests in your early podcasting phase and what challenges did you face? Could you tell us about your memorable failures and rejections, and how you dealt with it?
Teresa Quinlan: In the beginning, we decided to find our guests within our personal network of people. This approach helped us to choose individuals we already knew had spectacular stories to share, were excellent articulators of that story, and would have fun with us! We like to laugh and learn with our guests. We like individuals that are willing to go off script. We enjoy having real conversation with real people and challenging how all of us within the conversation are thinking and approaching the topic. This makes for great fun all around and now that we are in Season 2, we have found that we have hit a great stride whether a guest says ‘yes’ or ‘no’. We let ‘no’s’ to being on our podcast roll off our backs like water off a duck. Their decision has nothing to do with us; often it is because they aren’t available or interested. 100% cool and to be expected that this is part of the experience.
Nishant Garg: When do you recommend to focus on monetizing the podcast? What are the key fundamentals to monetize? At what stage, did you monetize the podcast, if so?
Teresa Quinlan: If monetizing is a goal, the best way to do that is to actively seek sponsors for your podcast. This can be done in a number of ways including deciding what kind of sponsorship you want. Do you want who you support/advertise for, to have the same values and message as your podcast so that you are in alignment? Does that matter/not matter to you is a decision to be made. The key fundamentals to monetizing is likely deciding that this is an important part of your podcast adventure. When seeking out companies, being able to ‘sell your podcast’ to them will be a matter of learning about why and how your audience would be interested in their product/service! It’s all about them when it comes to gaining sponsorship for your podcast. We decided not to monetize – for us, the podcast experience is one of pure enjoyment only.
[Note from Nishant]: I wrote these blog posts on the podcasting process if you want to learn about how to
- Tools, Techniques and Basics of Podcasting to Play a Long Game
- Lessons Learned From Tim Ferriss and Larry King To Interview The Best In The World
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