“Go ‘Off Script’ to Create a Bingeable Podcast” with John Tyreman and Kelly Waffle of The Visible Expert Podcast

“Go ‘Off Script’ to Create a Bingeable Podcast” with John Tyreman and Kelly Waffle of The Visible Expert Podcast


As part of my series of interviews about “5 things you need to know to create a very successful podcast”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Waffle and John Tyreman, co-host of Hinge’s “The Visible Expert Podcast.”

Kelly J. Waffle is The Hinge Research Institute Managing Director. Leveraging his deep leadership experience in corporate marketing, marketing consulting and creative agency environments, Kelly drives the Hinge Research Institute’s growth and thought leadership. On any given day, he can be found helping large companies get a better understanding of the professional services market through the Institute’s custom or licensed research — or advising firms and companies how to use research to drive content strategies and campaigns.

John Tyreman is The Hinge Research Institute Senior Research Manager. John has a passion for market research, analytics, and using data to drive decisions. After 5 years with Hinge, John has personally reviewed the perspectives of over 10,000 buyers and sellers of professional services and has helped over 100 professional services organizations use data to influence brand and marketing strategies. Certified in MS Excel, John’s research is an essential part of Hinge’s work, used to solve client problems, identify trends, create content, and establish industry benchmarks.

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Can you tell us a bit of your “personal backstory? What is your background and what eventually brought you to this career path?

John Tyreman

John: Since I was 10, I’ve played music. My brother and I would spend entire summers of our childhood setting up microphones, recording audio tracks, and experimenting with different sounds. We would write and record songs, and organize live events to perform. Essentially, I was doing content marketing. Little did I know those kinds of activities would be such a big part of my career.

Since joining Hinge in 2013, I’ve been heavily involved in the research we publish. One study we conducted was focused on well-known subject matter experts in their respective fields. We call them “Visible Experts.” We wanted to find out what it takes to grow a strong personal brand in this space.

Fast-forward to January 2019. I regularly listen to podcasts like B2B Growth, the Marketing Companion, and Marketing School. I was inspired. With some skills in content marketing and audio production and Hinge’s history of researching well-known subject matter experts, “The Visible Expert” podcast was born.

Kelly: Ever since I was a little boy, I have been inquisitive. I have also found that I am a very active listener. Asking the questions “Why” and “How” and listening to the answers has taken me down a journey that has led to executive positions on the corporate marketing, consulting, vendor, and ad agency sides. I have developed a robust network of contacts and followers over the years and now I can engage with them as part of “The Visible Expert” podcast. I am just as comfortable talking about leadership, technology, research, marketing, sales, or growth as I am talking about antique toys, woodworking, or travel.

Can you share a story about the most interesting thing that has happened to you since you started podcasting?

Kelly: Believe it or not, the topic of death comes up on our podcast more than you would expect. I guess that is because we end up getting CEOs, best-selling authors, and industry subject matter experts intertwine business and personal aspects in their storytelling. One shared how they found a dead employee in their office. Another spoke of how his son died before he was 10. Still, another blew us away when she talked about how her mother had been murdered by her brother. We don’t prompt these responses, but I do take it as a compliment that they feel comfortable enough to talk about these events.

Kelly Waffle

Can you share a story about the biggest or funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaways you learned from that?

Kelly: I don’t think we have made any big mistakes…or at least any that we will admit to making! I can tell you that early on I assumed that folks in my network would love to be on our podcast. But I can’t tell you how many recognized social media influencers did not respond to my guest invitations. I remember each one of them. I also remember those folks who were even more well-known who immediately said “yes” to being a podcast guest. Don’t make assumptions when it comes to guest invitations. Enjoy being surprised!

How long have you been podcasting and how many shows have you aired?

John: We’ve been podcasting for over a year now. In Season 1 we published 24 episodes in the second half of 2019. Each episode is around 35–45 minutes long. Season 2 will launch in May of 2020.

Kelly: John stole my answer!

What are the main takeaways, lessons, or messages that you want your listeners to walk away with after listening to your show?

John: We like to give our listeners a balanced diet of audio entertainment. Listeners will take away actionable insights from every episode. We make sure of that by doing our homework and asking very specific, tailored questions. We’re also very keen on storytelling. “Visible Experts” are people. They’re passionate. They’ve overcome deep emotional and personal challenges to get to where they are today.

Kelly: To add to what John said, I would say “pay it forward.” When you listen to our podcasts, you will hear our guests say over and over again that they want to help and educate others. These folks have great qualities. They are all humble, kind, grateful, and giving.

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about John Tyreman and Kelly Waffle!

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Kelly Waffle and John Tyreman of The Visible Expert Podcast share the best ways to:

1) Book Great Guests. Email can be a good channel, but so can LinkedIn and Twitter. We have been able to use social media to book many of our podcast guests.

2) Increase listeners. It helps when you have an established email database to kickstart your audience. You can also optimize your show page on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to be search-engine friendly.

3) Produce in a Professional Way. In my experience as a podcast listener, audio quality isn’t that big of a detractor. But it sure is nice when podcast hosts and guests use a good microphone. If you have a Mac computer, it should come with Garageband. That’s how we edit our audio. It’s pretty easy to use.

Editing audio can be somewhat time-consuming depending on how much editing needs to be done (and how OCD you are).

4) Encourage Engagement. We found good engagement when we take a 1–2-minute audio clip and turn it into an ‘audiogram’ which is a video content with a dynamic audio wave, subtitles, and a static image background. We use Headliner as a tool to produce these. It works great.

5) Monetize. Our podcast is valuable to us because it helps build our network, reinforces the Hinge brand, and offers our audience a new format to engage with.

Others have found success charging a subscription to listen to their podcast, others have forged relationships and attracted sponsors. You can also encourage your listeners to reach out to you with exclusive offers only for podcast listeners.

In your opinion, what makes your podcast binge-listenable? What do you think makes your podcast unique from the others in your category? What do you think is special about you as a host, your guests, or your content?

Check out the full interview in Tracy Hazzard’s Authority Magazine article about John Tyreman and Kelly Waffle!

Picture of Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard

Tracy Hazzard is a former Authority Magazine and Inc. Magazine Columnist on disruptive innovation, and host of 5 top-ranked podcasts including: The Binge Factor and Feed Your Brand–one of CIO’s Top 26 Entrepreneur Podcasts. She is the co-founder of Podetize, the largest podcast post-production company in the U.S. As a content, product, and influence strategist for networks, corporations, marketing agencies, entrepreneurs, publications, speakers, authors & experts, Tracy influences and casts branded content with $2 Billion worth of innovation around the world. Her marketing methods and AI-integrated platform, provides businesses of all sizes a system to spread their authentic voices from video to podcast to blog, growing an engaged audience and growing valuable digital authority.
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